COVID-19 FAQs for PGRs and supervisors

This blog post is intended to provide specific information for PGRs and research degree supervisors about the impact of COVID-19. We will update it as advice changes and we will add new FAQs when it seems necessary.

Q: Where can I find out updates from the University about COVID-19 (‘Coronavirus’)?

A: The University of Northampton’s Situation Updates page is the primary source of information and updates for colleagues and researchers at the University of Northampton: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/about-us/situation-updates/

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COVID-19 update: guidance on planned research and enterprise activities

**Updates: As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, the default institutional expectation remains that research and enterprise activities should proceed in online or virtual formats. It is recognised that exceptions will exist, but until further notice, all face-to-face research/enterprise activities work can only proceed with the approval of the most relevant Dean or Deputy Dean (or for LLS/ILT – Head of LLS), following risk assessment in alignment with current University of Northampton guidelines. As a default position, research/enterprise work will not be allowed to proceed if:

  • alternative, remote research methods could be used which will meet the objectives of the research in an ethical manner;
  • the planned work involves UK or international travel;
  • the planned activity can feasibly be postponed.

Further guidance, plus expectations about risk assessments and new resources for online research methods are outlined below.

Current position

The University of Northampton’s Situation Updates page is the primary source of information and updates for colleagues and researchers at the University of Northampton: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/about-us/situation-updates/

Given the exceptional, unprecedented situation which is ongoing as a result of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all researchers must reflect on their planned and ongoing activities: this may necessitate pausing, rescheduling or amending activities. Amendments to activities, or proposals for new research/enterprise activities, must be reviewed and approved by the University of Northampton’s Research Ethics Committee or Faculty Ethics Committees.

It is likely that COVID-19 will cause significant disruption for research activities, particularly where:

  • proposed/ongoing research activities require face-to-face contact with participants, particularly those who are at-risk or require self-isolation as per the latest UK Government advice;
  • researchers are themselves at-risk or require self-isolation;
  • proposed research involves UK or international travel;
  • planned research requires visits to settings which are closed or have restricted access as a result of COVID-19.

If you are concerned about the impacts of the current situation on your ongoing/planned research, support is available as follows:

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Additional Student Support and Inclusion Services Team (ASSIST)

ASSIST provides exceptional student-centred support to help students with additional or alternative needs and requirements to develop, progress and achieve their full potential. The team supports students throughout their time at university and can help them develop their skills and confidence to get the most from their student experience.

ASSIST provides support for students with: physical impairments, sensory impairments, mental health difficulties, medical conditions, Autistic spectrum disorders and specific learning difficulties, for example dyslexia. The team’s services are available to all disabled students, including part-time, postgraduate and international students, as well as distance learners and students at partner colleges.

ASSIST offer the same support for all levels of study and they have successfully supported a number of research students and academics completing their PhDs.  Mostly their support comprises 1:1 specialist study skills support. If you need support, in the first instance you are encouraged to submit evidence to the ASSIST team, then register and book an appointment for assessment of needs.

Full information on the service, including drop-in times etc. can also be found on the web page: https://mynorthamptonac.sharepoint.com/sites/student/Pages/Disability.aspx

Images of Research 2020-21 – Rules and Guidelines

Your ResearchYour image needs, in some way, to connect, comment on or represent your research. You can be as creative as you like to capture the viewer’s imagination.
Unique  Your image should be from a photograph, drawing or painting which you have created yourself, not downloaded from any publicly available image bank.
FormatYour image can be in full colour, sepia or black and white and either landscape or portrait.
ResolutionYour image must be of a high resolution, at least 2-3 megabytes and in either a jpg or tif format so that it prints successfully onto A4. Some mobile phones do not take images of this quality, so try to use a good digital camera (note: you do not need to print it).
Title and descriptionAlong with your image, please write a snappy title and a concise description of your image and how it relates to your research. A maximum of 150 words in plain English (no technical language or jargon).
DeadlinePlease email your image and description to linda.maguire@northampton.ac.uk by Monday 21st December 2020. Make sure you email the FULL-SIZE image for best quality.
CopyrightBy entering the competition, you are giving the Graduate School permission to use your entry for exhibitions and publications, in the context of Images of Research.
Want to see more examples?Search for ‘Images of Research’ here on the Research Support Hub for previous year’s entries. For more example from other universities, please Google ‘Images of Research’.

