UK Council for Graduate Education: International Conference on the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researchers

  • Katheryn-Margaret Pascoe (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...


“Forget workshops. People need people”: Empowering PGRs to foster a nationwide peer community Dr Ellie Crabtree, Jennie Eldridge & Heather Bennett | University Alliance. Ana Tendero Cañadas | University of Brighton. Katheryn Margaret Pascoe | Ulster University/DTA Strong peer communities are key to supporting the good mental health and wellbeing of postgraduate researchers, yet there are a number of challenges to fostering these amongst doctoral students focused on individual projects. How can inter-university doctoral training providers overcome these challenges to create nationwide communities for their researchers? And crucially, how can these communities be maintained virtually during the global pandemic while also building new ones for cohorts commencing their projects remotely? The Doctoral Training Alliance would like to share its experiences from 2020 of fostering a virtual, nationwide community of postgraduate researchers, supervisors and doctoral schools based at 19 different institutions. Developed and delivered collaboratively by the DTA Team and PhD researchers from the DTA Representative Committee, the workshop will start with an oral presentation detailing how we adapted delivery in 2020 to enable continued opportunities for peer networking in the remote environment. Following adaptation, our researchers continued to express a need for further opportunities to socialise and build connections with peers. Members of the Rep Committee will conclude the presentation by sharing ways in which they have intervened to strengthen the voice of their peers at DTA management level and how they have provided engaging opportunities for informal networking. Colleagues will then be split into groups and invited to reflect on key strategies to build PGR communities remotely, and how these may be effective in the context of both nationwide and regional DTPs. Ultimately this paper seeks to broaden understanding of the effective interventions that support researcher wellbeing. We argue that, as well as workshops and professional services, it is essential to establish communities that both promote the agency of researchers to cultivate their own wellbeing support networks and strengthen the ability of doctoral training providers to actively listen to the voices of their researchers.
Period13 May 2021
Event typeConference
Conference number2nd
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • mental health
  • wellbeing
  • Doctoral research