National Postgraduate Committee

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National Postgraduate Committee.jpg

The National Postgraduate Committee of the United Kingdom (often abbreviated to NPC) represents postgraduates at UK universities.[1] Since 2002 it has held charitable status.[2] It is formed by affiliation from student representative bodies across the United Kingdom and seeks, in the words of its constitution, "to advance, in the public interest, the education of postgraduate students within the United Kingdom" through representation, lobbying, contribution to public policy debate, initiating communication between relevant parties and bringing key issues and potential solutions to wider audiences. The organisation is currently reforming its role in light of the fact that the National Union of Students (United Kingdom) has recently formed its own postgraduate committee, though not structured in any way comparable with the NPC and thus it is seeking to find ways in which it can serve the needs of postgraduates in a way that is not met by other organisations.


The NPC was formed in the 1980s as a network of officers.[3] In 1990 it held its first conference at the University of Cambridge. Following this a growth in activity ensued, leading to the adoption of formal structures. It adopted its first constitution in 1992, the same year that it created the full-time post of General Secretary[3] and began its affiliation scheme. The NPC sought charitable status for a number of years and obtained this in 2002, following the passing of a new constitution. As of February 2009, the NPC is rumoured to have agreed to dissolve itself amidst concerns at its relevance to postgraduates in the UK, the majority of whom are either unaware of, or largely unsympathetic to, the organisation's existence, as evidenced by the lack of membership numbers in comparison to postgraduates studying in the UK.

Past General Secretaries:

  • James Irvine from 1 October 1992 until 30 September 1993[3]
  • Crispin Allard from 1 October 1993 until 30 September 1994
  • Jamie Darwen from 1 October 1994 until 30 September 1995[4]
  • Ewan Gillon from 1 October 1995 until 30 September 1996[5]
  • John Gray from 1 October 1996 until 30 September 1997[6]
  • Martin Gough from 1 October 1997 until 30 September 1998[7]
  • Jeremy Hoad from 1 October 1998 until 30 September 2000[8] [9]
  • James Groves from 1 October 2000 until 30 September 2002[10] [11]
  • Tim Brown from 1 October 2002 until 30 September 2004[12] [13]
  • Jim Ewing from 1 October 2004 until 30 September 2005[1]
  • Simon Felton from 1 October 2005 until 30 September 2007[14] [15]
  • Duncan Connors from 1 October 2007 until 30 September 2008[16]
  • Matt Gayle from 1 October 2008 until 11 September 2009


The majority of NPC's work is conducted by the General Secretary who works full-time and there are then 14 other voluntary officers on the executive to assist in the general running. Several student representative bodies in the United Kingdom affiliate to the NPC, which is the main source of income along with a small number of donations. The Journal of Graduate Education (ISSN 1354-0653) is an academic journal established by the NPC in 1994.[17]

The output of NPC's work involves lobbying and working on behalf of postgraduates to government and higher education bodies, where it aims to engage the interests of postgraduates in what it does. As a national organisation, it has the means to communicate the collective interests of postgraduates on a national level. NPC has achieved great success on a number of national committees, working groups and forums. Another important aspect of NPC's work is helping student representative bodies develop better postgraduate support and representation. This is done through production of publications, having an enquiry service and also visiting institutions where appropriate. Recent output has been affected by an inability to generate sufficient interest (and by extension, funding) amongst postgraduates in the UK.

Positions on the Executive[edit]

The NPC's executive is formally known as the "Management Sub-Committee." All positions are part-time voluntary unless otherwise indicated:

  • General Secretary (full-time, salaried)
  • Chairperson
  • Treasurer
  • Minutes Secretary
  • Conference Secretary
  • Communications Officer
  • Equal Opportunities Officer
  • Project Officers (X4)
  • Ordinary Executive Officers
  • Chairperson of NPC Scotland
    • Depute Chairperson/Secretary of NPC Scotland
    • Treasurer of NPC Scotland
  • Chairperson of NPC Wales/PCO-R Cymru
    • Vice Chairperson/Secretary of NPC Wales/PCO-R Cymru
    • Treasurer of NPC Wales/PCO-R Cymru

There are also the Financial and Constitutional Sub-Committees and there are plans to develop a subcommittee within Northern Ireland.

