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The following information provides a basic reference to some legal matters that you may encounter over the time that you act as a graduate supervisor. All supervisors should familiarise themselves with these issues, and what may be expected of both yourselves and your students. This information is reproduced for quick reference only, and more extensive information should be sought where required.

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Health and Safety

Everyone in the University has legal responsibilities for health and safety, and are expected to take reasonable care for their own safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions. The University Health and Safety Office provides guidance on these issues, and information on what staff and students should do to ensure that they meet their obligations.

Key areas covered by the Health and Safety Office that supervisors should be aware of are:

  • working away
  • risk assessment handbook
  • being competent and safe (leaflet)
  • graduate safety induction meetings for science and technology postgraduates
  • personal safety training records - use of this is highly recommended
  • health and safety courses.

The Student Registry position on health and safety matters is provided under Policy and Guidance: Health and Safety.

Further information: Health and Safety Office


Intellectual Property

The University's Intellectual Property policy allows it to fulfill its duty of care of employees and students by requiring disclosure, setting conditions of ownership of intellectual property arising from collaborative environments, and specifying a dispute resolution prcedure to which all parties within the University have access.

The appropriate acknowledgement of the contribution of co-workers and others is an essential part of the candidate's research training; supervisors should make this clear to students. Examiners will expect the original contribution of the candidate to be made plain in the dissertation.

The Intellectual Property policy is part of the Satutes and Ordinances, Chapter XIII section on Intellectual Property Rights, sub-section 14.

You can also access this policy and others related to graduate studies from Policy and Guidance: Intellectual Property Policy

Further information: Statutes and Ordinances: Intellectual Property Rights


Data Protection

The University works within the parameters of the Data Protection Act which sets out rules for processing personal information. A summary of the University's policy for such management of information is provided in Policy and Guidance: Data Protection


Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act applies to all public authorities, which includes the Universities and Colleges of Cambridge. This is observed by the University Council. Further guidance on the observance of the Act is provided Policy and Guidance: Freedom of Information.


Equality and Diversity

The Human Resources Division provides comprehensive information on equality and diversity issues that affect students and staff at the University. A brief overview is provided in Policy and Guidance: Equality and Diversity

Further information: Human Resources: Equality and Diversity


Higher Education Developments in Quality Assurance

A series of reviews of higher education and specifically graduate education are undertaken periodically, including the University's own Review of Graduate Education, last conducted over 2005-2007. National reviews and standards are set by groups including the Quality Assurance Agency, HEFCE and HESA. Further information is available under Policy and Guidance: Higher Education Developments