Back to PhD skills training

98 per cent of participants would recommend our Research Developer sessions to other researchers

Facilities and support

Dedicated PhD skills training

We are committed to ensuring that research students are given full and rounded training – whether you wish to progress into an academic career or transfer your skills into the commercial or public sector.

Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

The Researcher Development Programme offers an extensive choice of training events exclusively designed for doctoral and early career contract researchers, across all campuses. Last year over 1,500 doctoral students engaged in our programme across more than 150 workshops.

The programme is aimed at enhancing understanding and professionalism for undertaking a higher-level research project, leading to successful and timely project completion and progression in a chosen career – in academia or beyond. Traditional subjects such as understanding the doctoral process, project-management, writing a thesis, and presenting a conference paper are covered in workshop-based activities. The Researcher Development Programme is also designed to prepare researchers for the wider context of global research and employment. Activities include guest lectures, researcher-led activities, expert panel discussions, competitive funding for development, the impact of research, public understanding of research, entrepreneurship and moving on in your career.

Example workshops include:

  • Making the most of the relationship with your supervisor
  • Avoiding plagiarism and academic misconduc
  • Publishing your research in journals
  • Networking and teambuilding – take to the trees!
  • Preparing for your viva
  • Careers in academia
  • Visualising data: how to present your data accurately in research
  • Making the most of conferences

In conjunction with the Universities of Bristol and Bath as part of the South West Doctoral Training Centre we also offer a series of e-learning modules designed to support skills development for early career researchers who are unable to attend face-to-face workshops. The online modules cover the essentials, from Starting your Doctorate through to Preparing for the Viva.


All research students have the opportunity to create an eProfile. This is an online 'window' on your academic life as an early-stage professional researcher. It provides you with an opportunity to showcase your research progress, ideas and wider academic interests. Your pages follow a professionally-designed template and you have your own unique web address. Further details can be found on the eProfiles website.

Other training and development opportunities

Other training and skills development opportunities for both taught and research students include the Teaching and Research Assistantship schemes. More details about these schemes can be found on our Funding for Research Students pages on the Scholarships and Bursaries site.