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Expression of interest for
Practitioner Partners

The call for practitioner partners is now closed.

We are in the process of reviewing information and shortlisting applicants. This is likely to take a few weeks. We will announce further updates in May.

Students on Stairs

Could your research organisation help to shape the future of  doctoral supervision?

Why join RSVP?

Joining RSVP offers research organisations a unique opportunity to become key contributors in advancing research supervision practices. Gain access to innovative practices and tap into a pioneering community of academic and industry leaders.

Who are we looking for?

RSVP would like to recruit up to 8 more practitioner partners. These may be single research organisations or small collaborations of organisations (see the notes in the application form in regard to collaborative proposals). 

We are committed to understanding and developing varied supervisory practices across diverse academic and research landscapes. We want to work with small, medium and large organisations; with those who already have a programme of continuing professional development in place and those who have very little.

We also welcome the opportunity to work with business and industry organisations to learn from their approaches to mentoring, team cohesion and to understand the incentives that support ongoing engagement in CPD. HE partners are encouraged to include, as part of their expression of interest, industry and business partners with whom they have established relationships.

Universities and specialist research organisations
  • Institutions of varied sizes: From small, medium, and large universities; every institution offers unique insights into supervisory practices.

  • Diverse supervisory support systems: Whether your institution has a well-defined CPD programme for supervisors or is in the early stages of developing such support.

  • Different disciplines: We aim to explore supervision across various disciplines, seeking institutions specialising in everything from the arts and humanities to STEM subjects.

  • Institutions from across the UK: We want to collaborate with institutions from every corner of the UK (we will also consider international partners where resources allows and if aligned with a UK lead partner).

Universities, research organisations and, where relevant, industry partners, are warmly invited to submit an expression of interest to become a practitioner partner in RSVP

Business Interview

What does RSVP offer?

  • Onboarding: We will provide a framework for structured onboarding process for those new to supervision. 

  • Tailored Workshops: We will provide workshop materials and ‘train the trainer’ support for institutions to enhance the skills of both new and experienced supervisors in a sustainable way. 

  • Mentoring Schemes: RSVP embraces mentoring in its many forms (experienced to less experienced, reverse etc) to encourage sharing of experiences, strategies, and insights among supervisors from various disciplines.

  • Peer Observation of Supervision: We will provide a framework to support supervision observation (like teaching observations but for supervision practice), during which supervisors can receive constructive expert feedback on their supervision style and techniques.

  • Engagement in Communities of Practice: Supervisors and researcher developers will have the opportunity to engage in dynamic communities of practice discussions.

  • Recognition of Supervision Practice: Support for individuals and organisations looking for ways in which to support recognition and reward for supervision practice.

  • Involvement in the UK Research Supervision Survey: Scheduled for Spring 2024, this survey will gather comprehensive data on supervision practices across the UK. Institutions who wish to develop their supervision support will have an opportunity to gain insight into how to use the data to support change. 


As we develop enriched supervisor CPD, we will support partners to deliver these interventions. Available support includes crafting and situating interventions to your local context, ‘train the trainer’ sessions with pilot practitioner groups and support materials to accompany each intervention.

Additional benefits for participating

To ensure sustainability and long term culture change we will:

  • Work directly with change agents including Deans and Directors or Doctoral Schools, Researcher Developers and Academic Practice colleagues. 

  • Provide ‘train the trainer’ sessions to enable institutions to use resources and materials to complement and enhance existing provision.

  • Develop and make freely available, by Autumn 2024,  a self assessment document for institutions to use to assess their current onboarding and CPD provision for supervisors.

What is required of Practitioner Partners?

We are primarily looking for partners that have the resources, time, and desire to pilot and support evaluation of the CPD  intervention programmes that are being developed within the project. The time commitment is expected to be 12-18 months for the varied CPD programmes. These interventions will involve:

  • Trials of mentoring schemes across a selection of research supervisors from diverse disciplines;

  • Attendance at RSVP workshop events for knowledge transfer;

  • Researcher Developers that are able to participate in 'Train the Trainers' sessions; 

  • Guidance on Research Supervisor peer observation sessions;

  • Engagement in onboarding activities for new supervisors and contribution to the development of sector wide practices;

  • Co-development of CPD frameworks for research supervisors.

Partners will be able to specify which aspects of the above are best suited to their research organisation and which they are in the strongest position to resource.

Criteria for selection as a Practitioner Partner

We are aiming to recruit a diverse range of partner institutions with respect to the number of postgraduate researchers, research intensity, broad-based vs specialist institutes, and the range of current supervisor training provisions. We are also seeking a representative geographic spread of institutes across the UK.


Is funding available to support our institutional engagement activities?

What is the time commitment required?

What part can we play in CPD co-creation?

What is the timeline for piloting CPD interventions with partner institutions?

Can we partner with RSVP as an international research organisation?

Timeline for

Key dates for the expressions of interest call are:


  • Tuesday 27 February 2024: call opens

  • Friday 19 April 2024: call closes. Applications must be submitted by midnight on this date.

Applications are closed

The call for practitioner partners is now closed.

We are in the process of reviewing information and shortlisting applicants. This is likely to take a few weeks. We will announce further updates in May.

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