Posts By / tzhang

Graduate School – Exciting Developments!

Hello Everybody!

There have been some exciting developments in the Graduate School and I am writing to you with an update on our activities.

Master by Research

The Graduate School has led the development of a new research degree – Masters by Research (MRes).  This is a 1 year research degree programme (governed by Research Degree Regulations, Policies and Procedures and the Code of Practice for Research Degrees) and involves candidates undertaking a research project at a Master’s level of study which will be assessed via submission of a thesis and a viva voce, in line with all BU research awards.

It is anticipated candidates on an MRes will undertake the 1st Review at 3 months full-time study (6 months part-time) to ensure satisfactory progress is being made and would submit their final thesis after approximately 10 months (full-time) with a view to completing within 12 months (full-time).

If the student makes good progress in the first 12 months and a potential PhD programme is identified, instead of submitting a thesis for the award of MRes, the student can apply for transfer to a doctoral degree programme.  In these cases, standard procedures and processes for transfer to a doctoral programme will be followed as set out in the Code of Practice for Research Degrees.

The programme was approved by the validation panel on 16 May 2013 and the marketing of the programme has commenced.  Recruitment for the programme will start immediately with a view to the first cohort of candidates starting in September 2013.

 Professional Doctorate (Research Practice)

The Graduate School are also leading the development of a new Professional Doctorate in Research Practice. The proposed DProf (Research Practice) is a generic award for any subject discipline.

The programme requires candidates to undertake research skills training, to design and initiate research at the forefront of discipline knowledge and contribute to both theory and practice, relevant to subject specific original research and research practice in higher education and other institutions. This programme is also designed  with strong emphasis on up-skilling staff in international partner institutions.  It will be assessed via the submission of a thesis and a viva voce, in line with all BU research awards.  In addition to completing a research skills training programme and carrying out an original research project, candidates will critically analyse and reflect research practice in relation to their own profession, which may result directly in organisational or policy change.

Following the Design Phase meeting, we are revising the Briefing and Resources documentation for validation later this year.

 Postgraduate Researcher Development Framework 

As you may already be aware, the Graduate School implemented a BU Postgraduate Professional and Personal Development (PPPD) Framework from September 2012, with key components such as Research Skills Training, Professional and Personal Development Planning and International Mobility for PGR students.

The Framework offers a range of training sessions, events (workshops, seminars, conferences, cultural events), activities (including social activities and overseas activities) at Graduate School level, School level, programme (supervisor or tutor) level and through external activities.

Certificates will be issued once sufficient engagement is demonstrated. This certificate will be a supplement to the BU degree award certificate. BU Postgraduate Professional and Personal Development Certificate holders will be highly employable early career professionals with high levels of professional and transferable skills, personal and social responsibility and global perspectives. Students are expected to carry out Training Needs Analyses with their supervisors before engaging with development activities.

To further enhance the programme, new for 2013/14, online e-learning resources will also be made available. The online Research Skills Programme will cover a wide variety of subjects ranging from IP, publishing, ethics, and project management to career planning. The programme will be made available from Sept 2013.

I will be in contact again to bring you more updates.  In the meanwhile please get in touch with the Graduate School if you have any questions on these topics

Best wishes

Prof Tiantian Zhang
Head of Graduate School


Hello everybody!

I am Tiantian Zhang, the new Head of the Graduate School,  I started on 16 Jan and have enjoyed the first two weeks at BU! Just tell you a little bit about myself – I graduated from Liaoning University with a BSc in Environmental Biology and worked as a research scientist in the areas of Environmental Science for 5 years in China before obtaining a MPhil degree in Environmental Biology at Middlesex University and a PhD degree in Cryobiology at University of Bedfordshire. I worked as a post-doc and a senior research fellow before I was made Reader in 2003 and Professor in 2005. I was the Director of LIRANS Institute of Research in the Applied Natural Sciences at University of Bedfordshire before joining BU. My work at University of Bedfordshire also involved working closely with the Research Graduate School on developing frameworks for doctoral training and Personal Development Planning programs and other cross institutional initiatives.

My research interests are in the areas of cryopreservation of gametes and reproductive cells and its applications in biomedicine, conservation and animal reproduction. The work has mainly been focused on cryopreservation of reproductive cells and embryos of aquatic species, effect of cryopreservation on genome and metabolic activities of reproductive cells and fish stem cell culture development and cryopreservation. My research also included ecotoxicology studies using fish cell lines and other biological materials. My cryobiology research was funded by funding bodies such as  the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission. The outcome of my research has led to 129 publications and 86 conference presentation. I have supervised 15 research students to completion and is currently the Director of Studies of  6 PhD students.

I have enjoyed meeting many people during my first two weeks at BU and is looking forward to meeting  as many of you as possible in the near future! I am also looking forward to working with you all in taking the Graduate School forward.

See you soon!

Best wishes