That's Me!

Eliminating barriers to postgraduate research study in the West Midlands

The Project

Birmingham City University is proud to partner with the University of Wolverhampton to deliver That’s Me! Eliminating barriers to postgraduate research study in the West Midlands, a highly prestigious project funded by the UKRI and Office of Students as part of a nationwide programme to Widen participation in postgraduate research – UKRI.

Get Involved

There are a range of opportunities for all members of our community to get involved in the 'That’s Me!' project and help shape positive change.  

Call for Research Assistants: Deadline 9th June 2024

BCU is delighted to call for expressions of interests for short-term Research Assistants to join the 'That's Me!' research project.

Project Team standing outside campus

Inclusive

Seeking to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for postgraduate researchers  in the West Midlands, the project will address barriers and challenges faced by PGRs at different stages of their journey, from application to completion and beyond.

Intersectional

The project has a specific focus on the experiences of the Global Majority within the PGR community. The project will adopt an intersectional approach to recognise and address the unique challenges associated with ethnicity and intersecting aspects of identity. 

Transformative

That’s Me! is not solely focused on the transformation of university cultures and processes. It seeks to create a supportive regional employment landscape that fosters the career advancement of global majority researchers. 

Collaborative

The project seeks to encourage collaboration and co-production by involving stakeholders in the development of solutions and recommendations. The project engages with a diverse range of groups involved or interested in postgraduate research studies, including PGRs, their families, academic and administrative staff, regional employers, and the wider community. 

Data Driven

The project uses a data driven approach using research findings to inform decision-making and guide the development of actionable recommendations to bring about tangible and positive changes. 

Meet the team

Meet the researchers involved in the impactful work of That's Me! Eliminating boundaries to postgraduate research study in the West Midlands.

Sarah looks confidently into the camera

Our Approach

BCU has created three action research teams, comprising academics, professional services staff and PGRs from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to design and deliver impactful outcomes through genuine co-production. All teams have representation from Global Majority members of our community, and we have established a Global Majority Project Steering Committee, made up of Global Majority academics and leaders and chaired by Vice Chancellor, Professor David Mba, to guide project progress.

Routes In

Applying an intersectional lens, the team will explore pathways into and barriers to accessing postgraduate research study through engaging with a range of stakeholders, including Birmingham City University PGRs, university staff, regional employers, and wider communities.

They will make recommendations for improving pathways, reducing barriers, and fostering inclusivity, especially in the context of postgraduate research application and induction processes, and investigate pre-research degree models, which aim to bridge the gap between undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and postgraduate research study, with a view to making recommendations for a best practice model.

Routes Through

The team will explore and define best practices about key aspects of the PGR experience.

These include supervision dynamics, styles and practices; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training and policy; the provision of ‘safe’ and ‘home-from-home’ spaces for PGRs; and the design and use of peer-to-peer networks, which see PGRs interact with each other direct to share knowledge, skills and experience, and reverse mentoring programs that involve PGRs mentoring experienced Higher Education staff to share insights and guidance to promote learning, knowledge exchange and growth.

Routes Out

The team will engage with and broaden the That’s Me! regional employer board to foster connections, including career opportunities, between regional employers and PGRs, across a range of industries and sectors. They will investigate the workforce needs of the region, the extent of existing regional employer involvement with and understanding of postgraduate research, and strategies for engaging employers as coaches, allies, and mentors.

This will be done with a view to collaboratively developing an inclusive workforce strategy, including recruitment practices, for the region that values and harnesses its postgraduate research portfolio and widens routes out opportunities for postgraduate researchers.

Contact information

If you would like to find out more about our work, please contact Project Leads Oliver.Carter@bcu.ac.uk and Sarah.Cooper@bcu.ac.uk.