Tomorrow’s postgraduate

Monday 12 August 2002

Around 80 student representatives will descend on the University of St Andrews later this week as part of a national conference to discuss the changing face of postgraduate study in the UK.

The 13th Annual Conference of the National Postgraduate Committee, which will run from Thursday 15 until Sunday 18 August 2002, will focus on the theme of “PG in the Middle – Perceptions of the Postgraduate”.

The event will be attended by delegates from over 40 institutions including postgraduates themselves, officers representing postgraduates, staff and sabbaticals in student unions, postgraduate administrators, graduate school heads and those with a general interest in postgraduate education. The event, being held in St Andrews for the first time, is also the Summer training event for student officers with education or representation as part of their remit.

The conference, which will be opened by the University’s Master and Deputy Principal Professor Colin Vincent, will include talks from a range of speakers including Andrew Cubie, who convened the 1999 Inquiry into Student Finance, and Professor David Eastwood, Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board. There will also be presentations of recent research by the NPC on postgraduate funding, campus facilities, workshops, seminars on various aspects of postgraduate education and numerous social events.

The conference coincides with the University of St Andrews’ plans to increase and improve postgraduate study in the near future. Professor Vincent said, “The University’s current postgraduate complement is almost 1000 in a total student population of around 6000. Of this number, 75% are research students and 25% are registered for advanced postgraduate taught courses. Our postgraduate cohort is crucial to the fulfilment of the University’s mission and we are actively seeking to increase it significantly, since we realise that postgraduate research and training is of fundamental importance to the long term success of the Scottish and UK economies. We also recognise that given our exceptional international research standing, we are very well placed to offer an ideal environment for postgraduate study.”

Meanwhile, NPC Conference Secretary and St Andrews postgraduate Stuart Purdie said, “The conference is an important part of the NPC’s role in informing the postgraduate community of current events in the landscape of postgraduate education. This year we have much to discuss, from recent developments in the Research Councils to reporting on the work we’ve undertaken this year, including the major postgraduate funding survey. In addition, it retains its use as one of the few time in the year when postgraduate representatives can meet and discuss how the various common issues are tackled by each, in a valuable exchange of best practice.”

The National Postgraduate Committee (NPC) is the representative body for postgraduates in the UK and comprises student representatives from educational institutions with postgraduate students. Currently, around 60% of students associations are affiliated to the NPC, representing over 50% of all postgraduate students. The NPC aims to promote the interests of postgraduates studying in the UK, while remaining politically non- aligned, and seeks to influence policy nationally, acting as a campaigning voice and a resource of information for postgraduates. They have contacts with many organisations which are involved with postgraduate affairs, including NUS, the UK Council for Graduate Education, research councils, government departments and the media and also had a representative on the Review of Postgraduate Education set up by HEFCE.

An agenda for the four-day event is detailed below. Further information available at or by emailing the General Secretary via [email protected].


NOTE TO EDITORS – For more information, please contact James Groves, General Secretary, National Postgraduate Committee on telephone 0789 056 385 or email [email protected].

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- View University press releases on- line at Ref: npc/standrews/chg/13august2002


Thursday 15 August Session 1 – 3:00pm to 6:00pm Prof David Eastwood, Chief Executive, the Arts & Humanities Research Board; Andrew Cubie CBE FRSE, Chair of Court, Napier University and Convenor of the 1999 Inquiry into Student Finance (the Cubie Report). Dinner at 6:00pm Welcoming reception at 7:00pm Includes the launch of the NPC Postgraduate Funding Survey report, sponsored by CSU, publishers of Prospects, with research carried out by the University of Warwick Students’ Union.

Friday 16 August Session 2 – 9:00am to 12:30pm Dr Clair Watts, UK Research Office in Brussels, on the EU’s 6th framework programme for research; John Beaumont, Chief Executive of the eUniversity project, the part privately-financed distance learning initiative from the funding councils; Dr Brian Atkin, New Route PhD co- ordinator, University of Nottingham. Lunch at 12:30pm Session 3 – 1:30pm to 6:30pm Prof Nick Harris, QAA; Dr Ewan Gillon, Open University on widening participation to part- time students; Dr Janet Metcalfe, Project Leader, Funding Councils’ Review of Postgraduate Research Training, presenting the findings of this key review; Dr Norman Jackson, Learning & Teaching Support Network, on progress files and students’ personal development. NPC Annual Dinner 7:30pm for 8:00pm Includes a wine reception, a traditional Scottish dinner and an after dinner speaker.

Saturday 17 August Session 4 – 9:00am to 1:00pm in Lower Parliament Hall The NPC’s 2002 Annual General Meeting. Lunch at 1:00pm Session 5 – 2:00pm to 3:30pm Speaker from Eurodoc, the Council for Postgraduate Students in Europe; Student politicians’ Question Time. Guided tour of St Andrews at 4:00pm Dinner at 6:00pm Postgraduate event in St Andrews Union from 8:00pm

Sunday 18 August Session 6 – 9:00am to 11:00am Tim Brown, NPC Project Officer, will present the findings of his survey of campus facilities for postgraduates; Diana Woodward, UK Council for Graduate Education and Napier University, on campus facilities for part-time students. Lunch at 11:00am followed by departure


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