Judging

On Monday 22nd February 2021 we are hoping to hold a face-to-face launch, where you can view all the images for the first time. You will be able to vote for your favourite top three entries in the ‘people’s choice’ vote. There will also be an expert judge vote. The selected images will then be used in various University publications. The winner will be announced on Monday 22nd March 2021.

Judging criteria

As a guide, a winning image is one that:

  1. Is visually appealing
  2. Has an accompanying abstract that is well-written, clearly connects with the image and ensures viewers, who know nothing about the topic, will understand and find interest in the research presented.

Images of Research 2020-21 – call for submissions

The call for the Graduate School’s 7th Images of Research 2020-21 competition is now open! If you are a researcher (staff or student) at the University of Northampton and you would like to participate, you will need to produce a unique image that you can either create or photograph. The image should capture the essence or an element of your research, in a visual, artistic or photographic way, with a 150-word summary and a title. A list of rules and guidelines for the competition is attached.

Entries for Images of Research 2020-21 should be emailed to linda.maguire@northampton.ac.uk by the closing date, Monday 21st December 2020. We are hoping to hold a face-to-face launch event on Monday 22nd February 2021 (to be confirmed), when voting will open. The winner will be announced on Monday 22nd March 2021.

Do feel free to contact me if you have any questions, otherwise I look forward to receiving your entry. Good luck!

Lecture series – Digital communication and digital humanities

An online series of lectures for PGRs and Early Career Researchers in the area of digital communications and digital humanities. Details can be found here:

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University of Northampton Graduate School – 1st overall satisfaction in this year’s Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)

Message from Professor Matthew McCormack, Head of the Graduate School: The Graduate School has some excellent news to share: UoN has come 1st for overall satisfaction in this year’s Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES). Our PGRs have rated us in the top 8 in all categories, including 1st for “resources” and “responsibilities”, and 2nd for “progression”, “research skills” and “professional development”.

I would like to thank the PGRs for completing the survey and for rating us so highly. As always, we will analyse the results carefully and will work with you on any areas where we can enhance what we do. These results are a tribute to the strength of our PGR community, and the dedication of our supervisors, the Graduate School, and all those at UoN who work hard to support postgraduate research.

East Midlands Doctoral Researcher (EMDoc) Conference- 9th and 10th September 2020

The University of Northampton is part of the East Midlands Doctoral Research Network, which consists of nine universities who are keen to work collaboratively to share best practice, resources and insights into doctoral research across all disciplines. The EMDoc Conference is a great opportunity for you to discuss and promote your research, as well as meet and network with other researchers from across the East Midlands. In this year’s Conference, you are invited to explore the theme of ‘Sustainability’ through oral and poster presentations.

If you wish to submit a paper or poster for the Conference you will need to contact the Conference organisers directly, please follow the guidance on the attached document. Please also notify Linda Cooper in the Graduate School of your submission (linda.cooper@northampton.ac.uk) so that we are aware of all institution submissions. The call for papers closes on Thursday 16th July 2020. Please contact Linda with any further queries.

Annual Research Conference 2020

We are delighted that we have been able to modify the University of Northampton’s Annual Research Conference in 2020 and deliver it online. The Conference includes much of the usual format, although we’ve taken the decision to postpone the ‘Bake your Research’ competition until we are back face-to-face on campus. Read the rest of this entry

David’s top tips for being productive at home

I’ve been having real difficulty concentrating whilst working at home. I find it hard to start tasks, my eyes are sore, a 5-day week feels daunting and I feel anxious when I don’t complete the tasks I planned to do. I miss going to work!

At the Graduate School Drop-In today, we talked to a PhD student about concentration and productivity. We came up with a few practical ideas that I thought I’d share with you: Read the rest of this entry