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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

UWS Students against Accommodation Price Rises !!

Hi guys,
It has recently come to light that the university plans to increase the prices of the Lady Lane and George Street residences from £55 a week to between £100-150 a week after refurbishment. As a result i have created an on-line petition against this - please feel free to sign it at:

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Hi all,

There will be a Pancake Party on Wednesday the 9th March. We will all meet in the RSS room at 5pm then will proceed to my flat to make and eat lots of pancakes. All you have to bring are the pancake fillings of your choice and any drinks you want.

This is to celebrate the tradition of pancake day on the 8th March. I am not here on the 8th so the event will actually be a post-pancake day party! If you can send me an email if you are interested in attending so I can get a rough idea of numbers, that would be great,



Hi all,

The following posts have now been filled - if you are based at Ayr or Hamilton or live nearby please take note of your new presidents !!

Secretary = Jolly Gandhi –

Treasurer = Matthew Neeves –

RSS Sub-President – Ayr - Yvonne Christley -

RSS Sub-Committee – Hamilton – Heather Horsburgh –

Hazel Kelly -

Laura Kerr -

Matthew has the keys to the lockers in the RSS room so if you would like one of these please e-mail him. If you have any ideas for events/activities down at Ayr or Hamilton please get in touch with the relevant people.

Also Fiona Edgar would like some help with a project she is working on. She needs to find some male students aged 16-18 to take part – I have put the details below – if you know of anyone who is interested there is a £30 gift voucher in it for them. Please see below for more details.



The project is looking at how young men and women use alcohol in their transitions to adulthood.

For this, we have been recruiting males and females aged 16 - 18 and 25 - 30 to take part in focus groups about their experiences of drinking alcohol. We are also recruiting people from a range of socio-economic groups.

At the moment, we are looking specifically for male students/pupils aged 16-18 to take part in a focus group.

I realise that members of the RSS will not be in this age range themselves! I wondered, though, if you could send it out to the mailing list incase people know of any younger relatives/friends/students etc etc that might be interested in taking part. We have been granted ethical approval by a NHS Research Ethics Committee.

The date for the focus group for male students/pupils aged 16-18 is:

Thursday 24th Feb 2011

6pm - 8pm

It will take place at a venue in Glasgow city centre. If people need a taxi home afterwards, we can arrange that for them. Each participant will receive £30 giftcard for H&M.

For more information, or for anyone interested in taking part, if they email me at then I will send them out some more information.

Hope this all sounds ok.

Thanks very much,


Saturday, 29 January 2011

Q+A With Ian Bishop 25/01/11

The session began with a brief presentation from head of IRO Ian Bishop:

· Issues relating to taught postgraduate degrees are dealt with at the Learning and Teaching Board.

· Issues relating to research degrees are dealt with at the University’s Research Knowledge Transfer Board (URKTB) on which your president sits as your representative.

· School Boards are where issues relating to the general running of the departments are dealt with.

· IRO exists to support the research staff and students. It is the onbly department within the university that deals with its students from application all the way through to graduation. It organises training events, progression etc.

· IRO reports to the Vice Principal of Research – Ian Bishops line manager – this is currently Roddy Williamson. He then reports to the URKTB.

· There are 3 key ways to resolve any problems you have;

- If a problem relates to university policy – this is dealt with at the URKTB

- The faculties and schools should be approached with issues relating to the local implementation/application of policies

- Your Director of Studies should be approached if problems are of a more personal nature.

· Each faculty has a Research Lead who can also act as a representative of the research students at the URKTB.

Questions were then presented to the IRO representatives

(I – answer from Ian, C – answer from Craig, H – answer from Heather). Comments in italics are made by your president during the type up of her notes!)

Q. How often does the URKTB sit?

A. - H. 4 times a year

At this point Martin complemented the excellent work Heather does on behalf of all research students.

Q. If the poster event is compulsory – why do we have to pay to print our posters?

A. - H. Anyone who does not wish to participate can opt out by getting consent from your Director of Studies, although the event is beneficial to all who attend.

A.- I. I think money will be a repeat issue here today. The contract of a studentship is between the student, the school and the university. IRO does not get enough money but will examine the pressures money issues place on students.

