Terms of Reference and Membership of the Task and Finish Group for Doctoral Student Wellbeing

1. Background

One of the strategic aims set out in the College’s Education and Student Strategy document,published in autumn 2013 and now incorporated within the Strategy 2015-20, is for the College to achieve international recognition for a distinctive education.  This led to the Doctoral Proposition, a document developed and refined through extensive consultation, which outlines what postgraduate research students can expect of their education and wider student experience at Imperial College London.

 The Doctoral Proposition vows amongst other things that Imperial will provide a world-class research programme throughout which internationally-acclaimed academics support, inspire and challenge students as they develop into independent researchers.  The Working Party for World-Class Research Supervision, which reported to the Vice Provost’s Advisory Group for Education (VPAGE) and the Vice Provost’s Advisory Group for Research (VPAGR) was established by the Graduate School to develop this part of the proposition. 

 During 2014-15, the Graduate School carried out a number of activities as part of this project.  There was wide consultation with staff and students about what constitutes world-class research supervision which resulted in 40 recommendations to College. 

 This final report was presented to the Postgraduate Research Quality Committee meeting (PRQC) on 4 November 2015 (minute number 8.1.4) and subsequently Senate on 9 December 2015 where it was reported that the PRQC had approved the recommendations (Senate minute 2048 (8)).  This Working Group has been established to take forward the recommendations which relate to the wellbeing of Doctoral students. 

2. Terms of Reference

  1. To review recent research into the wellbeing of doctoral students at College.
  2. To visit other institutions who have conducted similar research into doctoral student wellbeing
  3. To make a report to College on root causes facing some PhD students and if appropriate, make recommendations to College in order to support these students.
  4. To develop information for supervisors or, if appropriate, training and support for supervisors which raises their awareness of support services available to students, especially in the area of mental health. 
  5. To report to the Graduate School’s Course Quality and Strategic Development (CQSD) Committee which will serve as a Steering Group for the World Class Research Supervision Project.
  6. To complete its work and activities by July 2017.

The first meeting of this group will be in July 2016.  Further update on its progress will be published here in due course.