Last week we started our groundbreaking Future Spaces Programme – working in collaboration with our PGRs to explore and determine the future of Researcher Development and Research Culture. As we continue to run exploratory workshops, we wanted to share with the PGR community what the programme is about, what we are doing it, and why you should attend.

What is the programme about?

COVID-19 has changed the shape of training and development, and communities and cultures of engagement. We know that everything will look different in a post-COVID world and we want to prioritise the student voice, and empower researchers to work in collaboration with the Researcher Development and Research Culture team to shape what that future will look like.

The Future Spaces Programme is designed to promote community, collaboration and creativity to shape the future of researcher development and research culture at the University of Exeter. We will work through three stages of inquiry, creativity and implementation to identify the future shape of Researcher Development and Research Culture at the University. We also intend to pioneer researcher-led initiatives within the University, with organisational support from the Researcher Development and Research Culture team and financial support as part of the Researcher-Led Initiative Awards.

What are our motivations for the programme?


  • To provide a group of researchers with the space and confidence to create something useful, practical, and meaningful
  • To gather feedback on Researcher Development and Research Culture provision
  • To help shape the future of researcher development/support post COVID-19
  • To work with some inspiring people and find out what’s possible
  • To develop new initiatives like the PGR writing groups that have a meaningful impact on the PGR community
  • To improve research culture
  • To improve the experience of distance-based PGRs
  • To explore and develop ways for PGRs to connect and share experiences

What do we want to talk about on the programme?

  • How we can ensure that training, seminars and dissemination events can continue online moving forward
  • How to ‘protect’ the community and opportunities created during COVID-19
  • How to promote and continue flexible working for PGRs
  • How to develop a Research Culture which includes both campus-based and distance PGRs
  • What does the ‘best’ PGR experience look like?
  • How to manage the conflict between face-to-face and online teaching and opportunities
  • Concerns about the future and career prospects – what does the future look like? What will HE look like?
  • How can we have a say in the future? How can we make it happen?
  • Clarify the purpose of Future Spaces and develop a Future Spaces Manifesto

We have sessions running twice a week for the next few weeks – each session is different, and allows PGRs to attend all sessions or dip in and dip out as they are able. We are also running a Teams channel so those who cannot attend ‘live’ can contribute asynchronously. PGRs can book through the following links, and join our Teams channel here.

Inquiry session dates

Inquiry session 3, 16/03/2021, 11:00-13.00

Inquiry session 4, 18/03/2021, 14.00-16.00

Inquiry session 5, 23/03/2021, 14.00-16.00

Inquiry session 6, 26/03/2021, 11.00-13.00

Creativity session dates

Creativity session 1, 13/04/2021, 11.00-13.00

Creativity session 2, 15/04/2021, 14.00-16.00

Creativity session 3, 20/04/2021, 11.00-13.00

Creativity session 4, 23/04/2021, 11.00-13.00

Creativity session 5, 27/04/2021, 11.00-13.00

Creativity session 6, 29/04/2021, 11.00-13.00


Please join us to shape the future of Researcher Development and Research Culture at the University.