Q. £6000 is not acceptable as a stipend – teaching is needed to subsidise those on this amount. Students on £12000 have different issues to those on the lower stipend. Do fewer students on the lower stipend graduate within the given time? Why are we told not to bring up the issue of the stipend?

A. – I. IRO does monitor student progression. The obligation of the cost of producing posters should not necessarily be passed on to the student. We are not asking you to forget issues with the stipend; however the issue of the stipend should be parked (i.e. we should move on to another topic).

Q. How can the university expect to increase the number of research students on a limited amount of money?

A. – I. It is not easy to look at. The funding package is complicated. The stipend does not relate to quality and the £6000 stipend is not advertised as a full wage. The university needs to increase the number of international students and grant funded students. This will introduce inequality throughout for example international students are not given a stipend at all.

Q. How will the recent budget cuts affect us?

A. – I. This has not yet been discussed within the university. It will possibly be dealt with at the next URKTB meeting. The Research Postgraduate grant has been froze (i.e. we will see not further increase in the near future)

Q. Has IRO looked into finding extra sponsorship, grants etc for research students?

A. – H + I. IRO don’t specifically look for them but we do publicise what we do find. We have distributed the Alternative Guide to Grant Funding to all students and are quite happy to work with you to develop such opportunities. Some members of staff have created employment for research students as a result of grants they have applied for. The Interface grant is a good example. If anyone wishes to apply for a grant they can come and see us for help with the grant application process.

Q. Supervisors do not disseminate data on funding sources to us. What can you do to encourage more partnership/dissemination?

A. - I. It is all about finding appropriate mechanisms that do not take up much time. You must be sure to invest your time in something that is likely to generate a result.

Q. Can we make the Director of Studies more accountable (in regards to money/ grants etc)?

A. – I. This is not my area of experience. Some staff get many grants and publicise a lot. One member of staff has published over 100 articles in the last 18 months (that’s 5 a month or just over 1 a week if he was the first author!!!!). Some areas are harder to fund than others.

A. – H. Grant applications can be de-motivating – the chances of success are slim.

A. – I. You need to get used to the process for an academic career.

A. – H. We could repeat the grant application seminar. IRO can also help with any grant applications you make.

Q. Can we get a list of the grant sources that have awarded staff at this university in the past? (it was mentioned that by applying for a grant that has never been awarded to anyone in the university previously, it is less likely that the application will be a success)

A. I. I am keen to move on to other topics but i will be happy to review the situation. The larger grant sources are not available to students. I would like to take this topic offline (his words not mine !). If you bring your application along to us we can help you develop it. We can provide a Feed for grant application funding to your desktop which can then be tailored to your needs. This is done via your e-mail account (if you would like this service – e-mail heather).

Q. What is IRO doing in regards to improving teaching opportunities for research students?

A. – I. At present there is no policy in place to allow for research students to be given priority for teaching positions (actually there is – according to Hassan he himself passed such a policy through the senate !!!!). We are moving toward a policy which will encourage the use of research students in teaching. It will be a big improvement – research students will not be the sole suppliers of teachers, but part – suppliers. Short term teaching needs will always be available (i.e. when a lecturer is off sick). Recently there has been a change in research personnel (Hassan being replaced as VP of Research by Roddy and Malcolm Foley being the new VP of learning and teaching) and this has led to an increasing enthusiasm on the value that research students bring. To improve the situation it needs a university led initiative and a new policy. This would be good as it may result in an increased need for training to preserve the quality of teaching.

In the past the business school have piloted actions that have later been adopted throughout the university. Ron Livingstone is enthusiastic about involving research students in teaching, as is the dean of the school – Malcolm Foley.

Possible staffing cuts would affect the part-timers first (this is a comment related to the recently announced budget cuts)

It would be good to open up opportunities to students. It would also be good experience as long as it fits in with your work schedule.

Q. – I. What do you think of the three day teaching module?

A. We would like to see more like this. It lacks training in assessment of work as this is in the second part of the module.

I. You do need to be classed as associate lecturers before being exposed to students. IRO has not been responsible for research students for that long. We need to improve the training schedule and make it less flat. Training need vary between faculties, but we are keen to get research students to support the university.

Q. Can we turn the poster event into a research colloquium?

A. – C. The reason we brought in lectures was to make it more like a conference event and to provide students with more experience the opportunity to present. We like new ideas and have discussed making it into a two day event.

