Conflict resolution support for graduate research students

From time to time, conflicts may arise between graduate research students and their supervisors. Such conflicts may relate to concerns about research progress or concerns about research supervision. Early resolution of these issues can help promote a more open and trusting supervisory relationship. Sometimes a student or supervisor may not be aware that an issue exists until it is brought directly to their attention, so it is important to address concerns informally and as soon as possible - before they escalate. Grievances may also exist between students, or between the supervisory team.

The University's rules and policies state that each Department/School should work to ensure that conflicts which arise between a supervisor and student are quickly resolved. The Grievance Resolution process detailed below supports Level 1 of the Complaints Resolution Procedure for Students and Members of the Public and is recommended as an informal tool to help with your situation.

Parties undergoing the Grievance Resolution process may seek the support of an Accredited Mediator (National Mediation Accreditation System) from any step in the process following step one below. Students or supervisors may also request a 1:1 consultation with a mediator to confidentially discuss their situation before deciding to proceed with the meditation process (email: Details regarding steps of the mediation process are outlined in in the Mediation Guide. Parties may also contact the Academic Director or Operations Director of Graduate Research for assistance or clarification of graduate research policy and procedures.

If the grievance involves sexual harassment and/or assault this must be reported in accordance with the Student Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Procedure. For any grievance where the complainant’s safety is threatened, report this using the Inappropriate and Unwanted Behaviour form and consult Level 2 of the Complaints Resolution Procedure for Students and Members of the Public.

Grievance Resolution  

Graduate research grievances are to be resolved through the following steps. For students whose supervisor has a formal role in step 2-4 of this resolution process and with whom there is a dispute, the Department/School or Faculty will appoint an alternative staff member to assist in the role.

Step 1: Discuss issues of concern with your supervisor or supervisory team member. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this discussion, or you are not comfortable with a direct conversation, go to Step 2.

Step 2: Discuss the issues with either the Departmental/School Director of HDR or HDR panel, MRes Advisor, or Head of Department/School for resolution. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of Step 2, go to Step 3.

Step 3: If further assistance is required, you or both parties involved may request to recruit a GRA mediator to assist in a possible resolution following the Mediation Guide. Requests for mediation may be obtained by emailing If an agreement is not reached, go to Step 4.

Step 4: Formal complaint resolution through Level 2 of the Complaints Resolution Procedure for Students and Members of the Public.

For additional support during this process, students can speak with Student Advocacy for free, confidential, and independent information and advice.