10 things PGR students need to know about restarting on-campus research

Returning to campus will be phased from September, so we've put together ten things postgraduate research students need to know about restarting on-campus research.

City Centre Campus
  1. Where possible, all PGR students should continue to work off campus during Phase 1 of Semester 1.

  2. Where working wholly off campus is no longer possible, including for wellbeing reasons, PGR students who have an essential need to return to campus will be prioritised for a limited return to campus by their Faculty Research Degrees and Environment Committee or FRDEC.

  3. To specifically support PGR students, who have a Priority 1 need to work on campus during Phase 1, the University has created two Covid-secure hot-desking spaces. Priority 1 PGR students will be able to request one online, with bookings managed by Doctoral Research College (DRC) colleagues.

  4. Meetings between PGR students and their supervisors will continue to be held using MS Teams, as this has worked successfully since March.

  5. PGR students who are finalising their thesis and are expecting to submit their thesis and be examined during Semester 1, will submit their research degree thesis electronically and undergo a virtual viva-voce examination supported by MS Teams, as this has been well proven since March.

  6. The postgraduate certificate in Research Practice will be delivered online during the upcoming academic year, so no on-campus presence will be required for those taking this programme, which is mandatory for most new PGR students.

  7. For any PGR students who are studying on the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or the Doctor of Education (EdD) programme and are undertaking the taught elements of the programme, on-campus delivery will be coordinated by the host faculty – BLSS for the DBA and HELS for the EdD. Once they enter their independent research phase, campus access will be priority-based as for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programmes.

  8. During Phase 1, no research subjects or research participants will be authorised to come on to our campuses, so internet-mediated research should replace face-to-face data collection for PGR research, wherever technically possible.

  9. During Phase 1, travel by PGR students for any research purposes including the conduct fieldwork, will be strictly controlled. Travel within the UK will require FRDEC authorisation and travel outside the UK will require approval by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Julian Beer and must abide by all guidance and restrictions issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office.

  10. During Phases 2 and 3, subject to a continuing reduction in new cases of Covid-19 and/or the wider availability of a proven efficacious vaccine, the University anticipates a progressive unlocking of research facilities, with a wider presence of PGR students and academic staff on campus for research purposes, and a gradual return to things approaching ‘normal’ research operations. The timeline for Phase 2 and Phase 3 must be dictated by the status of the pandemic and prevailing government guidance.

This is BCU’s proportionate and safe plan to gradually restart on-campus research for those who cannot continue to research off-campus in Phase1, and hopefully there will be a progressive unlocking of research during Phase 2 and Phase 3.

These 10 points are different from arrangements made to support students on taught programmes.