Q. We don’t get given any feedback about our posters?

A. – C. We do give out the marking criteria but we did discuss this last year.

A. – I. I like the idea of a bigger event. We would be happy if a couple of people would be willing to work with IRO to improve the situation (if anyone fancies doing this e-mail me).

Q. Who is responsible for our intellectual property?

A. – C. The university at present holds 6 patents – this can be seen on the website Euronet. Your Director of Studies identifies if anything is patentable and if it is begins the patent application process. The student can ask for their intellectual property back if the university is not using it.

Q. Could we do a pod cast of the poster session? Can we use them outside the university?

A. – C. Some of the posters have been placed in the Glasgow Science Centre. You can use them elsewhere as long as you don’t include a date stamp.

Q. As research students can we attend undergraduate modules?

A. – C. If the module is related to your studies, you can attend them for free. You can also attend staff training sessions unless they have specific restrictions.

A. – I. Research training comes out of the IRO budget.

Q. Do we get the UCAS points for modules?

A. – I. You can sit the exams and it will appear on a transcript if you are enrolled within the university or Bell College. Modules can take up your time, you need to make sure that it follows your progression.

Q. Some directors of studies have mentioned that PdP’s (personal development plans) are mandatory – is this true?

A. – I. I will take this online and follow it up.

Q. Can IRO help with professional certifications?

A. – I. Not unless they are required for you PhD. Some are provided within the university – if they occur as part of taught modules, then they are free. The commercial courses offered for external payments are not free. There is a tax implementation relating to professional bodies for the university.

Q. I can get two courses from the university – these are for Java and Oracle – do i have to pay for these?

A. – I. The IT academy offers certification through both commercial courses and internal modules. If you undertake a module as a student – you have to go through IRO to register. If it supports your studies and you Director of Studies signs off on it, the course will be free.

Q. How can you get the schools to co-operate more on research student issues?

A. – I. Transparencies are needed between schools. Any pay variations on teaching/demonstrating duties in a HR discrepancy. We would like all students to be treated equitably. We would prefer the schools to pay for student posters and we are happy to work with groups of students.

Towards the end of the session Ian stated that he thought he would have been questioned on the following issues:

· Staff/student liaison – we need to do something with that.

· Allocation of teaching duties – we are working on it.

· Conference attendance scheme – available through IRO.

· Office Space – on our radar. We don’t like the phrase hotdesking or its implementation. Proposals for provision are in the process of development.

· The student assistance fund exists for those on the £6000 stipend and in hardship.

I leave you with one of Ian’s final comments;

I – We are working on your behalf.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

RSS Meeting and Q+A with Ian Bishop

These meetings occured on the 24th and 25th Jan 2011 - the minutes and transcripts of these will be posted shortly !!

RSS Xmas Party 2010

Hi all,

The Christmas party this year was a casino themed murder mystery. This was very succesful with over 20 people turning up !!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

RSS Weekly Digest

RSS Quiz
We will be hosting a welcome event and ‘pub’ quiz for newly enrolled research students on Friday the 1st October at 17:30 in the RSS Common Room (and the Cafe outside there). IRO have kindly agreed to supply us with a glass of wine or two each, as well as juice for all you non-drinkers out there. You are also invited to bring you own drinks if more than a couple of glasses of wine is what you require on a Friday afternoon! If you wish to attend, please email by this Friday the 24th September, if you haven’t already, to help us arrange the quiz teams and drinks.

Welcome Event
There will be a second welcome party event, held in the Union on the 8th October, to which you are all invited to mingle with new students, staff and IRO alike. Again, please email Charlie if you intend to attend.

The election will begin by email a week today and be open for one week – keep your eye out for next week’s newsletter as it will contain a link to the webpage where you can vote. There will be only one vote allocated for each email address on the mailing list so without that email you won’t be able to vote!

Mailing List
If anyone knows of any research student who is not on this mailing list, please let me know. If that research student would like to exercise their vote next week but not be a permanent member of the mailing list, this can be arranged – please let me know.

New Student Guide
Hard copies of the new student guide are in the RSS Common Room for anyone who wants one.

Faculty Representatives
Could those students who have been nominated/elected as student Faculty representatives please email me to let me know who you are.