New fund helps postgraduate research students enhance their experience

Date 11.07.2019

Postgraduate Research Students at the University of Northampton are set to get extra support from a new fund, REEF.

The Research Environment Enhancement Fund (REEF), which will launch at the start of the next academic year, gives postgraduate research students (PGRs) the opportunity to take the reins and trial initiatives to enhance their student experience.

The idea behind the fund is that it will help PGRs to develop valuable employability skills, not just for careers in academia, but also in industry.  Students’ Union Research Student Officer, Anthony Stepniak, championed the fund, he explained: “As the University’s first Students’ Union Research Student Officer, I wanted to develop a number of enhancements to the way PGRs are able to influence their research environment directly. The REEF fund enables students to bid for up to £500 to run, facilitate and create opportunities and events with of the aim of enhancing research environment.

“The fund encourages PGRs to work across discipline areas on their events or initiatives, which will widen the impact for all students. The submission process has been designed to give PGRs a chance to develop their skills at every step of the way, even if their bid isn’t successful. I would like to thank Lucy Atkinson, a fellow PGR, for her inspiration in the early stages of developing the idea behind this fund.”

Dr Cathy Smith, Dean of Research at the University of Northampton said, “I’m looking forward to seeing the funding bids from the PGR community. We have a strong research community here at Northampton, and I feel it is vital to cultivate student voice to help create an event stronger research environment, as well as supporting researchers to develop not only their research skills, but the wider skill set required for life as an active research career.”

To support PGRs with their submission, the Graduate School will be offering a training workshop to develop their skills creating funding bids, which is a key part of academic life.

Karen Lewis, Research and Innovation Funding Support Manager, at the University said: “I’m delighted to be involved with this fund, which will empower PGRs to enhance the research environment at the university and support them in developing skills in bid writing.  These skills will be invaluable for future careers both within and beyond academia.”

Applications to the fund are welcomed by solo bidders and small groups from any stage of their PGR journey. The bidding workshop will take place on 9 October, details will be available on the Graduate School’s Research Support Hub. The fund opens its call for bids on the 10 September and the deadline for submissions is the 25 November. All Postgraduate Research students will be sent a copy of the bid form by email. Once the bids are submitted, a panel of UON researchers, and external experts will review and award the funding.