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Introducing the Be More Empowered (BME) for Success PGR Advocates

26 April 2022

In March we welcomed our first team of five PGR Advocates to the Bristol Doctoral College as part of the Be More Empowered (BME) for Success programme.

The PGR Advocate team are; Houda Al-Kateb (History), Jaida Begum (Biochemistry), Justin Tabbett (Aerospace Engineering), Nathan Palk (Microbiology) and Theodora (Edidi) Olanrewaju (Cellular and Molecular Medicine).

The initiative was developed in recognition of the unique challenges Black, Asian and ethnic minority students navigate whilst undertaking postgraduate research degrees. One of theobjectives ofthe pilot will be to support an increased sense of belonging and connection among Black, Asian and ethnic minority students PGRs in the University. 

Houda Al-Kateb, one of the PGR Advocates gave their motivation for joining the programme, I applied for the role of BME Advocate as I am passionate about ensuring that Bristol's research space is as diverse and representative as possible. It is really important that we are not only encouraging diverse applicants to pursue a research degree at Bristol but that we are also creating an inclusive environment where everyone can feel a sense of belonging. I look forward to holding events which will bring researchers from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds together. 

The PGR advocates will be creating opportunities for Black, Asian and ethnic minority PGR students to meet, and wider opportunities where everyone can learn about how we as a University can create a more inclusive environment.  

The new team of PGR Advocates will be supported by the Bristol Doctoral College (BDC) to co-create and deliver a programme of academic and social activities to meet the needs of PGRs who may feel more isolated or have fewer opportunities to meet students with similar lived experiences. Throughout the pilot there will be space for the PGR advocates to reflect on their experiences and have their voices heard across the University.  

Alongside Bristol Doctoral College, the PGR advocates will be working with Dr Myles-Jay Linton, a Vice Chancellors Fellow within the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute with expertise in university inclusion. Myles will be providing strategic guidance, supporting the PGR advocatesto create positive change. 

Dr Myles-Jay Linton said that “we have already been impressed with the insight and ideas the advocates have already brought to the role. My main job will be helping them to bring to life their own ideas. In my view, feeling connected to a community and developing strong bonds with peers will have numerous positive knock-on effects for the wider PGR experience. I’m really interested inexploring new and innovative practices emerge from this pilot.” 

The PGR Advocates will work closely with Mar Ruiz Molina (BDC)who brings extensive experience delivering academic events. Mar will provide practical support to guide the PGR advocates to design and deliver their own events. 

Mar Ruiz Molina shared her thoughts on the programme, “the Be More Empowered for Success programme has previously been piloted with undergraduate students at the University and it is great to see how their success can be translated at a PGR level to create an inclusive experience for our postgraduate researchers. “ 

The PGR advocate programme builds on an existing highly successful undergraduate Be More Empowered (BME) for Success programme led by Robiu Salisu and colleagues within the Student Inclusion team. 

Further information

 If you would like to know more about the PGR programme, please contact 


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