University's PGR Independent Advisor

University's PGR Independent Advisor

Most PGRs have a positive experience of their PhD (or other research degree), but serious issues can arise which seems difficult to resolve and risk the successful completion of your research. This could include confirmation, vivas, the working relationship with your supervisor or any other area of your doctoral study. 

The first point of contact with problems such as these would normally be your director of studies or department, but if the issue cannot be resolved or it feels uncomfortable or problematic talking to someone in your department there is another stage.

Doctoral students can speak to the University Independent Advisor for Postgraduate Research Students

The service is confidential – no-one in your department (or another department) will be told. It’s not a formal complaint.

The Independent Advisors you can contact are:

Aurelien Mondon

Emma Denham


What is an Independent Advisor?

Someone who helps to bring a fair settlement on an issue. The University Independent Advisor for Postgraduate Research Students is a University position but provides impartial and independent help through advice and mediation and does not oversee formal (or legal) processes - it's deliberately informal and easy to access. 

What sort of issues are covered?

It can be any part of your research degree, so could cover breakdown in your relationship with your supervisor, the arrangements for vivas or confirmation, or reasonable access to vital resources. If you're on an integrated PhD, it could also include the taught elements. MRes students are included.

I feel there are problems, but I might wait for now...

The sooner that a serious problem can be addressed, the better. If an issue drags on, your satisfactory progress with your PhD may be affected.

I’m worried that my supervisor/department/other academic will find out

Meetings with the Independent Advisors are confidential.

What's the process?

This varies with the nature of the problem but, once you have contacted the Independent Advisors to discuss the issue, they can informally meet concerned parties to move the situation forward. This is not a complaints process.

Nothing can be done to solve my problem

If you’re too close to a problem, it can be hard to envisage a resolution to it. The advisors have a very good record of achieving positive outcomes to difficult issues.