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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

Participants needed for postgraduate researcher wellbeing project

Published: 16 February 2016
Three students relaxing outdoors
Help the Doctoral College understand the issues facing postgraduate researchers

The Doctoral College, in partnership with Enabling Services, is working on a new project to investigate the relationship between postgraduate researcher (PGR) wellbeing and non-academic support.

The project’s aim is to gather evidence surrounding PGR mental health and wellbeing issues and postgraduate students’ use of current non-academic support (e.g. counselling) services in order to develop a framework for these in the future.

It has been widely discussed that the number of doctoral researchers reporting mental health issues is on the increase. The pressures of PhD study in itself can have a significant impact on students’ emotional capacity, with some of the most commonly recognised factors including:

  • the feeling of isolation
  • academic pressures
  • teaching overload
  • financial stress
  • the need to balance paid work and studies

To assist with the project, the Doctoral College in collaboration with SUSU, is currently looking for volunteers to take part in focus groups at Highfield, Southampton General Hospital and NOCS, week commencing 22 February.

The focus groups will either run from 13:00 – 15:00 or 17:00 – 19:00. Other sites will also be added if there is demand.

Dr Emma Waight, Research Project Officer, said:

“Although the university has a range of services available to PGRs, these are still not reaching all of the PGRs set to benefit from them. This project thus aims to gather evidence directly from PGRs in order to investigate their experiences and needs, as well as gathering insights from supervisors and graduate school directors.”

Please contact Dr Emma Waight  if you’d like more information on the focus groups and/or to receive a copy of the participant information sheet.

If you cannot attend one of the groups, but would like to comment on PGR pastoral support please email Emma at the above address.

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