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Student support

We can help you with all aspects of student support from an educational perspective eg personal tutoring, career development plans, English language provision and specific support for international students. Please read the information below specific to the School of the Built Environment.

We can also help with every day life as a student.

For more information on the types of student support available at the University, please see the Postgraduate Research pages and the Student Life pages.

General Roles of Postgraduates and Supervisors

The Learning Agreement will list agreed roles and responsibilities between a student and their supervisor. It is important that a programme of work, which includes details of how often and in what form liaison will take place between a student and their supervisor/cosupervisor, is created from the outset which is realistic and is regularly monitored by the student. Equally, the nature of study for a PhD programme goes further than merely writing up a thesis, and it is therefore advisable to develop a plan of the generic skills training a student may consider useful for the successful completion of their programme, to plan intended participation in Research Institute conferences/workshops/ and conferences in their specialist area. It is advisable for the student to reach an agreement with their supervisor on how their personal tutor/mentor will be allocated and the role they will play in the course of their study.

The candidate should let their supervisor know at this point if they have any special/individual needs which should be taken into account. It is important to document these in the Learning Agreement so that a student’s supervisor can take into account any necessary arrangements for the candidate to complete their research. (N.B. it is the duty of the supervisor to encourage the student to inform the Equalities Office of their needs in order for appropriate support to be organised.)

Local advisor (split-site candidates and on-line Doctoral programme only)

Students should identify the role that their local advisor will play during periods at their home institution, and indicate the likely level of support and frequency of meetings. (Note: the advisor is not required to sign the Learning Agreement, but should be sent a copy as a record of their agreed role.)

Research Support

In certain research projects (only if applicable) students may need to consider the equipments and facilities (including the financing and purchasing of such equipments and facilities) they need, along with the health and safety concerns associated with the project which must be addressed before starting their research. Another element of research applicable to some projects maybe field work. When planning field work it maybe worthwhile to consider the associated costs, who will meet these costs, if extended periods of field work are an expected part of the project then it may be necessary agree with a student’s supervisor how supervision will take place during this time.

Consultation and Review

Students should agree a set number of minimum meetings every year. For such formal meetings it may be worthwhile to prepare in advance the topics concerning the meeting. Keeping a record of what happened in these meetings might be helpful. The meetings should ensure if you are on track with your initially agreed programme of work. It is the student’s responsibility to review and develop the initially agreed programme of work and to update their supervisor on attained progress or difficulties. It is important for the  student to ascertain what the expectations are for progression points such as annual progress report, self evaluation report, interim assessment and internal evaluation.

Approach to Collaborating with an Organisation

When establishing a collaborative partnership with an organisation it is worthwhile to document the listed areas of mutual benefit for all parties. The student should set their objectives in terms of what they intend to gain from the partnership and how the organisation will benefit from being a part of the student’s research project. The practicalities of working at an organisation must also be planned and discussed with the organisation such as liaison with the company/supervisor, protocol for contact with the collaborating company.

Learning Agreement Questions

The questions listed at on the University's postgraduate research website should be your starting point when you discuss your Learning Agreement with your supervisor. The list is not exhaustive and it is likely you will have to consider further questions when you think about your specific situation. Additional headings can be added as required.

Workshops, seminars and other events are available for research students to help them develop research skills. Our Doctoral training programme offers workshops on;

  • Research skills and techniques
  • Research environment
  • Research management
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Communication skills
  • Networking and team working
  • Career management
  • Subject-specific
  • English language support

Attendance at training events is recorded and discussed at major points of assessment.

You can email Professor Jason Underwood at , Director of Postgraduate Research Training if you have any questions about training and support.

Topic Specific Roles

When reviewing the literature relating to the topic of research, it is important to conduct a thorough literature review which would identify the key characteristics of the field, the appropriate contacts within the field, theories associated within the research field. It is important to specify any ethical considerations (if applicable). Training on Research Ethics is offered on the Salford Postgraduate Research Training Programme (SPoRT).

