A message for postgraduate research offer-holders: planning to commence your research
Please find below a personal message recorded by Sarah Heath, Associate Dean for Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Development in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at The University of Manchester.
As a postgraduate (research) offer-holder, you may have concerns about how the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will affect you and your transition to begin your postgraduate research at the University. In the video, Sarah provides some guidance during this time of uncertainty:
It will still be feasible for most offer-holders to start their PhD in September, but if it makes sense to delay by a month or two, or even until next January, we will be flexible in accommodating your needs and the particular circumstances of your research project. As soon as possible now we would like you to get in touch with your supervisor to consult about your start date.
Please be reassured that whenever you decide to commence your research, we will be as flexible as we possibly can where applicants aren't able to meet the conditions of their offers in the way that they expected, or at the time that they expected, due to the major challenges outside of their control.
Hi, my name is Sarah Heath, I'm Associate Dean for Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Development in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at The University of Manchester. I wanted to send a message to you as offer-holders in this time of uncertainty.
I want to start by saying how delighted I am that you have chosen The University of Manchester as the institution where you will undertake your PhD research. In the past three months our staff, students and alumni have done some amazing work to support the global fight against COVID-19 and I am immensely proud to say I work here.
We understand that you will have concerns about how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will affect you and your transition to begin your postgraduate research at the University. Obviously, this is not just an issue that affects The University of Manchester, it is affecting Universities all around the world. We want to reassure you that we are monitoring the situation very closely and have significant contingency planning underway, and most importantly, that your health and your safety remains front and centre in our thinking at all times.
Given the considerable disruption to our research projects and laboratories we're reviewing a range of options and thinking creatively, with the goal of giving you the best possible start to your research career in the current circumstances. We believe that most of our postgraduate researchers will be able to commence their research programme with us in the autumn. This is likely to mean that you will begin your research programme remotely, as the restrictions imposed by social distancing measures may make unrestricted access to campus for all difficult for some time to come.
A remote start to your PhD is not a less productive one, it is actually very similar to how most PhDs start in research-intensive universities like ours; in collaboration with your supervisor you will spend the time carefully framing your PhD, formulating your short, medium and long-term aims, and doing much of the preliminary background work which will lead to a productive time once you are back on campus. You will also of course be able to fully participate in other activity, such as research group meetings just as if you were on campus.
As soon as possible we would like you and your supervisor to consult about your start date, to determine if a start this autumn is feasible for the particular circumstances of your research project. Please be reassured that if after consultation you decide that delaying the start to your research until January 2021 would be beneficial, you will be able to do so.
Whenever you decide to commence your research, rest assured that we will be as flexible as we possibly can where applicants aren't able to meet the conditions of their offers in the way that they expected, or at the time that they expected, due to the major challenges outside of their control.
We will of course continue to be guided by government and scientific advice and evidence as the country begins to ease the lockdown, and as in due course we further solidify our plans you'll be notified as soon as possible, and the information will be made available on the University website.
In the meantime, please take the opportunity to visit the applicant and offer-holder information on the University website. Please do keep in regular contact with your supervisor and your departmental support team with any questions or concerns you may have. And above all, please stay safe and look after yourselves and your loved ones.