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Research Training

The Graduate School provides an extensive programme of research training for postgraduate researchers in science and technology. We map our training sessions against Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework. There’s a range of classes on offer, to give you the time to think about how to maintain your wellbeing through the PhD experience and to help you prepare to present your research at conferences. We also offer several writing sessions to help you find the space to get your thesis done and careers to sessions to guide you in thinking about what comes next.

These training sessions are not compulsory, but we highly recommend that you attend some training sessions during your PhD. For further information and to register for these sessions, please see the Postgraduate Research Training Calendar.

The University’s Code of Practice for Research Students is an important document which contains a lot of useful information. This document which includes sections on the responsibilities of students and supervisors, student progress and development and other relevant issues, together with links to other web pages that may be useful to you. Please read it. You supervisor should also have read it.

If you have suggestions for workshops that we might offer or other ways that we might help to support your PhD experience, please get in touch.

What We Offer


  • Researcher Development Framework

    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 Graduate School Research Training course list. 

    The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) provides more detail on the Four Domains. 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.

    Research Development Framework

  • Wellbeing and Resilience

    While a large part of PhD development focuses on the 'doing' aspects of the PhD, it is often the struggle to manage the experience of doing a PhD that impacts on resilience and well-being. A coaching approach to support well-being and resilience means engaging with the individual's experience in a way that empowers them to have more awareness of their situation, where they can be making choices, and how they can build up trust and confidence in themselves. This is the essence of coaching - enabling someone to be at their best to reach their potential in ways that they define. This means that while a coaching approach invites a process of stepping back, it also engages PGRs directly in the content of the challenges they face (whether those challenges are specific to the PhD or their wider life).

    We offer two one-day coaching sessions as part of the resilience and wellbeing strand of our research training program, with each being facilitated by a certified coach, Will Medd. Find out more about Will’s background by visiting his website.   

    Our sessions include: 

    Pause with Purpose 

    Vitae RDF Domain B

    Holding together the paradoxical relationship of resting in presence while tapping into the power of imagining what’s possible, the day involves a combination of experiential exercises, relaxation, and meditation to learn to step back, take stock, experience alternative perspectives, explore common challenges and identify a more definite sense of the way ahead. The day nourishes a sense of inner well-being while creating clarity in how to move forward.

    Resilience and the PhD

    Vitae RDF Domain B

    Engages participants in what resistance means to them and includes: looking at balance, personal vision, identify and manage self-limiting beliefs, exploring the power of perspective, being confident, identifying goals that are meaningful and motivating, designing strategies that link aspirations to everyday practice in ways that nourish well-being.

    You can register for these sessions by using the links above, which will take you to the research training calendar. 

  • Presenting your Research

    There will be times during your PhD where you will be asked to present your research. These presentations may be informally to your research group or members of your department or more formally at conferences outside of the University. It's always good to think about developing these skills while you're studying for your PhD.

    We offer several activities to support you in developing confidence in the presentation of your research. These sessions are facilitated by Hutchinson Training and Development. These sessions are run once a year and include:

    Effective Conference Presentations: Be Better than Boring Bullet Points 

    Vitae RDF Domain D

    Have you ever seen a great presenter and wondered how they do what they do? Giving an excellent presentation is mainly about practice, but there are many things that you can learn to do that will improve your stage presence and the way that you connect with a conference audience. The session will focus on your needs and explore tricks, tips and techniques of great presenters – and at times the context will be research presentations. Although the themes of the session will come from your needs, requests and questions, by the end of the workshop you should be able to:

    • Deliver a message the audience will respond to, and guide an audience through dense and difficult material
    • Build a rapport with an audience
    • Handle questions with confidence
    • Show a confident stage presence, project your voice more effectively and deal with nervousness
    • Use audiovisuals effectively and so avoid PowerPointlessness

    Getting Noticed in a Crowd: Producing an Effective Research Poster

    Vitae RDF Domain D

    This workshop has been designed for researchers who present research posters at academic conferences. Perhaps you’ve submitted a poster before, and it hasn’t had quite the impact you were hoping for? Perhaps you want to get it right from the start? Regardless of your experience base, this workshop will explore how to communicate your research in a simple form that will attract an audience and keep them interested. Specifically, we will consider:

    • Content - how much is just right?
    • Text, layout and colour – What size, font and style is best and what will work for your material?
    • Story – how to communicate your research clearly and simply.

