Skip to main content

Research Student Handbook

Student Participation, Seminars and Conferences and Teaching Opportunities

Student Participation, Seminars and Conferences and Teaching Opportunities

As developing researchers, research students make a very significant contribution to the academic, intellectual and social life of the College. Accordingly we place great emphasis on your participation in attending and organising seminars and conferences, in presenting and discussing your work and the work of your peers.

College Postgraduate Research Liaison Forum (PGRLF)

This body is made up of both student and staff representatives and is chaired by a student member. PGR liaison forums are a mechanism designed to facilitate the process of engagement with the student experience, ensuring that issues and suggestions may be considered by the graduate research student community and staff. This forum enables students and staff jointly to participate in the management and improvement of postgraduate research provision within CLES. It serves as an arena in which students can identify and communicate any concerns and have them fed into the decision-making processes within the College.

There are representatives for each discipline within the College:

  • MbyRes/MPhil/PhD representatives for Biosciences – Penryn Campus
  • MbyRes/MPhil/PhD representatives for Biosciences – Streatham Campus
  • MbyRes/MPhil/PhD representatives for Geography – Penryn Campus
  • MbyRes/MPhil/PhD representatives for Human Geography – Streatham Campus
  • MbyRes/MPhil/PhD representatives for Physical Geography – Streatham Campus
  • MbyRes/MPhil/PhD representatives for Psychology
  • MbyRes/MPhil/PhD representatives for Sport and Health Sciences
  • DCLinRes/DCLinPrac/DclinPsy representative for Professional Doctorates

Each forum will appoint a Chair (Graduate Research Student Representative) who will represent those students who cannot attend and will represent the group within the discipline and College. The Students’ Guild/FXU will invite every Graduate Research Student Representative to a university-wide PGR Executive meeting at least once a term, where they will have the opportunity to raise issues with members of the senior management team in the Doctoral College.

The Forum will meet three times in the whole academic year at College level.

PGRLF Reps will be invited to attend other events during the year such as induction and ASER meetings.

Discipline Postgraduate Research Liaison Fora

In addition, more informal meetings will take place at the Discipline level with Directors of Postgraduate Studies. These will are termly meetings and issues raised here will be dealt with by the Discipline where appropriate and also raised at the College Liaison Forum as required. College representatives will also act as Chairs for the Discipline Liaison Fora.

Each discipline and many of the specialist centres organise their own Research Seminar Series. These seminars are usually organised by academic staff and consist of a presentation by a visiting speaker, with time for questions and informal discussions over refreshments. You are strongly encouraged to attend a wide range of these seminars. They offer an invaluable opportunity to listen to and meet academics and professional practitioners who are specialists in their fields. For further information please contact your Discipline Administrator.

For anyone considering a career in academia, gaining teaching experience alongside the research degree is a valuable addition to their CV and important for their own development as an academic. Teaching is also a valuable experience for those not considering an academic career. All research students will have the opportunity to undertake support for teaching alongside their study. Opportunities for teaching will be advertised at the start of the academic year giving students the opportunity to put themselves forward for consideration. For full terms and conditions, see the Code of Good Practice for Employment of postgraduate students.

You will need to ensure that you have received adequate training before you undertakeany teaching. Anyone involved with teaching is required to undertake the Learning & Teaching in Higher Education Programme.

There is a stage 1 programme, which is a 1-day course that runs at the start of Term 1 and Term 2. However, if you are required to do any marking of work, you must also undertake the Stage 2 programme which is delivered over several weeks in Term 1 or Term 2.

There is a Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Postgraduate Research Students which defines that you should not normally work for more than 6 hours per week and over the course of the year must not exceed 180 hours of work whilst studying full-time as a research student (or for the equivalent of 0.5fte if a part-time student).  We strongly recommend that all students take the LTHE 1-day Stage 1 programme so that you can undertake any ad-hoc opportunities that may arise during the year.

In order to claim for agreed work that you have done, you will be issued with a contract and an hours allocation template (HAT) for this work. You will need to register for eClaims and complete claims accordingly.  Claims are paid at the end of each month, and you should submit your claims promptly following the work to ensure that you are paid in a timely manner.

Please bear in mind that, as Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, you will be subject to the University’s Staff/Student Personal Relationships policy. For further details please visit