We know that this is a very difficult time for all of our doctoral students, and that for some of you it may be extremely stressful, isolating and lonely. On our Wellbeing during isolation page you can find details of support from Student Services and the SU Advice & Support Centre, who can provide professional advice and information on managing your mental health during the lockdown period.

Some of you may have existing support networks among family, friends and colleagues, providing you with practical and emotional help in adjusting to remote working and no longer seeing others in your office. Recognising that some of you may not have this additional network, or that you might want to talk to other doctoral students, the Doctoral College has introduced a new Doctoral Peer Support scheme.

The scheme builds on our successful Student Mentoring scheme (for new students) and is now available to all doctoral students at any stage of their studies. As a fellow doctoral student, a Doctoral Peer Supporter will understand the particular issues and pressures of working on doctoral studies during this challenging time, and will be able to provide practical advice related to your studies and regular one-to-one contact to support your wellbeing.

How the Doctoral Peer Support scheme will work

The scheme is intended to run for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown, but you can end your mentoring at any time. Your Doctoral Peer Supporter will provide a minimum of 30 minutes per week of one-to-one mentoring support. The types of things that you may like to discuss with your Doctoral Peer Supporter are open. You may just want to have a chat, or you may want to discuss an aspect of your doctoral studies with them. The role of the Doctoral Peer Supporter is to listen and make sure that nobody feels alone.

You will be matched with a Doctoral Peer Supporter by the Doctoral College on a one-to-one basis. If you feel that the relationship between yourself and the Doctoral Peer Supporter isn’t quite right then you are welcome to confidentially request a new Doctoral Peer Supporter. All meetings will take place on Microsoft Teams. If this would not be possible for you, we can find alternative arrangements.

How to access support

If you are interested in accessing support, please complete an application form and you will be matched with a Doctoral Peer Supporter by the Doctoral College. Your Doctoral Peer Supporter will get in contact with you to arrange your initial meeting.