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National Postgraduate Committee

National Postgraduate Committee

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The National Postgraduate Committee of the United Kingdom (often abbreviated to NPC) represents postgraduates at UK universities. Since 2002 it has held charitable status. It is formed by affiliation from student representative bodies
Students' union
A students' union, student government, student senate, students' association, guild of students or government of student body is a student organization present in many colleges and universities, and has started appearing in some high schools...

 across the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and seeks, in the words of its constitution, "to advance, in the public interest, the education of postgraduate students within the United Kingdom" through representation, lobbying, contribution to public policy debate, initiating communication between relevant parties and bringing key issues and potential solutions to wider audiences. The organisation is currently reforming its role in light of the fact that the National Union of Students (United Kingdom) has recently formed its own postgraduate committee, though not structured in any way comparable with the NPC and thus it is seeking to find ways in which it can serve the needs of postgraduates in a way that is not met by other organisations.


The NPC was formed in the 1980s as a network of officers. In 1990 it held its first conference at the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

. Following this a growth in activity ensued, leading to the adoption of formal structures. It adopted its first constitution in 1992, the same year that it created the full time post
Sabbatical officer
A sabbatical officer is a full-time officer elected by the members of a students' union , commonly at a higher education establishment such as a university...

 of General Secretary and began its affiliation scheme. The NPC sought charitable status for a number of years and obtained this in 2002, following the passing of a new constitution. As of February 2009, the NPC is rumoured to have agreed to dissolve itself amidst concerns at its relevance to postgraduates in the UK, the majority of whom are either unaware of, or largely unsympathetic to, the organisation's existence, as evidenced by the lack of membership numbers in comparison to postgraduates studying in the UK.

Past General Secretaries:
  • James Irvine from 1 October 1992 until 30 September 1993
  • Crispin Allard from 1 October 1993 until 30 September 1994
  • Jamie Darwen from 1 October 1994 until 30 September 1995
  • Ewan Gillon from 1 October 1995 until 30 September 1996
  • John Gray from 1 October 1996 until 30 September 1997
  • Martin Gough from 1 October 1997 until 30 September 1998
  • Jeremy Hoad
    Jeremy Hoad
    Jeremy Hoad is best known as co-author of the BBC Doctor Who novel, The Blue Angel . The Blue Angel has been adapted to script form by Piers Britton and was used as the basis of a course at the University of Redlands in Southern California in 2007.Hoad has built a career managing representative...

     from 1 October 1998 until 30 September 2000
  • James Groves from 1 October 2000 until 30 September 2002
  • Tim Brown from 1 October 2002 until 30 September 2004
  • Jim Ewing from 1 October 2004 until 30 September 2005
  • Simon Felton from 1 October 2005 until 30 September 2007
  • Duncan Connors from 1 October 2007 until 30 September 2008
  • Matt Gayle from 1 October 2008 until 11 September 2009

No full time General secretary was appointed in 2009 due to lack of funds to employ such a position.


The majority of NPC's work is conducted by the General Secretary who works full time and there are then 14 other voluntary officers on the executive to assist in the general running. Several student representative bodies
Students' union
A students' union, student government, student senate, students' association, guild of students or government of student body is a student organization present in many colleges and universities, and has started appearing in some high schools...

 in the United Kingdom affiliate to the NPC, which is the main source of income along with a small number of donations. The Journal of Graduate Education is an academic journal established by the NPC in 1994.

The output of NPC's work involves lobbying and working on behalf of postgraduates to government and higher education bodies, where it aims to engage the interests of postgraduates in what it does. As a national organisation, it has the means to communicate the collective interests of postgraduates on a national level. NPC has achieved great success on a number of national committees, working group
Working group
A working group is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers working on new research activities that would be difficult to develop under traditional funding mechanisms . The lifespan of the WG can last anywhere between a few months and several years...

s and forums. Another important aspect of NPC's work is helping student representative bodies develop better postgraduate support and representation. This is done through production of publications, having an enquiry service and also visiting institutions where appropriate. Recent output has been affected by an inability to generate sufficient interest (and by extension, funding) amongst postgraduates in the UK.

