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Guidance on contracts for Collaborative PhD programmes, Joint PhD programmes and Doctoral Training Consortium applications.

Collaborative Arrangements

A contract, signed by all parties, should be submitted through the Doctoral College Board for consideration.  Such a contract should cover the following points:

  • rationale for the collaboration (vetting of the partner institution, which should be a recognised institution and have a strong research base)
  • project description
  • funding (business plan including costing, fees and other income associated with the proposed project)
  • ownership of IP
  • publications (expected research output including authorship of publications)
  • details of student placement (dates of attendance at each institution and access to resources and facilities.  For International Students, UKVI legislation in relation to visa including attendance monitoring arrangements should be considered)
  • student recruitment (details of the marketing and recruitment procedures. Shared marketing may be undertaken).
  • Supervision (CVs and supporting statements from proposed external supervisors)
  • requirement for research student training
  • ethical approval procedures and responsibilities
  • interim assessments (processes)
  • insurance
  • student discipline and complaints (while student complaints or disciplinary matters should be considered by one institution’s code and procedures, the other institution should be consulted prior to any decisions about penalties being undertaken)

Joint Degrees

For a joint award, in addition to the areas noted above, the contract would need to include a set of regulations which are agreed by all parties including in particular:

  • registration (students should be registered at both institutions, to ensure appropriate access to facilities.  The two institutions should liaise with regards to HESA returns, if appropriate.  For International Students, consideration should be given to the primary Sponsor and attendance monitoring for visa purposes).
  • detail of language
  • programme duration
  • mode of attendance
  • place of attendance
  • thesis format
  • thesis defence (nature and composition of Board of Examiners)
  • examination (how and who appoints examiners, who approves the award of the degree etc. )
  • appeals process
  • graduation/awards (who confers the degree, special joint degree parchment?)

It should be noted that the Terms and Conditions of Award for DfE funded students and those funded through GB Research Council’s and some Charities do not permit students funded through these sources to undertake a joint degree programme.

Where the partner institution in a joint agreement is another UK HEI, the return made to HESA relating to the University’s annual funding will be adjusted to reflect the proportion of the student’s engagement with the programme at Ulster. This reduction in per capita income should be reflected in Business Plans.

Doctoral Training Consortium applications and agreements

Guidance on applications (and agreements) for Doctoral Training Partnerships, Centres for Doctoral Training and similar collaborative PhD training consortia involving other universities can be obtained from the Doctoral College.  If you have any queries please contact the relevant Head of Doctoral College to discuss.