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SFC Advisory Group on Supporting Scotland’s Postgraduate Researchers

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The SFC Advisory Group on Supporting Scotland’s Postgraduate Researchers has been formed to provide advice to SFC as it explores opportunities for supporting postgraduate researchers in Scotland that could be harnessed by a national approach.

This work will build on and complement work being undertaken in response to the outcomes of the Research Excellence Grant and Research Postgraduate Grant consultation and the recommendations within SFC’s Review of Tertiary Education and Research, including those relating to better supporting postgraduate researchers (PGRs).

It takes place within a changing UK research environment, with shifting approaches to PGR provision and researcher training and development, as pointed to in the UK R&D People and Culture Strategy, UKRI’s New Deal for PGRs and a range of other recent policy and strategy documents.

The remit of the Group is:

  • To provide SFC with expert advice on the purpose and future accountability approach for SFC’s Research Postgraduate Grant (RPG).
  • To consider a Scottish response to UK developments in the postgraduate researcher (PGR) landscape.
  • To provide SFC with expert advice on how we build our evidence base to inform the directions we take to support and champion postgraduate researchers, including their training and development, in Scotland.

The group will meet 6-8 times over an 18-month period starting in September 2022.

Group Co-chairs

Dr Kay Guccione, Head of Research Culture & Researcher Development, University of Glasgow.

Professor Nick Fyfe, Vice Principal for Research and Community Engagement, Robert Gordon University.

Group Members

Our Advisory Group members were recruited via an application process and are based in universities across Scotland. They encompass a range of disciplines, institution types, career stages and roles, bringing a wide range of expertise, skills and experience to the work of the group.

Frances Burstow, Director of Talent and Skills, UKRI.

Professor Maxwell Chipulu, Research Professor, Operations and Analytics, Edinburgh Napier University.

Professor Iain Docherty, Dean, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Stirling.

Dr Alison Hughes, Project Co-ordinator, Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance, University of Glasgow.

Dr Vicky Farquhar, Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, University of Glasgow.

Aerin Lai, Postgraduate Researcher, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.

Dr Lucy Leiper, Postgraduate Research School Manager, University of Aberdeen.

Dr Sandra Oza, Doctoral Academy Manager, University of Dundee.

Professor Lydia Plowman, Professor Emerita, University of Edinburgh. Formerly Dean of Research in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Director Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences (SGSSS).

Mengxing Ma, Postgraduate Researcher, School of Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews.

Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri, Senior Lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research), School of English, University of St Andrews.

Professor Michael Rayner, Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange, University of the Highlands and Islands.

Professor Claire Squires, Director of Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and Professor of Publishing, University of Stirling.

Professor Bonnie Steves, Director of the Graduate School & Professor of Astrodynamics, Glasgow Caledonian University.

Kirsty Woomble, Head of PGR Student Office, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh.


Dr Charlotte Matheson, Policy/Analysis Officer, Research and Innovation Directorate, email:

Dr Cat Ball, Assistant Director of Research and Innovation, email:

Meeting notes

Meeting notes – 28 September 2022.

Mailing list

If you want to find out more about the work of the Group, please contact Hazel McGraw, email: to be added to our mailing list.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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