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Permission to apply? Sharing key findings of the Pre-Application Doctoral Communication (PADC) projects

Permission to apply? Sharing key findings of the Pre-Application Doctoral Communication (PADC) projects

This event will launch the final report and project materials for a two-year programme of work (2022-2023) on PADC, funded by Enhancing Research Culture Fund ( Findings will be shared from the projects, which explored PADC processes and inclusivity implications at Warwick from the perspectives of supervisors, doctoral programme directors and programme officers, webpages, minoritised PGR students and Youtube advice videos. The event includes reflection and discussion opportunities and is open to all, including academics, students of any level and professional services staff.

29th November 2023, 12-1pm. A recording of the event can be found here

Pre-application doctoral communications (PADC) are communications that potential doctoral applicants engage in with university staff prior to making a formal application to study. Often these communications are emails from applicants to prospective supervisors, Programme Officers (POs) or Directors of Postgraduate Research (DPGRs) and are forwarded within and between departments (e.g. from DPGR to supervisor). University staff who receive such communications often make quick judgements about these inquiries due to the quantity they receive. However, in deciding how to respond, recipients effectively become gatekeepers to doctoral education, and by extension to the academic profession and the wider research workforce. For prospective doctoral applicants, the application process is often challenging to navigate. Applicants have to negotiate unfamiliar systems, and this tends to disadvantage underrepresented students who may have less access to key informants or reliable sources to explain the processes.

About the team

The PADC projects ( were led by Dr James Burford and Dr Emily Henderson. James and Emily are both located in Department of Education Studies and are Directors of the Doctoral Education and Academia Research Centre (DEAR). The project team members were Dr Sophia Kier-Byfield, Dr Ahmad Akkad and Dr Dangeni. The project has been endorsed by Warwick Doctoral College. Any questions about the project can be directed to

Illustration by Kate Carruthers Thomas

Co-hosted event by Warwick Doctoral College and Doctoral Education and Academia Research Centre (DEAR)

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