Computerised tips for postgraduate research

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The Independent Online
A DATABASE to guide students through the maze of postgraduate research will be introduced from April next year.

Tips on how to write a research proposal, how to get funding and how to choose the right supervisor will be provided by a new Graduate Information Centre.

At present, prospective research students have to work out for themselves which of 30,000 supervisors would best suit the area they want to study and many give up or go elsewhere.

Promoters of the new centre say numbers of home and overseas postgraduates, already more than 160,000, will increase dramatically once students have easy access to information about supervisors. Universities, who will pay to be on the computerised list, will earn more from overseas students' fees and will be able to improve ratings for research because they are attracting more high-calibre students.

Professor David Warner, the project manager, who is pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Central England, said: 'There is a very large number of overseas students who, after three months of trying to penetrate the British system, give up and go to the more user-friendly systems in the States or Canada. We could be talking about a three-fold increase in numbers. You are talking about big money. I reckon every institution will want to join.'

The centre will employ qualified staff to answer inquiries using a database listing potential supervisors and 10 fields of expertise for each. It will send out graduate prospectuses and application forms and supply a book on graduate study.