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Beyond submission and a successful defence of the doctoral thesis, there is little understanding about how individual postgraduate researchers experience success.


This project brought together a cross-institutional team of postgraduate researchers whose consultation with their peers uncovered a genuine appetite for this collaborative work.


The project team conducted a full cross-institutional audit of data and practices used to measure success within diverse postgraduate research populations. The findings lead to the development of a framework of definitions and measures of success, noting intersectionality and discipline-specific differences.


Introducing the Supporting Success for Postgraduate Researchers Framework

The Framework offers recommendations for practical approaches and actions that will collectively help to develop improved support for postgraduate researchers (PGRs).

The recommendations are flexible by design and can be adapted to the structures and needs of different higher education institutions under the following themes:

  • Data driven interventions
  • Improved induction processes
  • PGR-specific support services
  • Peer support networks and PGR community

Postgraduate Researchers from Diverse Backgrounds: A Framework for Defining, measuring and Supporting Success

Publication date: 14 Mar 2023

To support the launch of the Framework, the project team also recorded a podcast with QAA where we discussed different barriers to success for PGRs: from poor mental health and imposter syndrome, to the influence of research culture and perceptions of identity – this will be released as part of QAA’s monthly podcast series at the end of March.

Project lead:

University of Nottingham

Project partners:

University of Leeds, The Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and University of Warwick

Other Collaborative Enhancement Projects

QAA supports a number of projects every year, covering a range of topics and interest areas. Each is led by a QAA Member, working in collaboration with other members institutions. You can find more information on all projects, and access resources and outputs, on our website.