Using Enhancing Research Culture Funding 2024, the Doctoral College set up a new residential programme for 20 doctoral researchers who are approaching the final stages of their doctorates.

The residential took place at Cricklade Hotel and Spa between Sunday 7th July 2024 - Tuesday 9th July 2024. The purpose of the programme was to provide researchers approaching the end of their studies with tailored support and protected time to work on their thesis.

A number of activities and workshops took place throughout the residential programme. At the beginning of the programme, researchers used LEGO(R) to explore their emotional connection to a piece of work which led into a discussion around the concept of a 'perfect thesis'. One day was completely dedicated to writing. Throughout the day researchers were facilitated through a number of writing workshops to give them the time and space to focus on parts of the thesis. The programme concluded with a group coaching exercise providing space for researchers to reflect on a current challenge and ways to overcome this, as well as thinking about self-care whilst finishing their doctorates. In addition, researchers were paired with a buddy to provide peer-to-peer support throughout the programme and to further foster building new connections.

Overall the programme was a huge success and is part of a broader piece of work looking at how we can better support our doctoral researchers as they approach the final stages of their doctorates. Over the coming few months we are reviewing our provision in this space and hope to come back with future projects to further enhance what we already do.

If you are an existing doctoral student who is moving towards their final stages of your doctorate then you may be interested in the following resources and support.