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Research Environment

  • Introduction

    The University seeks to undertake research of the highest international standing that addresses societal and planetary challenges and changes the world for the better.  To achieve this, Queen’s will nurture a vibrant research culture, seeded by research-led education and built upon curiosity, discovery, innovation and enterprise.

    Researchers at Queen's help tackle the global challenges of our age, changing people’s lives for the better.

    We are a world-class international university built on teaching excellence, leading-edge research, innovation, collaboration and engagement.

    Queen’s has a proud history of conducting innovative, impactful and world-leading research that has positively changed people’s lives. Our ambition for 2030 is to further enhance our impact by strengthening our research position and working with industry to broaden our translational impact and innovation, ensuring we deliver high-quality, world-leading research, which addresses local and global challenges.

    Full details on the research and innovation system at Queen’s can be found here: Research | Queen's University Belfast (


  • University Research Strategy

    Queen’s has three pillars which form the framework for the University’s Research Strategy: ‘People’, ‘Research Quality’ and ‘Partnership and Place’.

    The Research and Enterprise Directorate helps secure the University’s vision for excellence and impact in its research and enterprise activities via:

    1. Identifying opportunities and research grant application development.
    2. Fostering engagement with industry and industry-facing funding initiatives.
    3. Translating inventions and innovations into wider commercial and societal impact.
    4. Developing a culture of research impact and support engagement with research users.
    5. Protecting the interests of researchers and participants.
    6. Dedicated and expert legal, contracting and intellectual property support.
    7. Post-award project management support for major research grants.
    8. Managing research information systems and research data analysis.

    Beyond the Research and Enterprise Directorate, expert support for researchers is embedded across the University’s professional services, including support for costing and pricing, systems development, open science, and learning and development. 


  • The Graduate School

    The Graduate School offers a world-class intellectual and social hub that connects students from all disciplines to one another, and to mentors, leaders, and employers within the University and beyond. The Graduate School is about intellectual challenge beyond disciplinary borders, personal effectiveness and skills development, and promotes a culture of opportunity, innovation and enterprise, and a rich, diverse, inclusive social community. This includes support for postgraduate students to make contributions to research culture, providing opportunities for students to network beyond their disciplinary boundaries, and celebrating achievements of postgraduate students. The Graduate School provides an extensive programme of training and events which align to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework, offering students access to workshops and programmes which assist them with their research.


  • School Information

    Schools provide prospective research students with specific information on the School’s research activities and what students can expect upon enrolment for a research degree.  Each School website highlights the key research achievements of the School in terms of awards, status and publications.  Schools also highlight evidence of their ability to attract external funding and what opportunities exist both internally and externally for the development of academic collaborations and knowledge transfer partnerships.

    In order to illustrate that a School has a suitable research environment for the recruitment of postgraduate research students, it is required to:

    1. Demonstrate research excellence, as evidenced through the Research Excellence Framework.
    2. Have an appropriate pool of research active staff capable of fulfilling the role of supervisor.
    3. Provide appropriate facilities and support (as detailed in the Resources and Training subsection below).

    Schools also facilitate effective research by providing access and opportunities to interact with academic staff, postdoctoral researchers, and other research students, for example, through research cluster activities, seminars, and peer support networks.

  • Resources and Training

    Queen’s aims to provide an enriching research environment and enable students to access appropriate resources to develop their potential within one of the UK’s leading research intensive universities.

    Upon enrolment on a RDP, students have access to an induction programme covering key elements of being a research student, offered by the Graduate School, as well as a discipline-specific induction from their School.  To accommodate the on-going enrolment of postgraduate research students across the academic year, induction sessions are offered on a regular basis by the Graduate School.  The Graduate School also provides access to online resources to guide students through the critical periods and milestones of their research.

    Regularly updated student handbooks provide students with an overview of University regulations, policies and procedures, and links to support services such as counselling and disability.

    Schools provide research students with appropriate facilities, normally including a desk in a shared room (for full-time students), access to computing facilities suitable for their research, use of a telephone for research purposes, library access, and laboratory space (as applicable).

