Work with the University to create dedicated study spaces for postgraduate researchers

Passed: November 2019 (19th)

What do you want/Why do you want it?

All postgraduate researchers at the University should have access to learning spaces which give them the tools to conduct their research.

The provision of available study spaces for postgraduate researchers is not distributed evenly across the University. While many PGRs are allocated their own desk, others have access only to hot-desking spaces, many of which are not sufficient for the demand. In some schools these research spaces contain as few as one desk for every ten PGRs who may wish to use one. In the interest of promoting a positive research culture, fostering equity across the University, and ensuring that all members of LUU feel valued by the University, LUU should continue to lobby the University to create new, flexible, welcoming study spaces for researchers which meets demand.

All PGRs or their funders pay equivalent fees and have a right to expect a certain provision from the University and at the minimum a space which allows them to conduct their research, use specialist computing software when appropriate, form networks with other researchers. Moreover, research conducted by UKCISA has shown that researchers who are able to work alongside their peers form stronger social and professional communities and so are less likely to experience feelings of isolation commonly associated with research degrees.

Expires: November 2022 (19th)

Submitted By: Abiha Khan

Officer: Education

Area of Work: Postgraduate Students


August 2020: Work in this area may need to be paused in the current circumstances, space across campus is at a premium whilst Covid guidelines remain in place (with roughly 14% of campus space available).

June 2020: Unfortunately there are no major updates to this work over the summer as a result of lots of LUU staff being furloughed (ongoing), as well as the LUU building and campus being closed. As staff return to work and the new Officer team settle into their roles this will be picked up again.

March 2020: Covid-19 meetings, discussions and planning have overtaken this meeting.

February 2020: Meeting planned for December was rearranged for February.

December 2019: Abiha, Education Officer, and LUU's Chief Exec have a meeting with the University's Head of Facilities on 16th December about the proposed use for St. Davids [old Halo/Church nightclub]. Plan is to suggest that it could be used for PGRs, flexible workspaces etc. Original plan was to extend the Laidlaw into St. Davids but this has proved unworkable for a number of reasons.

November 2019: Policy resubmitted and passed at Better University.

October 2019: Abiha, Education Officer, and Amy, Welfare Officer, to resubmit this idea to November's Better Forums.

July 2019: Decisions about Brotherton Library are still being made and the creation of a research centre remains a front-runner. LUU are influencing these decisions though we don't expect a huge amount of funding to be made available for this. In Arts, Humanities and Cultures, the most acutely problematic faculty, Graduate School management, alongside LUU, are exploring new space-sharing arrangements across schools.

October 2018: Rejig of the Brotherton is still the most likely space for this. There seems to be appetite for this refurbishment to acknowledge that UGs are using Laidlaw and this could open up room for a PG exclusive space. LUU have a seat at the table for these discussions.

July 2018: Library services are to undergo a review of how the Brotherton Library is used. Footfall is down since the opening of Laidlaw and this is expected to deepen when Laidlaw is extended. There is appetite in the Library and at the Doctoral College to come to an agreement where this space is prioritised for PGRs and discussions are ongoing.

June 2018: Zaki, the Education Officer, continues to raise the matter at boards and other University meetings. Claire Honess continues to be a partner in this work.

March 2017: March: research is nearly finished, and Simon will ask if research can be taken to Graduate Board in May with view to introducing some policy that faculties and schools can be held to.

February 2017: Catch up with Nathan and Hai about local work. Continue to push survey to get a useful number of responses. Ongoing discussions with Claire Honess (Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies) about provision. Doctoral College (if physical) may offer some solutions.

January 2017: Survey circulated around all PGR Reps and all School Administrators with responsibility for PGRs with a view to ascertaining the disparity of provision across Schools and faculties.

December 2016: LUU's Academic Representation Team met with Nathan Brand and Hai Gao, PGR Reps from LCS who have taken over from Polly, to discuss scale of the problem as well as local and campus-wide solutions.