Cambridge SU Annual Wins: Postgraduate Wins

This year was only the first year postgraduates and undergraduates have been represented by a combined union, Cambridge SU, but we’ve already managed to achieve some amazing wins.

This year was only the first year postgraduates and undergraduates have been represented by a combined union, Cambridge SU, but we’ve already managed to achieve some amazing wins.

A key issue affecting postgraduates is insufficient funding, exacerbated by the pandemic. After Student Council voted to address this issue, we launched a postgraduate funding survey that received almost 600 responses. We used this data to secure £1 million extension funding for self-funded doctoral students, as well as a long-term uplift to annual postgraduate hardship funds in light of the need expressed by students within the survey.

We’ve worked hard to improve access to postgraduate study at Cambridge. We successfully lobbied the University to waive the £70 fee for applicants from countries that don’t permit foreign currency transfer, such as Iran. We also negotiated for the University to establish a Postgraduate Widening Participation Student Advisory Group, ensuring that the University’s postgraduate access strategy is guided by student input.

Improving postgraduates’ experience at Cambridge has been central to our work. In Michaelmas, we secured funding from the University to research students’ and supervisors’ experiences of doctoral supervision, with the aim of producing policy recommendations to holistically reshape Cambridge’s doctoral education for the better. As a first step, we successfully lobbied for mandatory training for new PhD supervisors. Our final report is almost ready, and we’re excited to see how our recommendations will be implemented across the next academic year. 

Through our #DemandSafeCambridge campaign, we also supported postgraduates’ ability to live, study, and work safely by securing asymptomatic testing for students living outside College accommodation by Lent term, and a more flexible leave to work away policy for postgraduate research students.

It’s been an honour to fight for postgraduate students’ interests this year, and we can’t wait to hand over to a new team of dedicated officers!