Skills Development

This section of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes (RDPs) relates to Indicator 14 of the UK Quality Code, Chapter B11: Research Degrees.

The University is responsible for ensuring access to a range of personal, professional, and skills development opportunities for research students.  In collaboration with Schools, academic support units and external consultants, a range of training and development interventions are made available to postgraduate research students throughout the period of their RDPs.  Research students must comply with the University’s training requirements for their specific RDP, the training requirements of their funding body, and any compulsory or recommended training requirements in their School to facilitate teaching or lab demonstration requirements, as appropriate.  Full-time research students are expected to undertake 30 days of training and development activity throughout the course of their RDP.

Central Training and Resources

The Graduate School enables students to access transferable and employability skills training and development opportunities through the Postgraduate Development Programme (PGDP), which maps onto the skills areas outlined in the national Researcher Development Framework.  The PGDP (guidelines available here) includes training courses, online learning, personal effectiveness programmes, developmental activity, and one to one consultancy and advice.

The Graduate School supports students and academic staff in relation to Postgraduate Researcher Development Planning.  Students in the first year of their RDP (ideally within the first two months of registration) should plan their initial development aims and objectives.  Personal Development Planning should be carried out in conjunction with the student’s supervisory team, to agree the training and development requirements that need to be fulfilled in relation to their RDP.  Students then take responsibility for undertaking the relevant development activity and recording the completion of aims and objectives on their Postgraduate Researcher Development Plan and Qsis record.  Personal Development Plans should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis with the supervisory team, and discussed during Annual Progress Reviews.   

The Queen’s Researcher Plus award provides official recognition of transferable skills and assists researchers in demonstrating them to employers.

A range of on-line learning tools is currently available within the Postgraduate Development Programme.

Subject-Specific Training

Whilst opportunities for skills development are integrated in the RDPs, Schools may provide additional subject-specific training.  This may include formal training courses or research methods modules which students may be required to complete as part of the formal training requirements.  For example, PGR students may enrol on up to two postgraduate taught modules for training purposes, subject to School approval.  Students should also be made aware of training opportunities which may be delivered by Research Councils or other Professional Bodies.  Subject to available funding and through agreement with the student’s supervisor, Schools should ensure that students have a reasonable opportunity to attend or participate in conferences and seminars which further their research as well as enhance their professional skills.

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