Current Committee[edit]

  • General Secretary: N/A
  • Chairperson: Vacant
  • Treasurer: Tim Roll-Pickering
  • Minutes Secretary: Vacant
  • Conference Secretary: Vacant
  • Communications Officer: Vacant
  • Equal Opportunities Officer: Armineh Soorenian (Leeds)
  • Project Officers (x4): Vacant
  • Ordinary Officers (x2): David Thurkettle and Carole Brooks
  • Chairperson of NPC Scotland/CIN Alba: Vacant
  • Chairperson of NPC Wales/PCÔ-R Cymru: Vacant
  • Financial Sub-Committee
    • Treasurer (Convener): Tim Roll-Pickering
    • Past Treasurer: Christabel Silva
    • General Secretary: N/A
    • Chairperson: Vacant
    • Conference Secretary: Vacant
    • Treasurer NPC Scotland/CIN Alba: Vacant
    • Treasurer NPC Wales/PCÔ-R Cymru: Vacant
    • Ordinary members (x2): Margaret Davine and Martin Gough
  • Constitutional Sub-Committee
    • Chairperson (Convener): Vacant
    • Past Chairperson: David Thurkettle
    • General Secretary: N/A
    • Ordinary members (x3): Peter Campbell and James Groves


There are up to 50 affiliated institutions within the UK.

Recognised Bodies[edit]

Like affiliates, recognised bodies are also have voting rights and they are student run organisations with compatible objects to the NPC.

Associate Bodies[edit]

Associates do not have voting rights, although they do have the right to table motions to a general meeting and have a close working relationship with NPC in its activity.


  1. ^ a b Law, Katie (20 August 2004). "Bigger Is Better, Insists Gung-ho Victor". The Times Higher Education Supplement. p. 11. 
  2. ^ Little, Jenny (11 May 2003). "Take a loan and pay your way to a skill". The Mail on Sunday. p. 41. 
  3. ^ a b c Crequer, Ngaio (19 November 1992). "Postgrads come in from the cold". The Independent (London). p. 19. 
  4. ^ Targett, Simon (3 March 1995). "Children of Major reveal litigious side; Research Opportunities". The Times Higher Education Supplement. 
  5. ^ Thomson, Alan (23 February 1996). "Letter of law crushes hope for letters after name; Research Opportunities". The Times Higher Education Supplement. 
  6. ^ Major, Lee Elliot (5 November 1996). "Higher Education: More Masters for jobs". The Guardian (London). 
  7. ^ Hinde, Julia (27 February 1998). "Lobby points to postgrad plight". The Times Higher Education Supplement. 
  8. ^ Goddard, Alison (11 December 1998). "Postgrads get into class training". The Times Higher Education Supplement. 
  9. ^ Brown, Chris (28 October 1999). "Post Graduate Listings: Charting the right course - A postgraduate degree can improve your career prospects or just expand your horizons". The Independent (London). p. 19. 
  10. ^ Davis, Caroline (27 October 2000). "Upfront Cash Replaces Quotas". The Times Higher Education Supplement. 
  11. ^ Lacey, Hester (22 November 2001). "Postgraduates: A new star in the capital city". The Independent (London). p. 9. 
  12. ^ Crockett, Kate (12 October 2002). "Rise: On course: When student bullies try to ruin your university life: You can stop your tormentors' behaviour and regain control". The Guardian (London). p. 6. 
  13. ^ Brown, Tim (19 March 2004). "What Will The Code Of Practice Really Mean?". The Times Higher Education Supplement. p. 12. 
  14. ^ Wojtas, Olga (19 August 2005). "Hate Law Threat To Academic Freedom". The Times Higher Education Supplement. p. 4. 
  15. ^ "Postdocs cover for teaching shortfall". The Times Higher Education Supplement. 2 November 2006. p. 8. 
  16. ^ Radnofsky, Louise (24 August 2007). "Call to guard standards against fee grab". The Times Higher Education Supplement. p. 4. 
  17. ^ "Postgraduates strike back". The Times Higher Education Supplement. 16 June 1995. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]