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Ulster University leaps to second place in postgrad research survey

This is a testament to our hard work, says professor as institution races up league table


Professor Marie Murphy

Professor Marie Murphy

Professor Marie Murphy

Ulster University (UU) has risen to second place in the UK rankings for researcher satisfaction in the latest Postgraduate Research Experience Survey.

The PhD benchmarking exercise surveyed postgraduate research students from 89 universities about their experiences, with UU leaping from eighth in the table in 2019.

The university achieved an overall satisfaction rate of 88% despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Professor Marie Murphy, dean of postgraduate research, said the jump was richly deserved.

“UU’s outstanding performance is a testament to the continued hard work of our PhD supervisors, postgraduate tutors and the team at the doctoral college supporting the journey of our PhD researchers,” she added.

“This has been a challenging year for everyone, so to make such a marked improvement in these rankings is an incredible achievement.

“At UU, we pride ourselves on creating a vibrant research environment and supportive research culture for PhD researchers, equipping them with the collaborative research skills and the knowledge needed to excel in their future careers.

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“We worked hard to adapt to the challenges presented by the pandemic to ensure this could be sustained online and in alternative ways, and we are delighted to see an improvement in researcher satisfaction.

“The rankings are rewarding feedback for our whole research community and for the team, and very encouraging for those considering PhD study with UU and for those many industry, charity, government and other partners with whom we work.”

The survey placed UU second overall for resources provided, second for professional development, third for research skills opportunities provided, and fifth for support offered for postgraduate researchers.

The university was placed in the highest quarter across all categories, with extremely high satisfaction rates of over 90% in research skills and supervision categories.

The results are a double celebration for UU, coming after 80 its PhD researchers graduated, having completed work across 17 subject areas.

Professor Liam Maguire, the pro-vice chancellor of research at UU, said the hard work undertaken by postgraduate students had a huge impact on productivity and was addressing some of the biggest challenges facing society today.

“This includes mental health, disease, conflict and sustainability. It brings knowledge and advanced research skills into society and the workplace, through non-government organisations, and across diverse industries and sectors,” he added.

“These rankings further cement UU’s reputation as a world-class research environment.

“Our PhD researchers and graduates are making an incredible impact across their diverse fields of study, working hand-in-hand with partners in industry, local communities and global stakeholders.

“Postgraduate research opens up a hugely rewarding career path and the opportunity to make a real difference in society.”

PhD researchers are offered a wide range of postgraduate opportunities across all disciplines, including fully-funded scholarship options available for both Northern Irish and international students.

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