The Sir Bob Burgess Memorial Lecture 2023

The Sir Bob Burgess Memorial Lecture, held annually in memory of UKCGE’s Founding Chair, took place at London’s British Academy on November 9th 2023. 

Guests met at for a drinks reception, followed by a few words of welcome from Dr Molly Morgan Jones, Director of Policy at the British Academy. Professor Rosemary Deem OBE (Emérita Professor of Higher Education Management at Royal Holloway, University of London) chaired the session, and began by speaking about Sir Bob Burgess, who worked in the field of sociology and held the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester until his retirement in 2014. 

Professor Barbara Dooley, Deputy President of University College Dublin, then opened her presentation on The Postgraduate Research Landscape in Europe. Her lecture considered, at a high level, what trends are emerging and where the drivers are behind those trends, while referencing key stakeholders such as the European University Association (EUA).

Professor Dooley (who is a member of the EUA’s Council for Doctoral Education) reflected that the recent pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of digitalisation. Furthermore, she observed, subjects high on the European agenda include open science, ethics and integrity, the reform of academic careers, the promotion of interdisciplinarity and the strengthening of civic engagement. Drivers include funding and financial pressures, global competition, the skills agenda, policy and regulation, industry collaboration, and mobility and exchange programmes.

Her presentation demonstrated that, as Europe continues to invest in research and innovation, these trends and drivers are likely to persist and evolve, shaping both the future of postgraduate research in the UK and the global landscape of higher education. During her talk, Professor Dooley also shared interesting data on what topics around doctoral education institutions considered a priority, with the quality of supervision and research ethics and integrity both being highly ranked.

Prior to the lecture, the Doctoral Deans and Directors’ Network met for a lively discussion of The New Deal for Postgraduate Research, chaired by Dr Nigel Eady, Director of Research Talent at King’s College London.

The Doctoral Deans and Directors’ Network at the British Academy, London, 2023.