B1 - Exploring the wellbeing, mental health and retention of postgraduate researchers

Day 1 at 16:40 - Exploring the wellbeing, mental health and retention of postgraduate researchers
Day Day 1
Session B
Start time 16:40
Room London
Doctoral Researchers
Code B1

Dr Katie Wheat, Higher Education Senior Manager, Vitae

Dr Claire Slight, Project Officer (Surveys), Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Professor Katia Levecque, Professor of Industrial Relations/ Manager ECOOM UGhent – HR in Research, Ghent University

Dr Sally Wilson, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Employment Studies (IES)

Workshop overview: 

There has been recent increased awareness and interest in the wellbeing and mental health of students in the UK higher education sector. Recent studies on mental health problems of PGRs in Flanders and the Netherlands identified that a third or more of doctoral researchers are ‘at risk of having or developing a common psychiatric disorder, especially depression’. Similar proportions have considered pausing or ending their doctoral studies. 

HEFCE have recently commissioned Vitae to undertake research to increase understanding of wellbeing and mental health amongst doctoral researchers and the associated support services provided by institutions. This will include the pilot of a survey of postgraduate researchers. This workshop will also present the results of the new questions in the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) on wellbeing and retention. Participants will be invited to contribute examples of institutional practice. 

Themes covered: 

  • Developing a pipeline of research talent through strategies to attract and retain research talent, and mainstreaming equality and diversity in the research environment

Workshop outcomes: 

By the end of the workshop, participants will be: 

  • Informed about the HEFCE project into the wellbeing of doctoral researchers and associated institutional support services.
  • Informed about the PRES data on wellbeing and retention.
  • Aware of institutional examples of good practice in supporting the wellbeing of doctoral researchers.


Presentation and interactive discussion