.Representation

Richard Curtis

Environment and Life Sciences Postgraduate Research Representative

Key Points

  • Mental wellbeing
  • Reducing isolation
  • Improving conditions
  • Reducing administrative burdens
  • Ensuring social space for PGRs

As a PhD researcher myself in Psychology, I understand the isolation, frustration and barriers we face on a daily basis. Frankly, at times, supervisors and the university seem to throw insurmountable obstacles in our path, or change the goal posts. As a Postgraduate Researcher it can feel like the priority is on undergraduates and we are overlooked.

I see my role as three-fold:

(1) to remove barriers post graduate researchers experience;

(2) to improve our experience; and

(3) to reduce our isolation.

Over the past year in this role I have delivered cake and coffee to PGR students across FELS (and hoping to also get us some plants too). I have been involved in removing barriers (such as the retraction of the change, which required us to have consent from all gatekeepers before applying for ethics), ensuring rights (such as ensuring PGR parents know about us being entitled to parental leave). I have met with various levels of the Faculty and university about mental health and wellbeing, including the Faculty Dean.  Currently, I am involved in the development of a Faculty wellbeing strategy that covers both staff and PGRs. I also co-chair the faculty’s Staff and Student Liaison Committee, and sit on the Faculty Board, the H&S Committee and attend other meetings to ensure that the faculty consider the needs of PGRs in their decisions.

The core concepts of my work are:

Mental wellbeing

Reducing isolation

Improving conditions

Reducing administrative burdens

Ensuring PGRs have social space