    The Graduate School supports postgraduate students to be thinkers, communicators, innovators and leaders who are future-ready.  Research students can access a range of programmes, training courses and discussion opportunities to develop personally and professionally.  The Postgraduate Development Programme (PGDP) offers academic skills support, personal development and careers development opportunities for research students at the University.  The Graduate School provides career guidance for research students, and offers opportunities for networking, working with research stakeholders and meeting potential employers.  The Graduate School also provides consultation relating to students interested in enterprise, and supports postgraduate students to lead projects to enhance research culture and the postgraduate student experience.

  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

    The University Intellectual Property (IP) Policy sets out the rights of students and staff relating to IP created as a result of their work in, or for, the University.  Research students who are funded; use significant University resources; use University background IP; or collaborate with University staff, to create new IP, should ensure that they liaise with the Commercial Development team in the Research and Enterprise Directorate before they exploit or otherwise deal in any way with IP arising from their work.

  • Research Integrity

    The University provides students with training to ensure they conduct their research honestly, as open as possible – closed as necessary, with rigour, care and respect and are accountable for their activities. Good Research Practice training is mandatory for all postgraduate students, provided via an online training platform, where relevant additional training is provided on research ethics, informed consent, the use of animals in research and/or human tissue compliance. Students are also informed around the principles of Trusted Research, especially when working in STEM disciplines. As plagiarism can be a clear breach of research integrity, training is provided to ensure students understand how to avoid possible allegations. They are also informed of the consequences of this or any other form of research misconduct.  To help students make an informed choice as to how they cite their evidence, the Graduate School and Library provide a wide range of face-to-face and online citation training.  In addition to this, the Centre for Educational Development supports Schools by providing PGR students with guidance in the use of similarity checking software packages such as Turnitin.  Schools whose students submit to Turnitin through Canvas are supported through the Canvas support team.

    Any allegation of plagiarism or duplication in unpublished work which is submitted by a postgraduate research student for assessment (via Annual Progress Review or oral examination) or any alleged academic offence occurring as part of a Taught module, will be dealt with under the Procedures for Dealing with Academic Offences.

    Any other allegation of misconduct in research by a postgraduate research student will be dealt with under the Regulations Governing the Allegation and Investigation of Misconduct in Research.

    Students can seek advice and guidance in relation to these Procedures and Regulations from SU Advice, and the Students' Union.

  • Collaborative Agreements

    To ensure the academic standards of the University are adhered to in the delivery and completion of awards which may be offered in partnership with another institution, the University has a protocol for the establishment and governance of collaborative arrangements.  Key outcomes of this protocol involve the signature of an appropriate Collaborative Agreement or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by Queen’s with a partner institution(s) and formal recognition of individual partner staff involved in programme delivery. In relation to PhD study, MOAs are required to support formal arrangements of joint supervision and/or the delivery of joint/dual PhD awards. Coming under the broad heading of collaborative research degree programmes, such arrangements can be made for individual students or cohorts of students and/or form part of a doctoral training programme. Partner staff acting as co- or joint supervisors are also required to apply for Recognised Supervisor status on a per-student basis.

    To establish a MOA for a collaborative research degree programme, Schools should, in the first instance, inform Academic Affairs and, for agreements with universities outside the UK, Global Student Recruitment.  The relevant Faculty Office (including the appropriate Dean(s)) should also be consulted and appropriate support secured for the development of a particular arrangement and any associated financial or funding implications. Relevant approval procedures are outlined within the University’s Educational Partnerships Framework, including application for Recognised Supervisor status.

    Regulations relating to the fee and required enrolment status of collaborative research students are contained in the Student Finance Framework, 3.2.5 Collaborative Research Students.  The Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes, regulation 3 outlines further regulations applicable to collaborative research students. 

    It should be noted that sufficient time (up to one year) should be allowed for the development and approval of any new collaborative arrangement and the negotiation of the supporting MOA.  Agreements must normally be signed prior to the admission of students.

Code of Practice for RDPs
Main RDP Page
Resource Library
RDP Resources