Positions on the Executive

The NPC's executive is formally known as the "Management Sub-Committee." All positions are part-time voluntary unless otherwise indicated:
  • General Secretary (full-time, salaried)
  • Chairperson
  • Treasurer
  • Minutes Secretary
  • Conference Secretary
  • Communications Officer
  • Equal Opportunities Officer
  • Project Officers (X4)
  • Ordinary Executive Officers
  • Chairperson of NPC Scotland
    • Depute Chairperson/Secretary of NPC Scotland
    • Treasurer of NPC Scotland
  • Chairperson of NPC Wales/PCO-R Cymru
    • Vice Chairperson/Secretary of NPC Wales/PCO-R Cymru
    • Treasurer of NPC Wales/PCO-R Cymru

There are also the Financial and Constitutional Sub-Committees and there are plans to develop a subcommittee within Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...


Current Committee

  • General Secretary: N/A
  • Chairperson: Vacant
  • Treasurer: Tim Roll-Pickering
  • Minutes Secretary: Vacant
  • Conference Secretary: Vacant
  • Communications Officer: Vacant
  • Equal Opportunities Officer: Armineh Soorenian (Leeds)
  • Project Officers (x4): Vacant
  • Ordinary Officers (x2): David Thurkettle and Carole Brooks
  • Chairperson of NPC Scotland/CIN Alba: Vacant
  • Chairperson of NPC Wales/PCÔ-R Cymru: Vacant

  • Financial Sub-Committee
    • Treasurer (Convener): Tim Roll-Pickering
    • Past Treasurer: Christabel Silva
    • General Secretary: N/A
    • Chairperson: Vacant
    • Conference Secretary: Vacant
    • Treasurer NPC Scotland/CIN Alba: Vacant
    • Treasurer NPC Wales/PCÔ-R Cymru: Vacant
    • Ordinary members (x2): Margaret Davine and Martin Gough

  • Constitutional Sub-Committee
    • Chairperson (Convener): Vacant
    • Past Chairperson: David Thurkettle
    • General Secretary: N/A
    • Ordinary members (x3): Peter Campbell and James Groves

Recognised Bodies

Like affiliates, recognised bodies are also have voting rights and they are student run organisations with compatible objects to the NPC.
  • Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland
    Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland
    The Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland is a body representative of students in Scotland founded in 2001 by the Students' Associations of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities, and Glasgow University's Students' Representative Council.CHESS was founded in 1999 out...

  • Council for International Students
  • Mature Students' Union
  • National Union of Students of the United Kingdom

Associate Bodies

Associates do not have voting rights, although they do have the right to table motions to a general meeting and have a close working relationship with NPC in its activity.
  • National Union of Students Scotland
    National Union of Students Scotland
    The National Union of Students Scotland is an autonomous body within the National Union of Students. It is the national representative body of 530,000 students studying in further and higher education in Scotland and was formed following the merger of NUS in Scotland with the Scottish Union of...

  • National Union of Students Wales
    National Union of Students Wales
    National Union of Students Wales is the Welsh section of the National Union of Students of the United Kingdom. NUS Wales was established in 1974 and is the largest democratic organisation in Wales, representing over a quarter of a million students from both the Higher and Further Education sectors...

  • NUS-USI - The Student Movement in Northern Ireland
    NUS-USI, the student movement in Northern Ireland was formed in 1972 by bilateral agreement between the National Union of Students of the United Kingdom and the Union of Students in Ireland , to address the particular problems of macro-representation of students in the Northern Ireland.Students at...

  • Political Studies Association Postgraduate Network
  • United Kingdom Council for Graduate Education

See also

  • Associação dos Bolseiros de Investigação Cientifica
    ABIC - Associação dos Bolseiros de Investigação Científica is thePortuguese Association of grant-holding researchers. ABIC was established in 2003 and represents early stage researchers, such as doctoral students, and post-doc fellows as well as researchers who are not included is these two groups...

     - The equivalent organisation in Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

  • Thesis
    Thesis (representative body)
    Thesis is an interdisciplinary German network of young scientists, current and former PhD students in or with some relation to Germany. Thesis is a founding member of the European network of PhD students Eurodoc.-See also:...

     - Equivalent organisation in Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

  • Eurodoc
    Eurodoc is the European federation of national organisations of young researchers. Young researchers are the ones currently undertaking their doctorate or PhD holders in their first years of their post-doctoral research career .As a non-profit organisation,...

     - Eurodoc, the Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    an wide federation of national postgraduate representative bodies.
  • Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations
    Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations
    The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, or CAPA, is the peak representative body for postgraduate students in Australia. Founded in 1979, CAPA provides member associations with representation to the Federal government, and peak bodies such as the Australian Research Council and...

     - Equivalent organisation in Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...


External links