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The Independent Advisor Service for Postgraduate Research Students

Find out more about the independent advice service that is available for doctoral students to access throughout their studies.

What is the Independent Advisor Service for Postgraduate Research Students

Find out when you may need to access the independent advice service.

We are a team of academics from around the university who are available to help and support you in challenges that cannot be resolved at a department or school level.

These may be, but are not limited to:

  • Challenges or conflict with supervisor(s)
  • Challenges or conflict with research team or other colleagues
  • Failure at confirmation of final examination (Viva)
  • All forms of harassment and bullying
  • Registration and suspension issues
  • Appeals and complaints
  • Financial and immigration issues
  • Navigation through the university’s processes

We are also available for supervisors to discuss challenges they may be facing in their work with PGR students.

Who we are

We are a team of academics spread across different departments of the university. Find out who the current independent advisors are.

Emma Denham

Emma Denham – Life Sciences, email:

Abbie Jordan

Abbie Jordan - Psychology, email:

Aurelien Mondon

Aurelien Mondon – Politics, Languages and International Studies, email:

David Tosh

David Tosh - Life Sciences, email:

What happens when you contact the Independent Advisor?

Find out about the process when you contact the independent advice service.

You can contact us directly using the email addresses listed above. Students are often directed to our service through student support, wellbeing or by directors of studies.

You will be allocated to a member of the team that is not in your department. At a convenient time to both, you will meet where you can explain what has happened and how you would like help in moving forward with your studies. We may take notes of our meeting and if we do, we will send you a copy of what we have discussed.

Depending on the challenges you are facing, one meeting may be sufficient to help with resolution, but we can also support students over many weeks or months. Many issues are relatively straightforward to solve, but that does not mean the impact on you isn’t considerable.

We will help signpost you to the relevant people around the university and we often help in putting you in contact with other people that can also help.

We can support you in meetings with supervisors, director of studies, heads of department, the doctoral college and student services. With your permission, we can speak on your behalf. If you find yourself in a position where the issues have potentially involved a breach of university policy or process, we can help support you through the informal or a formal complaints process, or the appeals process. During this process we can help write your complaint, attend investigatory meetings and help clarify the university’s communications with you.


Find out more about the confidentiality of the service.

Anything you discuss with us, is treated by us as strictly confidential. We will only share the information you tell us with your permission or as required by law. This means that normally it is only seen by us.

However, there may be some limited circumstances where despite the fact that we treat the information you provide as confidential, we have to share it with others. This includes student safety which has to take priority over confidentiality where appropriate, so if we think that your health, safety or wellbeing (or that of a third party) is genuinely at risk, we may need to share information with others for safeguarding purposes. Similarly, we may need to provide information that we hold as required by law, this includes situations where a third party submits a ‘subject access request’ to access information about them, that is held by the University. In any such case, we will only share information provided by you, with the University’s lawyers (who will determine whether or not it is disclosable by law).

Contact us

If you want to access support please contact one of the independent advisors listed on this webpage.