South West Universities GRAD School (SWUGS)
- University of the West of England
- South West and Wales
- Date first submitted:
- 24 Nov 2009
- Date last modified:
- 25 Mar 2011
- Personal effectiveness
- Research project skills
- Researcher development strategy/management
- Postgraduate researchers
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
The University of the West of England has been running a 'local' GRAD School since 2003, a venture that was always funded from central resource and providing around 35 places for research students. Until 2008, extra places were offered via the UK GRAD website to research students from other HEIs with their fees being paid by either their department or by RCUK (via UK GRAD).
With the reduction in the number of national GRAD Schools and the desire to work collaboratively with other HEIs in the region, it was identified that a joint venture would benefit the skills provision in the South West region.
In April 2008, the HERDA-SW Research Management Group Research Training network submitted a proposal to run a pilot South West Universities GRADschool during 2008/9. The aim of the proposal was to demonstrate and pilot a mutually beneficial regional collaboration in the area of generic skills training for research students. The GRADschool would be open to all South West institutions wishing to be involved and would be funded through institutions purchasing student places (using ‘Roberts’ or other funds).
The course was designed around daily themes, with days one and two concentrating on communication skills (both in relation to research and interpersonal relationships) and teamwork. The second half of the course was more forward looking and focussed on exploring skills in different sectors and on interview practice. Each of the days was themed respectively. The programme also included five group review sessions to provide opportunities for personal and group reflection.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
A total of 35 students attended the course from 13 different countries and with an age range from 23 to 52 years old (average age 28). The gender split was 54% male, 46% female:
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The SW Universities GRAD School was deemed a successful venture and there are plans for two SW GRAD Schools in 2010 organised jointly by the largest 5 HEIs in the SW region.