Equipping doctoral research students at King's College London to excel

Month: August 2018

Represent your PGR Peers & Colleagues – Become a KDSA Representative

The King’s Doctoral Students’ Association (KDSA) is the recognised representative body of the Postgraduate Research Student community. It is an autonomous body within the KCLSU representative structure. All doctoral students at King’s are automatically members of the KDSA.

The KDSA seeks to make a difference to you and your peers’ education experience, drive change, and bring the postgraduate research student community together.

With a new website that will be ready to launch by end of the month, King’s Doctoral Students Association (KDSA) is recruiting Faculty Leads who will sit on the board of KDSA. The leads will be responsible for and in charge of student welfare for their respective Faculties and will closely work with Departmental Reps.

Roughly, the duties entail:

– Attending monthly KDSA meetings to discuss and approve motions proposed by yourselves/members

– Coordinate with Departmental Reps as the need arises

– Meet Faculty Vice Deans/staff from Centre for Doctoral Studies if need arises

– Attend quarterly PaRC or an equivalent meeting at Faculty level

– Feedback to KDSA Chair/board members on the progress of your work/project on a monthly basis

KDSA is also recruiting two GTA Reps, two Events Coordinators and a Social Media Officer.

The Event Coordinators would plan and implement various events/socials that it will be hosting while the Social Media person would manage the accounts.

These vacancies represent a  fantastic opportunity to gain leadership, decision-making, and communication skills. Beyond that, joining the KDSA board offers you to shape KDSA operations and drive changes in the PGR student experience, and thus allow you to support your peers and colleagues.

You do not need to have prior experience to suit a particular role perfectly as training would be provided but a strong commitment is required from the very beginning.

If you are interested in any of the above positions, please email kdsa@kclsu.org with a brief paragraph (max 200 words) explaining your suitability to, and motivation for the role by end of day on Friday 7th September 2018. 



We need you – to help develop wellbeing resources for PhD students!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that doing a PhD will enrich your life, improve your career, and make you a better, happier person.

Isn’t it?

Certainly, there are few other pursuits that will allow you to dedicate yourself so single-mindedly to a research project, academic question, or experimental project in a field of your choosing. And while many PhD graduates do not go on to become full professors or lecturers in their specialism, the PhD develops to a high degree many of the skills and competencies most valued by employers.

But it is becoming increasingly clear that for many of of the students that do go on to study for a PhD that an improvement in one’s general mental wellbeing is far from guaranteed. As a recent article in the Guardian put it, mental health issues among postgraduate research students are becoming so common that they are now an accepted feature of  academic life. Studies from UC Berkeley and the University of Ghent back up this article with statistics, suggesting high levels of depression, anxiety, and mental distress among PhD students.

We believe PhD students should not have to sacrifice their wellbeing in order to reap the significant intellectual and professional benefits of their doctorate. This is why King’s College London is working in collaboration with the University of Derby and the UK student mental health charity, Student Minds, are working on a major project to develop effective resources that can improve the wellbeing of postgraduate research students.

In order to make this project work, we need you, current PGR students – from as diverse a range of backgrounds possible – to join a student panel at KCL.

Participants on this panel will be asked about:

  • Their experience as a PGR student
  • How research has changed their relationships
  • And how the academic process has affected their work/life balance

Throughout, participants will be asked to reflect on both achievements and challenges in their experience of life as a PGR student.

If you are interested in taking part in this project and sitting on the PGR panel, you can fill out an application form here. This page will also provide you with full details, dates, and other information on the project.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Nicola Byrom