Postgraduate Research Students, NUI Galway

National Student Survey

School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics

2020 Action Plan







Research Infrastructure and Facilities





Insufficient support for computing resources

The School has a heavy workload regarding computing resources, which has been acknowledged by the University with the allocation of a part-time technical support position. However, it has proved impossible to have any continuity in the position on the current basis of 0.6 FTE.

The School is engaging with the College to make it full-time.


In Progress


Lack of work/desk space

The School notes the 100% satisfaction level with working space, facilities and resources.

The research students are mostly housed in the Hardiman Library extension. However, the accommodation there is currently operating at full capacity, posing a risk because enrolment is on the increase following the launch of the €13M SFI Centre for Research Training (CRT) in Genomics Data Science. The school will need substantial dedicated space as its student numbers will increase with each annual intake in the next three years.

The School will engage with Buildings to ensure adequate suitable working space for its research students.

CRT committee

In Progress








No specific actions were deemed necessary in view of the high level of satisfaction




Research Culture





Postgraduate seminar series

The School maintains several regular seminar series across all of its Disciplines, including one which is run by and for research postgraduates. The School will continue to support and encourage postgraduate students in managing this seminar, which provides frequent and valuable opportunities for collegial interactions on their research and for giving presentations, with more than 40 talks per year.

Postgraduate Students



Postgraduate organisation of scientific events

The School will continue to support the activities of NUI Galway’s student chapter of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The Student Chapter hosts and organises several conferences and workshops, including an evening for undergraduates to meet former PGs now in full-time employment, and an annual Modelling Workshop for undergraduate students.

SIAM student chapter



Increased Postgraduate student participation at conferences

The School expects all its students to present a poster at its annual Research Day. The School continuously encourages them to take part in national and international conferences.

The School has put in place a policy for financial support of travel and fees for students with limited research funding.


PGR committee



Progress and Assessment






No specific actions were deemed necessary in view of the high level of satisfaction




Development Opportunities 





Receiving training to develop research skills;

Submitting a paper for publication in an academic journal or book;

During School Board meetings, supervisors will be regularly encouraged to support their students in publishing their research during the course of their degree.

PGR committee



Communicating research to a non-academic audience

Throughout the year, the School strongly supports and encourages the participation of research students in outreach activities to communicate mathematics to non-expert audiences.

Opportunities so far have included Threesis, Famelab, Bright Club, RTE Brainstorm, ResearchFest, MathsWeek, Science Week, Galway Science and Technology Festival, etc.

Outreach and Communication Committee

In Progress


Working as part of a team

No specific actions were deemed necessary, as the difference here with the response of other schools is a reflection of the solitary practice of research that can be found in several areas of Mathematics.




Collaborations with industry and with civic and public organisations

The School will support interested students in identifying opportunities for collaborations with industry and with civic and public organisations. Within some areas of the mathematical sciences, these forms of engagement are not typical of the PhD experience internationally. So far, no such wishes has been expressed by the PGs at the School, but this might change with the launch of the SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science


In Progress


Spending time abroad as part of your research degree

No specific actions were deemed necessary as this item is entirely dependent on the type of funding received by each student.




Research Skills






No specific actions were deemed necessary due to the high level of satisfaction




Personal Outlook






No specific actions were deemed necessary as there was no feedback under this heading in the survey.




Other Transferable Skills





Increased management of own professional development

Almost all students are joining the School with competitive funding, which implies a research plan, often including training and development aspects. That plan is then reviewed regularly, especially as the yearly GRC meeting approaches.

The School will now encourage students and supervisors to put more thought into the management of professional development in preparation for GRC meetings.


In Progress


Responsibilities and Supports






No specific actions were deemed necessary due to the high level of satisfaction




Overall Experience





Confidence in on-time completion of degree

No specific actions were deemed necessary because on-time PhD completion rates in the School of Mathematics are considerably higher than the response to this question suggests.