C4 - Rules of engagement - the supervision of cohort doctoral training

Day 2 at 11:00 - Rules of engagement - the supervision of cohort doctoral training
Day Day 2
Session C
Start time 11:00
Strand Postgraduate Research
Code C4

Dr Parmjit Dhugga - Head of Researcher Development, University of Nottingham

David Shipley - Manufacturing Technology EngD Centre Manager, University of Nottingham

Workshop overview:

The pressures of new agendas, changing student expectations and new doctoral degrees are challenging traditional frameworks for doctoral supervision. The growth of sector cohort doctoral training within Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Initial Training Networks (ITNs); together with the position of the professional doctorate as doctoral training that is substantially located within the professional area, means that supervisors need to gain, develop and share new knowledge to facilitate the training of practice based students. 

The University of Nottingham is currently involved in over 32 CDTs/DTPs/ITNs, and also offers 10 professional doctoral degrees. This workshop will draw on experience at the University to examine the evolving nature of doctoral supervision, and the pedagogic practices that support doctoral programs that distinctly link research with professional workplace practice.

The workshop will explore how the majority of current supervisors who have only experienced, both as student and supervisor, doctoral research in the ‘traditional' PhD format are managing the uncertainties resulting from misalignment in expectations, the tensions inherent in doctoral research and the demands of the new program formats.

The workshop will recognise that the emphasis of the doctoral supervision remains to train people in academic research and ensure all doctorate students, like traditional PhD students, make an explicit contribution to knowledge.  Practice based doctorates however, need to be permeated by the ‘triple helix' of practice, theory and research. The workshop will provide opportunities to share and discuss how supervisors ensure that the knowledge produced is both theoretically sound and original, and also of relevance to the practice area.

Duration: 'Interactive' workshop addressing an area of practice in researcher development.

Workshop topics covered:

  • An overview of the supervision of practice based doctoral students at the University of Nottingham.
  • The supervisory craft required to support practice based doctoral students 
  • The supervision model as a double and reciprocal apprenticeship.
  • The challenges faced by both students and their supervisors in balancing academic requirements with praxis.
  • Facilitated discussions: We offer the Nottingham experience as a starting place for discussion. The aim of the discussion is to encourage the sharing and evaluation of other models of supervision of practice based doctoral students which currently exist.
  • We also aim to create a network of engaged staff who can help each other work to implement initiatives in their own universities.

Themes covered:

  • Researcher development within the cohort model: practice sharing from doctoral training centres/partnership and other cohort based models including European and international collaborations (e.g. ITNs)

Workshop outcomes:

Participants will have:

  • An understanding of the essential requirements for the supervision of practice based doctoral students.
  • A greater awareness of the additional challenges and the augmented training required to facilitate the practice based doctorate as a successful and smooth process.
  • A chance to discuss the different ways in which practice based doctorates are operationalised by different HEIs.
  • A chance to build external networks for support and collaboration


Presentations and facilitated group discussions