Celebrating 100 years of postgraduate research in 2021

In 2021 we will be celebrating of 100 years of postgraduate research at the University of Bristol.

In 2021, we will be celebrating 100 years of postgraduate research at the University of Bristol. From the first PhD, awarded to Lily Batten in 1921, to the present day, we will be promoting and celebrating the exciting and diverse work of our postgraduate research community and looking to the future to imagine what the next 100 years of postgraduate research might hold.

Lily Batten's work on 'The British species of the Genus Polysiphonia' was approved by the Board of Examiners on 5 May 1921, and at Senate. Lionel Stanley Palmer, a Physicist, was approved for the award in June 1921 on the basis of five papers.

In collaboration with the Development and Alumni Relations Office and the Brigstow Institute, the Bristol Doctoral College is offering postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and other divisions of the university, a range of opportunities to get involved with these celebrations. 

Current activities

Latest news and updates

11 March 2021: [blogpost] A subterranean story — how a physicist helped to establish the University’s Speleological Society

8 March: [blogpost] Pioneering women and their PhDs — uncovering the stories of Bristol’s first postgraduate researchers

11 Feb 2021: [blogpost] Fruitful collaborations — PGRs and the pioneering work of the Long Ashton Research Station

4 Aug 2020: Postgraduate research interns explore the first PGR degrees at the University of Bristol

Research and public engagement internships

A team of three PGRs is working with the Brigstow Institute and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Postgraduate Research) to conduct some initial archival research into the first PhDs conducted at the University of Bristol between 1921 and 1939. The project is being carried out with support from the Special Collections team in the University of Bristol Library.

Creative partnership 

We are in the process of selecting a socially engaged artist or creative practitioner (in film, illustration, animation or other) working with digital media to work with our PGR interns on a creative output. Together they will co-produce a short filmanimation or other digital artwork to celebrate 100 years of postgraduate research at the University, and the diversity of our past and current PGR community.

The project will take place between November 2020 and May 2021 and  the team will co-create a piece of digital work that can be presented online. PLease check back for more details.

How can I get involved?

Staff and students across the university can take part in a number of ways:

  • Explore our archives. We will be making our research materials available to staff and students across the university
  • Hold your own celebrations during May-June 2021. We can provide you with a pack of ideas as well as collating relevant biographies of postgraduate researchers working in our specific discipline, School or Faculty.
  • Add to our archives. If you have conducted your own research into early postgraduate research or PhDs within your School or Faculty, please get in touch about adding your content to our archives.
  • Stay updated. Sign up for our emails about the project.
  • Share your stories of postgraduate research at Bristol. From highlights of your degree to what you think your discipline will look like 100 years from now, using our hashtag #bristolpgr100.

Fill in our form to express your interest and join our mailing list or contact alice.ferns@bristol.ac.uk if you have any questions.





Students cheer outside the Victoria Rooms c.1929. Image credit: Photo courtesy of University of Bristol Library, Special Collections.
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