Postgraduates: How can national policy centralise this forgotten tribe and celebrate their skills in tackling the challenges of higher education.

Barry Ryan


The role of the postgraduate research student is one that is not often highlighted as important; however, these transient researchers hold two key positions in most Higher Education Institutes (HEIs); full-time researchers and novice educators. Centralising and celebrating the skills set of this ‘forgotten tribe’ could address some of the problems currently faced by the higher education system. These problems include financial constraints imposed by the economic downturn, the requirement to ‘do more with less’, and the use of the knowledge based economy to drive economic stabilisation and recovery. Postgraduate researchers are not the panacea for all higher education ills; these researchers are primarily interested in research and additional duties may distract from this core value. Inclusion of pedagogic training as part of a structured PhD may allow for specific training to be delivered that would benefit many of the stakeholders; the undergraduate, the postgraduate and the HEI at large.


PhD training; fourth level learning; structured PhD model

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