Governance

The Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York have, through the White Rose University Consortium, experience of delivering collaborative post-graduate research training.

A Management Board has been established to take overall responsibility for the effective governance of the Training Partnership and its funding from BBSRC. The current Management Board is comprised of,

A representative of BBSRC may attend Management Board meetings.

The Management Board reports on progress to the White Rose University Consortium Executive Board, ensuring that the Partnership has clear visibility to Vice Chancellors and Pro Vice Chancellors.

An Advisory Board has been appointed to act as a ‘critical friend’ to the Management Board to provide both national and international perspectives into the development of the Partnership.

Each partner has an effective monitoring system for student progression which will be used for DTP students, and anyissues will be reported to the Management Board by the relevant administrative offices, so that financial and strategicconsequences can be monitored.Projects will have an academic supervisory team, comprising a principal supervisor and co-supervisors and will alsoreceive input from others (technicians, post-doctoral fellows etc.). Most students will meet their supervisors for at least one hour each week. In addition to informal meetings, formal meetings that are recorded are required at regular intervals(Sheffield 12, Leeds 10 and York 6 per year). These records are monitored by administrative offices and academics and ifissues arise, or several consecutive reports are missed, the causes are investigated and addressed.

The consortium operates formal progression monitoring, where the student and project are assessed by a committeecomprising the supervisory team and independent assessors. Partner mechanisms share the essential features of a checkwithin the first few months that the student is well engaged with the project, an assessment occurring between 9 and 15months of study associated with transfer to full PhD status, and regular checks on progress thereafter. At each point the student is provided with feedback, encompassing progress, thesis writing, publication, skills training and careers.Opportunities are provided for students to give feedback about the assessment process, and to report supervision issues(in confidence). For example, when a viva examination is used to monitor progression, students will be given theopportunity to raise supervision issues with the independent assessor, and may also fill in a feedback form on viva processitself. These are monitored by postgraduate tutors and issues arising are addressed.

Final assessment is in the form of athesis and oral examination with external and internal examiners.In Leeds formal assessment and progression involves a literature review or grant proposal (4 months), a written report andoral examination determining progression to full PhD status (9 months), the Symposium poster (20 months), and a thesisplan and paper draft (36 months). In the case of an adverse outcome at 9 months the student may be re-examined at 12months.In York, each student has a Training Advisory Panel (TAP) consisting of the supervisor(s) and two other academics. Thismeets within the first 3 months of the project and at 6-month intervals thereafter. For each meeting, the student prepares areport and the TAP provides a written meeting record of the meeting including feedback. Upgrading to full PhD registrationis usually considered at the 15 month TAP meeting.In Sheffield every student is allocated two academic members of staff who act as independent advisors. Upgrade to fullPhD status (within 12 months) is dependent on a satisfactory progress report which is examined viva voce by a panel ofacademics. In the event of an unsatisfactory verdict the student has the opportunity to be re-examined within 3-6 months.Formal assessment of research progress is made at meetings between the student and his/her advisors (18 and 30months) and on completion of the annual progress reports by the supervisor.In all partners, postgraduate training is managed by postgraduate committees at Faculty or Department/School level.These have student representatives, who feedback on all aspects of the training environment. Committees also considerother types of feedback, e.g. the PRES survey. Responsibility for HESA destination data is taken at University level, but these committees typically monitor PhD student destinations locally, usually providing more comprehensive information.Feedback on the DTP programme itself will be through the student representative on the Management Board.