It is important to identify research and operational training requirements associated with the research being undertaken. All research training maybe viewed and booked using the Online Booking System for the Salford Postgraduate Research Training Programme. Most training session material is also available through the University's virtual learning environment, Blackboard, and some sessions are also held virtually in real time.

ROAR is:

  • An online repository of essential documents such as the training programme handbook and supporting materials from workshops and training events
  • A platform for communication among students and staff
  • Linked to relevant web sites and resources
  • Book reviews by staff and students
  • Linked to important University documents and websites relating to postgraduate research studies

Students can contact Moira Mort to request access to ROAR.

Opportunity for supporting field work in the USA for SoBE PhD students on the MAPS LED research project  

The School of the Built Environment (SoBE) at the University of Salford is offering financial support to PhD students in order to allow them to carry out field work in the USA (Boston, Massachusetts, San Diego, California) associated with the Multidisciplinary Approach to Planning of Specialization Strategies (S3) to enhance Local Economic Development (MAPS-LED) research programme (for further details click here).

PhD students can either be already enrolled in a SoBE PhD programme for no longer than 1 year as at 1st April 2017, or in the process of applying for a position as a PhD student at the SoBE through the ordinary process, latest entry point 1st October 2016. Guidance on how to apply can be found here

Priority in the selection of successful candidates will be given to new applicants, provided that the research topic meets the requirements of this call.  

Please note that:

  • All students are expected to cover their tuition fees autonomously: the MAPS-LED funds only cover travel and accommodation expenses up to a maximum allowance of 2.000€ per month (all included). 
  • New applicants are requested to put their application forward through the ordinary web based procedure and to apply for these funds by sending a further application as explained below.  
  • All students will be expected to spend between 6 and 12 months in the USA within their 3 year PhD programme at SoBE.
  • International students participating in the project are not exempt from accomplishing all the requirements for immigration policy: check with the immigration office your eligibility to participate in the program by spending at last 6 months outside the UK before sending your application for the MAPS LED funds.

Field work must compulsorily contribute to achieving the MAPS LED aims and contributing fulfilling its deliverables.  MAPS LED aims at investigating how S3 strategies can be implemented, according to the new agenda of Europe 2020, within a spatial – led perspective approaching the built environment in a wider perspective, capable to incorporate environmental and social impacts.

The main goal of MAPS LED is to identify and examine S3 taking account of local needs and opportunities driving regional policy interventions. Key areas of interest include key enabling technologies, local innovation processes, tacit knowledge, embedded social networks, and innovative milieu. The MAPS-LED programme starts from place-based framework and includes two important drivers: 1) Cluster policy and cluster-based analysis; 2) Innovative milieu in terms of local value chains.

The SoBE unit major task is to build and test a novel assessment tool that allows stakeholders to evaluate the wider impacts of S3 related interventions.  

Possible topics to be selected by the PhD students include:

  • Smart specialisation and innovation clusters in a place- based and spatially- led perspective  
  • Spatial features that support successful innovation clusters and S3
  • Governance systems that facilitate social and economic innovation in cities 
  • Methods to holistically assess the value of social and environmental change
  • The role of big data in creating and supporting shared knowledge
  • The role of cultural heritage in reinforcing S3 oriented strategies

How to apply for MAPS LED financial support


  • Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications are welcomed in line with the requirement to start the PhD latest on 1st October. 2016
  • Successful applicants are expected to start their secondment between October 2016 and April 2017.


All applicants must complete and submit the following documentation: 

  1. A cover letter, including details whether the candidate is a new applicant or a PhD student already enrolled;
  2. CV;
  3. Research abstract (maximum 1.000 words), including clarification on how the individual research undertaken as PhD makes a significant contribution to the MAPS LED program.

Documents must be submitted as pdf files to the following address: clearly stating in the email subject: MAPS LED application. Candidate: (Name and surname of the candidate)