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Collaborative Research Degrees

A Collaborative Research Degree Programme (CRDP) is a formal arrangement of joint supervision, at PhD level, by a Queen’s academic and a member of staff from another partner organisation, when the student will spend time working away from the University at the external location. Such arrangements can lead to the conferral of a single, dual or joint award and will typically extend to the full duration of an individual programme of study.  CRDPs may also be referred to as split-site PhDs or co-tutelle.

These procedures do not apply to students registered at Queen’s and who may be attending another institution as a visiting researcher or on placement, or to students who have been granted approval for enrolment as an External Student.  Normal requirements, as set out in the University’s Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes, will apply. 

The provision of joint supervision may also represent part of a wider institutional partnership or funding arrangement with an external company/institution normally negotiated through the Research and Enterprise Directorate.  Schools should ensure that regardless of the wider context, Academic Affairs is made aware of such arrangements to ensure they are implemented and recorded appropriately.

An institutional level Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and/or student-based, co-tutelle agreement, setting out agreed parameters for delivery is required prior to the commencement of any new arrangement in which the University is involved.  The authorised signatory for an institutional MOA is the Vice-Chancellor or an Institutional Pro-Vice-Chancellor.  Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellors may authorise individual co-tutelles.

The approval of a proposed new CRDP will follow one of two main routes depending on the nature of the arrangement, i.e. to support an ad hoc arrangement of joint supervision for an individual student or to support a cohort of students receiving joint supervision with a named partner (s) or a student (s) undertaking a joint or dual PhD programme - Academic Affairs should be contacted for advice.

Proposals involving the joint supervision of an individual student enrolled on a Queen’s PhD Programme, where the student will receive a single award on completion, may be considered and agreed at School/Faculty level in accordance with internal Faculty governance procedures.

Requests should be considered by the relevant School Postgraduate Research Committee, in the first instance, and assurances secured that appropriate arrangements for support, supervision and training are put in place. The proposed joint (external) supervisor should also be assessed against normal University requirements for that position and consultation undertaken with the Faculty Finance Officer to agree fee arrangements. Consultation with other Professional Support Services should be undertaken as appropriate, for example, to ensure ongoing registration (Student Services and Systems) and visa monitoring (International Student Support Office).

Requests should be endorsed at Faculty level allowing an agreed University template for co-tutelle arrangements to be signed by the Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Where the partner provides a template for signature, this should be reviewed by the Contracts Office or the Head of Legal Services and Employee Relations and any amendments agreed in advance.

Faculty must inform the Secretary of ECQS when the co-tutelle has been approved, so that procedures for Recognised Supervisor status can then be implemented in relation to the proposed joint supervisor. Approval will be recorded by Academic Affairs.

Schools are responsible for ensuring implementation of individual co-tutelle arrangements through the application of normal University processes (including ongoing registration at Queen’s), and for ensuring that joint supervisors are suitably briefed on University requirements in advance of commencing their duties.

All proposals for a CRDP involving the joint supervision of more than one student and/or the delivery of a joint or dual PhD award for one or more students, with an external partner, requires the approval of a formal institutional MOA.  As such, a staged approval process is required.

Should the arrangement involve the delivery of taught credit as part of an integrated four year PhD programme (e.g. an MRes) or the validation of research provision by an external partner without degree awarding powers, then formal validation procedures must be applied, albeit with final approval being considered by ECQS. Similarly, arrangements involving the formal supervision of PhD students from Queen’s at a non-degree awarding institution will be subject to validation.