PGR Connect is our peer-support network for postgraduate researchers.
It’s a doctoral researcher-led scheme to help you to adjust to or progress in PGR study by getting to know others, sharing experiences and ideas, tackling common issues and developing a sense of community and belonging together.
It began in 2018/19 as part of PGR Catalyst (a national research network) project and is rooted in core principles of peer support (Basset et al.). It’s based on good practice models (Student Minds) and aligned with institutional models such as Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Peer Mentoring.
How does it work?
Small groups of around 6 PG researchers meet every 2 months or so over the year, led by one of our trained PGR Connect Leaders, who are also doctoral researchers at Bradford. They facilitate discussion about things that matter to the group and help you to support each other.
The groups are confidential and provide a ‘safe space’ for researchers to share experiences and form supportive connections with each other away from their academic responsibilities.
Groups can be self-generated (e.g. for a particular research area or Faculty, for those entering a certain stage of their studies, part-time researchers or for those who don’t live locally). Or they can be open, and researchers can be allocated at random.
Why join a group?
The potential benefits of engaging in a peer support group include:
- Supportive, motivating, empowering
- Meet others who may be experiencing similar things
- Reduces isolation
- Builds researcher networks
- Creates a culture of empathy and acceptance
- Share ideas and information (e.g. details on services or opportunities).
National research (Ghent 2018) has shown that successful, thriving researchers actively protect and strengthen their mental wellbeing and regularly share their experience with each other. Previous participants in PGR Connect found the following value to being in a PGR Connect group:
- “Realising and recognising the value of sharing experience to help normalise the ups and downs of the research experience.”
- “Helping to reduce the isolation and feelings that everyone else is coping but you.”
- “Helping each other tackle common issues: e.g.: time management; supervisor relationship; ways to de-stress, motivation. “
- “A unique forum to focus on sharing experience of just 'doing life as a researcher'.”
The Wellbeing Thesis
This FREE set of resources is developed by Student Minds and helps you focus on the positive mental health and wellbeing aspects of your doctoral journey.
The Wellbeing Thesis can help you to:
- Set yourself up to do the best
- Challenge common postgraduate myths
- Feel in control of your postgraduate journey
- Plan on the next steps following on from your studies.
Follow us on Twitter to find out about:
- Latest sessions and how to book
- #UoBresearchculture events on and off campus
- Changes to training and new events
- Links to external training and resources.