Skip to main content

13 July 2023

University and industry experts to transform PhD supervision

King’s has been named a key partner in a major four-year project to professionalise doctoral research supervision across the UK.

Student and Mentor

The new £4.6 million project will bring together experts from more than 20 universities and research institutes, alongside industry partners including the BBC, Royal Shakespeare Company, GSK and Unilever, to transform doctoral supervision.

Funded through a UKRI Research England Development award, the ‘Next Generation Research SuperVision Project (RSVP): Transforming the culture of doctoral supervision and education’ will test and evaluate how professional development and mentoring can help doctoral research supervisors to develop the confidence and capacity to support a more diverse demographic of researchers through a greater range of doctoral models, such as part-time and distance learning.

Building on the experience and expertise of more than 100 doctoral supervisors, the project will also involve over 400 doctoral students from a diversity of routes, and over 20 Deans and Directors of Doctoral schools engaged in identifying what constitutes good and bad supervision practice.

We are dedicated to developing a first-class research culture at King’s and supporting the continuing professional development of all our research supervisors is key to achieving this aim.

Dr Amy Moore, Associate Director (Doctoral Environment and Development) in the Centre for Doctoral Studies at King’s College London.

The consortium team will examine how to improve and enhance research supervision in the UK through; scholarship, practice interventions, culture and policy change and will contribute to the operationalisation of the forthcoming UKRI New Deal for Postgraduate Research and support the aims of the Research and Development people and culture strategy.

The project will also promote greater transparency on the roles of ‘hidden’ supervisors, such as postdoctoral candidates, and help with the management of supervisory workloads.

Dr Karen Clegg, University of York, who is leading the project, said: “What we’re hoping to do is enable a steady cultural revolution around supervision, breaking down barriers about who does it, how it’s done and how it’s recognised. This isn’t just a ‘New Deal’ for researchers, it’s a BIG deal for supervisors”.

Professor Doug Cleaver, Consortium co-lead and Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE), said: “We need to better understand research supervision as a sector, and this project offers us a fantastic opportunity to look at current provision and to develop benchmarks that will help both individuals and institutions across the UK.”

Outputs will include the benchmarking of professional development for research supervision and the creation of world-leading professional development resources.

The work will be carried out by UKGCE and five universities (King’s College London, University of York, Coventry University, University of Nottingham and Sheffield Hallam University).

The project is funded by Research England, with support from UKRI Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust.

In this story

Amy Moore

Chief of Staff (Health & Life Sciences)