Child pages
  • Faculty Research Students Committee
#University of Bath
Faculty of Science
                                   DRAFT UNCONFIRMED OPEN Minutes of Meeting







Council Chambers

Date and Time

Monday 10 th February, 12.30 pm



Professor S Wonnacott (Chair)

Associate Dean (Graduate Studies)


Dr S Lewis

Department of Chemistry


Dr I Eggleston

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology


Dr R James

Department of Physics


Dr J Laird

Department of Computer Science


Dr J Doughty

Miss E Cradduck

Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Student Representative, Department of Chemistry




In attendance

Mr S Gane

Miss N Bartram

Dr N Strevett

Graduate School Manager

Postgraduate Administrator

Postgraduate Research Studies Manager





Dr C Yeomans

Deputy Graduate School Manager


Dr A Hill

Department of Mathematical Sciences










Welcome and introductions

Dr Neil Strevett (NS), Postgraduate Research Studies Manager, was welcomed to the meeting. Apologies were received from Dr Adrian Hill (AH) and Dr Catrin Yeomans (CY).







Minutes of the meeting (paper 28) held on 12 th December 2013 were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.








MATTERS ARISING (not discussed elsewhere)

Supervisory weightings

The way information on supervisory weightings is collected (via the Candidature Form) and recorded on SAMIS/PURE was discussed. Simon Gane (SG) reminded committee members that previously three approved supervisor weightings had been agreed (60/40, 70/30, 95/5), and supervisors completing the Candidature Forms for the recent Sept ’13 intake had been advised to use these bandings, but many had failed to. It was agreed that it would be preferable if the Candidature Form included information on these weightings, but it was recognised that they would have to apply across the University for this change to happen. A discussion was also had about whether the second supervisor should sign the candidature form.









































Student/supervisor working relationships

In response to this issue being raised in the Ombudsman’s Report, Professor Wonnacott (SW) emphasised that this was not a major concern in Science but there are areas for improvement. The committee discussed what supervisors do not do well at the moment and SW will prepare a paper for this.


The committee discussed the need to clearly signpost to supervisors what they are required to do and to find out from students where they experience issues with supervisors. Emily Cradduck (EC) suggested asking students for feedback on supervisor issues via an anonymous survey or meeting. It was agreed that this suggestion be discussed further at the next SSLC.


The committee discussed departmental relationships with Graduate School administrators that some thought had weakened since administration became centralised. SW suggested that Directors of Study emphasise that the Graduate School should be the first point of contact for students and supervisors at departmental meetings. SG noted that steps are being taken to address this, for example, by having a named person as the contact for each department. SG agreed to circulate a document that clarified who should be contacted within the Graduate School for each area of PG admin responsibility. SG also agreed to make efforts to attend departmental meetings.


Summary of progression events for research degrees across the Faculty

The paper was discussed at the last FRSC and will be taken to the next URSC. It was due to be discussed under AOB at the January URSC meeting, but needs further clarification before it is considered by URSC.


Draft confirmation report guidelines

The committee reiterated that the document needed to take into account different disciplines. CY will gather information from DoS’s in each department in order to inform further development of these guidelines.



Updated PhD exam guidelines (paper 29)

The committee noted the updated PhD guidelines. Simon Lewis (SL) noted that it has been circulated within Chemistry and has sped up the turnaround of paperwork. SG to circulate to departments.













































Public Engagement (paper 30)

The paper was noted by the committee. It was discussed at URSC on 23 rd January and will be discussed at the Graduate School Committee meeting later in the week.


Tier 4 compliance and PGR students completing study or work away from the University (paper 31)

The paper was noted by the committee. It was discussed that attendance checks should apply to all students, not just Tier 4 visa holders.


SSLC Action Plan (paper 32)

Discussed at URSC (23 rd Jan) and recommended for review by Faculties/Schools. SW drew attention to Point 10 on the action plan, that the University investigate the provision of working spaces for PGR students. Concerns were raised that the proposed May deadline for a response from Faculties/Schools is unrealistic  as information needs to be collected from students & supervisors to address the issue. SW to discuss with the Dean.


Ombudsman report in relation to new/replacement supervisors

The committee noted the report. SW to draft response outlining what we are doing to support new supervisors and to ensure that changes to supervision are managed efficiently.


Annual monitoring reports

The committee noted praise for the annual monitoring reports that have been submitted. SW highlighted that Physics still needed to submit its report.


URS funding

The committee noted that Jane Millar is in the process of reviewing URS provision in terms of numbers, duration and allocation of awards. 


Update on development of 6 Month progress report

Two consultation meetings have taken place involving representatives from Registry, Directors of Study, Associate Deans and PGR students, to discuss a draft new Progress Report that will replace the 6 month and Annual report. The draft report, along with its accompanying guidance notes, has been amended in response to the feedback from those two meetings and the final version is now being developed by BUCS. The intention is to release the new report by the end of March.


Administration of Confirmation reports

SG drew the Committee’s attention to the fact that the due date for the confirmation report is included on the candidature form and that failure to meet this deadline will result in a student being deemed to have failed their first confirmation attempt, which is why confirmation submissions will need careful monitoring. SG suggested that the Graduate School should monitor all submissions to ensure that there is a clear record of when reports are submitted. RJ felt that there was less of a need for such support in Physics but other DoS’s welcomed this suggestion. EC commented that students would appreciate deadline reminders. SG to produce proposal for how this will be administered at the next FRSC.






















































SW confirmed the date of the next Faculty Research Afternoon (3 rd June).







The meeting closed at 2.30pm.