Introduction from the General Secretary

I would like to introduce myself as the 2007/2008 General Secretary of the National Postgraduate Committee.

My name is Duncan Philip Connors and I am a PhD student from the University of Glasgow, specialising in the politcal economy of the 1960s. Prior to this I worked in business for a few years and was in the RAF for a short period of time before being injured during the course of my service. I now live in London and have a wonderful wife Smita and a baby son who is one year old, Sachiel.

But enough about me, let's talk about the NPC and your relationship with it. The NPC is a charity with the aim of advancing in the public interest the education of postgraduate students in the United Kingdom, but most importantly the NPC has supported unions and associations and students themselves and this is success and involvement we want to build on over the coming year. The National Postgraduate Committee represents a valuable opportunity to work with unions, through their officers and staff to advance postgraduate education.

We are looking forward to a busy and hopefully successful year continuing working with many agencies supporting postgraduate funding, freedom of academic debate, postgraduate funding and lobbying for support for PhD students and supervisor issues. The NPC has achieved notable success in these areas, helping to abolish the 'Visitor System' and working with the QAA on research student guidelines. We have also been involved with the NUS in its work in involving Postgraduates and with other bodies such as UKGRAD and UUK.

We would like to develop a representation best practice through the NPC for student unions and institutions to augment their support of postgraduates and to lead the PG student movement. In addition, we would like to develop a best practice for support and make supervisor training an expected part of institutional practice. Best practice and benchmarking should be increasingly used to rate universities and offer comparison in postgraduate support to show leading practice and focus pressure on institutions to change.

The NPC is the recognised voice for postgraduate students in the UK. The NPC represents and involves a broad coalition of postgraduate students both home and international through their involvement as individuals or through Students' Union, Guild or association. The NPC brings students together to agree on issues of common concern and work to bring about positive change through taking collective action.

So let us all work together this year to bring postgraduates to the forefront of the education agenda!

Speak to you soon,