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Graduate School Research Development Programme (RDP)

The RDP is a training programme that is designed to enhance your research skills and capacity during your postgraduate studies, providing you with vital transferable skills for when you have graduated.

This is increasingly important in a competitive market place for those seeking jobs both within Higher Education (HE) and beyond.

All of the courses we provide enable the development of skills that are highlighted as vital for researchers in the Researcher Development Statement (RDS) - this is the key reference statement for the development of researchers as endorsed by Research Councils UK.

Four domains encompass what researchers need, to be effective in their research, when working with others, and in contributing to the wider society and environment. Information on what skills you can expect to develop from each course is detailed in the RDP course list.

Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
e.g. Scientific Research Methods
Domain B: personal Effectiveness
e.g. Managing your PhD
Domain C: research Governance and organisation
e.g. Writing grant proposals and getting funding
Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
e.g. Communicating your research to non-specialists

We also offer specific courses for international students such as the International Student Writing group and Writing Skills for International Students.

The Researcher Development framework (RDF) provides more detail on the Four Domains and is a major new approach for researcher development. It is a tool for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers undertaking postgraduate level research through to postdoctoral research and early-career research.

As a Faculty we are using it to ensure our research training meets the needs of Research Councils in the UK, as well as the needs of the wider society. We hope that as individuals you will also engage with the RDF as it articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of researchers and encourages everyone to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development.

For more information on the RDF and how it can help you as a researcher, got to

Why bother?

We offer courses that will enable you to get the best out of your PhD, and provide you with extra skills that you will need in the future. We offer courses in a flexible style (including self-learning) so even if you have a lot of lab commitments you should still have time to attend courses.

All research councils now expect PhD students to achieve at least 20 training credits each year in recognition that there is more to being an effective researcher than simply knowing your subject matter.

How to book

This year we have a new self-enrolment system through the Student Portal.

  1. Click on the Student Portal link from the University homepage
  2. Login with your university username and password
  3. Select 'Event Sign Up' on the left hand navigation bar
  4. Select and enrol on the courses you wish to attend
  5. Once courses are full, they will become greyed out and unavailable for booking. Overtime due to cancellations, places may become available so make a note to check back at the Event Sign Up page regularly. If you wish to be put on the waiting list then please email The Graduate School.

    Many of our courses have a limited number of places, so book early to avoid disappointment. You will be kept up to date on the available courses by email throughout the year to your university registered email address.

What do I do if I can't attend a course that I have booked onto?

By cancelling in advance we can reallocate your place to someone on the waiting list, and amend catering accordingly (where applicable).