Review of the involvement of PRISMs in the 2023 UKRI/EPSRC CDT call

Report by Dr Susie Douglas and the PRISM network committee, April 2024

Download the report here [PDF]


This report presents and discusses the results of a survey carried out by the PRISM network in Autumn 2023, to understand the involvement of its members in the 2023 UKRI and EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) calls.

The survey aimed to explore the impact of UKRI’s decision to explicitly welcome non-academic staff, including PRISMs as co-investigators (co-Is) on the bids (both at the outline and full stages). PRISMs were also involved, for the first time, in the peer review process for these CDT proposals.

PRISMs contributed to a wide range of processes in CDT bid preparation. There was significant variation between teams and institutions in this involvement. There was also significant variation in the willingness of teams, principal investigators (PIs) and institutions to list a PRISM as co-I.

Where PRISMs were included in bid development and assessment, they found this experience valuable to develop their understanding of the research environment. Being named on an application is a formal recognition of PRISMs’ contributions to these grants and this can be very helpful to a PRISM’s career.

It is important to emphasise that from the survey, and numerous conversations with PRISMs and broader CDT teams, the highly active role that PRISMs play in CDT bid development and the ongoing operation of CDTs is fundamental to delivery. As well as specific expertise in doctoral training provision and research provided by dedicated CDT staff, PRISMs have experience and knowledge of the wider university environment thus facilitating interaction with the multitude of agents who are involved in the broader CDT functions. This knowledge is also vital in preparing competitive funding proposals.

PRISMs in any role have accumulated expertise over many years operating in the academic research environment and recognition of this is vital to career development, as is ensuring long-term, stable employment contracts. Naming PRISMs on grants is a vital step in this ambition and goal now is to build on this to deliver a stronger and better quality research environment for all.

Download the report here [PDF]

Introduction to PRISMS in CDTs: day-in-the-life, value added, support needed [PDF]
Last edited: 19 April 2024

Susie Douglas