The Privy Council has announced that St Mary’s University, Twickenham has received Research Degree Awarding Powers (RDAP), with effect from 1st April 2021.
RDAP allows the University to confer research degrees to students, such as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil). The awarding of RDAP is the final stage of St Mary’s achieving full Degree Awarding Powers, having achieved Taught Degree Awarding Powers in 2006 and its full University title in 2014.
The achievement of RDAP is a significant quality marker in respect of research provision, the research environment, staff capability and the quality of research at St Mary’s. It is a recognition from the wider academic community, nationally and internationally, of the University’s research and academic excellence and it is a launch pad for St Mary’s to continue its growth.
St Mary’s has a strong and thriving research culture. Academics and students at the University are engaged in research in a diverse range of subjects including the crimes of modern slavery and human exploitation, developing exercise equipment for astronauts on the International Space Station, the sociology of religion, and end of life care amongst much more.
The formal process of applying for RDAP began in 2017 and saw St Mary’s welcome a team of observers from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). They met with staff and research students from across the University to understand the research culture and observed over 50 meetings and committees to ensure that St Mary’s upheld the most stringent academic standards.
In their report to the Privy Council, the QAA found that St Mary’s governance was “well prepare, managed, and chaired” and that the “Senior Management Team’s approach to tackling challenging issues is characterised by a dynamic combination of care and determination.
“The University’s strategic plan articulates the University’s values as a series of key ambitions and targets, including the acquisition of RDAP. It also sets forth a programme of educational and physical development and establishes a clear and ambitious vision for the University.”
Speaking of the awarding of RDAP, St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor Anthony McClaran said, “It’s gratifying to see St Mary’s receive Research Degree Awarding Powers. When we set ourselves this ambitious target in our Strategic Plan, we wanted to give St Mary’s the foundations on which to base its future stability and growth. Achieving this target is a great recognition of the quality of the research conducted by our staff and students, and the standards they uphold as an academic community.”
St Mary’s Provost Prof John Charmley added, “I look forward to seeing the research culture at St Mary’s grow and broaden as we welcome more research students from across our academic portfolio. This is the culmination of many years work from staff across the University, and I would like to thank everyone for their contributions, particularly the Research Office, without whom this would not have been possible.”