QAA code calls for better trained researchers

March 11, 2005

Universities need to improve research skills training for postgraduates to meet new government requirements.

From the beginning of the next academic year 2005-06, institutions must ensure that research degree programmes align with the Quality Assurance Agency's revised code of practice.

A special QAA review, ahead of the agency's institutional audits in 2006-07, will take place next year. Universities are expected to outline their activities by March 2006.

Separately, a working group led by Chris Parks, director of Lancaster University's Graduate School, will look at how to measure the effectiveness of postgraduate skills development. The group, set up by UK Grad, the national body for postgraduate development, will meet in April.

Ellen Pearce, manager of the UK Grad Programme Centre for Excellence, said:

"We are committed to demonstrating that skills development makes a difference to the PhD experience, to future careers and the impact that researchers make in the UK."

The 2002 Roberts' report on science careers suggested employers found postgraduate skills lacking. Since then research councils have earmarked about £900 per student for skills development.

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