University of Liverpool PGR Development Network (PGRDevNet) - Terms of Reference

The PGRDevNet is currently on hiatus.

This page was updated: December 2023
Date of previous review: December 2022
Next review due: December 2024

The PGRDevNet is currently on hiatus.

For information about the monthly PGR Coffee and Connect meetings, additional PGR community-related events and all PGR Development opportunities led by the Academy, please keep an eye on the PGR Development Canvas site announcements. Please note that you require a University of Liverpool MWS account to access the Canvas space. All PGRS are automatically enrolled on registration or you can self-enrol using this link.  

For any queries, please contact

 The University of Liverpool PGR Development Network (UoL PGRDevNet) is supported and managed by The Leadership, Organisational, Staff and Academic Development Academy (The Academy). UoL PGRDevNet is a postgraduate researcher community-owned and led initiative. Upon registration of their doctoral studies, all PGRs automatically become members of the PGRDevNet.

Purpose of the Network

  • Provide a cross-university platform for communication, networking and professional development opportunities for postgraduate researchers both within the schools, institutes and across Faculties and the wider University community.
  • Facilitate a borderless community of postgraduate researchers to make the most of their time at the University of Liverpool.
  • Represent postgraduate researchers from all Faculties, Schools and Institutes on personal and professional development matters affecting postgraduate researchers. 

PGRDevNet Network Leadership Group (NLG) representation

The Academy will manage the appointment of postgraduate researchers to the Network Leadership Group (NLG) which will oversee the activities of the PGR Development Network. The NLG will be managed and provided administrative support by the Academy. The NLG will consist of at least 3 co-leads and 4 deputy co-leads so that responsibilities can be shared. All postgraduate researchers who are registered at Liverpool are welcomed to take on roles in the NLG. This is particularly crucial to ensure the sustainability of the PGRDevNet and to ensure that the PGRDevNet lends its voice in the development needs that impact the PGR experience at Liverpool. The Academy will maintain the NLG to ensure inclusivity and representation across the University’s diverse PGR community. This includes (but are not limited to):

  • Postgraduate researchers who are fully funded by either the University of Liverpool, an external UK funder or an international funder.
  • Postgraduate researchers who are only partially funded (i.e. fees but not stipends)
  • Postgraduate researchers who are self-funded
  • International postgraduate researchers
  • Postgraduate researchers at different stages of the PGR lifecycle (i.e. beginning, middle and end of their doctoral research projects)
  • Postgrduate researchers undertaking studies part-time and full-time
  • Postgraduate researchers who come from under-represented and marginalised groups
  • Postgraduate researchers who are doing professional doctorates
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs)

Benefits of being a representative on the NLG

You’ll receive dedicated Career Coaching by a specialist coach who will enable you to articulate the broad range of skills, qualities and attributes (some of which you may not be aware of!) or which might be unique to your own strengths, personality, motivations and values. The two group coaching sessions will allow you to critically reflect on the skills and strengths you are using in your role on the NLG, and developing, as a representative, introducing a range of approaches to help you build reflection into your ongoing professional development. You will be supported to look at how you can clearly articulate what you have gained or learned from your experience, helping you to strategically focus and plan future professional and career development activities, as well as confidently approach annual reviews, job or promotions applications, with evidence of your skills and learning. You’ll receive a certificate of engagement for your contributions to the NLG from internationally-recognised Leadership, Organisational, Professional & Academic Development Academy (The Academy).

Additionally, you’ll benefit from:

  • A position of responsibility across the whole University
  • An opportunity to feed into policy and practice at a whole-institutional level
  • Become known to the Head of your Department and the University’s Senior Leadership team
  • Opportunities to meet and network with new people from across the University
  • A chance to influence University-wide initiatives
  • The option to co-create, design, lead and organise events and initiatives
  • Membership of committees
  • Enhance your communication and project management skills.
  • Development of transferrable and ‘soft skills’ to enhance your post-doctoral employability.
  • Looks great on your CV!

NLG roles and responsibilities

Below is a list of the different roles within the NLG and what they entail. It is recognised that roles will change as the PGRDevNet develops. All roles are designed to be undertaken with the support of fellow NLG members, and the Academy representatives. Peer training (and more formal development) and support will be provided where requested and possible.

Co-Leads(at least one from each Faculty; holding this position for at least 1 year then help as out-going co-lead for a period of 1-2 months)

  • Collaborate with other co-Leads to ensure all responsibilities including representation on University Committees are covered as required, and ensuring two-way communication of activities and priorities
  • Attend and organise regular PGRDevNet meetings, conferences and social events with administrative and logistical support from the Academy
  • Write up a PGRDevNet annual report of activities
  • Have direct responsibility to liaise with The Academy
  • Represent the PGRDevNet on the Concordat Steering Group
  • Facilitating connections and collaborative activities with PGR Networks at other institutions.
  • Meet with the Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for the Research Environment and Postgraduate Research 
  • Act as Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) champions
  • Support wider PGRDevNet activities 
  • Assume the role of lead buddy in small buddy groups that foster opportunities to connect across network(s)
  • Opportunity to mentor incoming co-lead in a leadership position

Deputy co-Leads (at least one from each Faculty; holding this position for at least 1 year then help as out-going deputy co-lead for a period of 1-2 months)

  • Attend regular PGRDevNet core team meetings (usually once every 3 weeks) 
  • Take minutes and help organise meetings, including calendar reminders for activities
  • Day-to-day management of the PGRDevNet email account
  • Have direct responsibility to liaise with The Academy
  • Collate weekly PGRDevNet email bulletin to promote development opportunities, resources and upcoming events
  • Manage comms, including the PGRDevNet Twitter account to be monitored and used to engage with researchers and promote events/resources
  • Potential to becoming co-Lead of the PGRDevNet
  • Participate in the organisation and promotion of PGRDevNet events
  • Act as Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) champions
  • Support wider PGRDevNet activities, such as contributing to the co-leads' PGRDevNet annual report of activities
  • Assume the role of lead buddy in small buddy groups that foster opportunities to connect across network(s) 

Find out who the current members of the NLG are.

Frequency of NLG meetings

  • The co-leads and deputy co-leads meet every 3 weeks along with a member(s) of the Academy Researcher Development team
  • Lunch and Learn sessions, virtual coffees and other PGR Development activities led by the Network Leadership Group will take place with wider Network members every 6-8 weeks and will be open to all postgraduate researchers who are registered at Liverpool.

Development opportunities and expected time commitments to deliver duties as a board member of the NLG

  • All roles are designed to be undertaken as part of a team, with collaborative input from across the NLG team, to reduce the burden of voluntary commitments on single individuals
  • Participation in ongoing activities and the tri-weekly meetings between the NLG and the Academy result in an estimated commitment to development of up to 1-2 days a month

Wider PGRDevNet members (i.e NLG plus all postgraduate researchers) across each school/institute

  • Attend regular PGRDevNet sessions (i.e., lunch and learns, informal coffee meetings, etc)
  • Function as the point of contact for postgraduate researchers within Schools/Institutes regarding PGR development requirements and sharing of effective practice, and to bring these to the NLG’s attention
  • Actively report back/communicate with their school/institutes about opportunities and outcomes of the PGRDevNet activities (which will be shared via regular e-bulletins)
  • Actively participate in the organisation and promotion of PGRDevNet events.
  • Act as Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) champions

The PGRDevNet welcomes role sharing and those that want to help organise an PGRDevNet event, as well as postgraduate researchers who can only provide support for a limited time. If you are interested in discussing or taking on one of these roles or a more specialised role, such as social media management, please contact the co-leads of the PGRDevNet at 


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