Cohort-building in PhD programmes facilitates the development of deep and lasting relationships that will create a sense of belonging, peer and professional support and signposting to professional networks to enable effective career planning. To facilitate strong and successful cohort-building, students on the Programme have access to regular cohort-building events and activities from the outset. These include fornightly coffee breaks, team-building activities, and opportunities to network with students on other DTPs.
Networking within cohorts
Each cohort is encouraged to create a network on a social media platform of their choice, to provide a quick and easy way to communicate. Fortnightly cohort coffee breaks are a great opportunity to catch up with peers, share experiences and network, both professionally and socially. Formal cohort-building sessions organised during the first term to help students to get to know each other and to help build communication between all members.
Networking across cohorts
Cohort events will include students at different stages of their research journey, and we will encourage the formation of strong, supportive peer cohorts both within and across different intakes. Students are invited to join the Programme Yammer page (the University of Leicester’s internal social network), to provide a quick and informal way of contacting the cohort as a whole and share updates, links to interesting websites or events. All members of all cohorts will be invited to a monthly coffee break.
Students on the Programme elect two student representatives per year, whose role is to provide a key link between the student body and the Leadership Team.
Cohort development for students on placement
Maintaining a strong cohort while students are on placement is also very important. Regular dialogue by phone, online video conference or in person will be key to shared understanding and clear student development plans. Remote participation and monthly networking meetings ensure that students who are on placements for part of the year capitalise on overall opportunities for networking, cohort-building and training.
Cohort development through shared experiences
This can include cohort-level training, public engagement and social events. These can be organised as part of the Programme, as well as external events such as conferences and science fairs.