    Engagement, Impact and Communicating with Non-Specialists

    Vitae RDF Domain D

    The current academic climate would seem to suggest that we must disseminate our research more widely than into the usual channels of journals, conferences, papers and posters. Moreover, the ‘impact’ agenda is one of the biggest fundamental shifts in research policy of recent times. This workshop is written around helping you to understand the “why”, the “what” and the “how” of impact, engagement, and communicating with diverse audiences. To do this effectively, there are some key things that you need to know:

    • How do you simplify research without over-generalising? What level should you pitch at? Who is your audience anyway? Who are “the public” anyway?
    • What are the pitfalls and challenges inherent in engaging outside your regular target groups?
    • What is impact all about and how can we start to engage with the impact agenda?
    • How can you make your research appear (even more) fun and exciting?

    This workshop will address these questions.


  • Managing your Research

    Project Management (for the PhD and beyond): The questions to ask and the least you need to know

    Vitae RDF Domain C

    Within your research career, you are likely to organise, analyse and present an enormous amount of information. You will also have to manage your time, set goals and review progress – and probably working with others to encourage them to do the same. This set of skills is often placed under the heading of “Project Management” and is highly sought by a wide variety of employers. 

    By the end of the session participants should be able to: 

    • Understand the criteria for successful project management and also consider why some projects fail 
    • Understand, evaluate and implement various tools to help research planning and communication of that plan 
    • Appreciate the importance of stakeholder and risk analysis 

    Regardless of whether your PhD is based in a multinational team and collecting data, or you by yourself evolving an idea, this course will be a productive and valuable way to spend a day. 

    Time management, motivation and prioritising your workload

    Vitae RDF Domains B, C and D

    Time management and motivation are not about working more; it’s about working smarter. This half-day workshop, delivered by Electv, is explicitly designed for researchers who are interested in developing their time management skills and optimising their working hours. With research activities, keeping up with the literature, publishing, tutoring and writing to consider, it can be challenging for researchers to fit everything in. How do you finish everything when you’re under pressure? Why is there never enough time to do what you want to do?

    In this workshop, participants will be introduced to techniques to optimise their time and discuss working patterns with others. Participants will evaluate what they currently spend their time on, what they would like to prioritise, how to measure their progress, and how to keep motivated by considering what works best for them. The workshop will include individual exercises, short presentations from the instructor, group discussions and examples of good practice.

    Event management: conference and events planning

    Vitae RDF Domains C and D

    This workshop, delivered by Electv, is designed for staff and students who are interested in planning events, seminars or conferences. Organising and managing a conference allows researchers to boost their profile, develop new skills and to meet other academics in their field. The skills and knowledge that are generated can be used in a variety of roles and careers outside academia too. 

    To deliver a high-quality event, organisers must execute a sequence of well-planned actions in advance, leaving plenty of time to solve any problems that arise unexpectedly. There are now several free online tools and event marketing systems, such as Eventbrite, that can be used to help you manage your conference so that you can achieve maximum impact and attract delegates. 

    The workshop is designed to cover event planning and design, management, finance, venues, online tools, marketing and promotion, attracting sponsorship and post-event actions. The content is taught via short lectures, demonstrations of free online tools and interactive group exercises, in addition to case studies and the instructor’s own experience. Participants are encouraged to share their event ideas throughout. This workshop is popular with students, researchers and professional staff at universities. 

  • Writing your PhD and completing on time

    Write here, right now writing retreats

    Vitae RDF Domain B

    Write here, right now offers a combination of retreat to create space to write, and live coaching experiments to explore different approaches to the experience of writing.  It aims to explore what happens if you unlock the possibility of enjoying your writing. 

    Key areas covered will be: 

    • keeping motivated in your writing and managing the things that get in the way 
    • finding the right mood and strategies to keep writing even when you don’t feel like it 
    • identifying what you are committed to in your writing 

    You’ll also come away having spent some focused time writing for your PhD.

    Thesis writing boot camp: planning, finishing and avoiding pitfalls

    Vitae RDF Domains A and D

    This half-day workshop, delivered by Electv, explores the practicalities of thesis writing, including planning techniques, appropriate writing style, and how to make writing more productive. At the start of the workshop, students are encouraged to share and discuss the challenges associated with writing, before we start debating structure and expectations.

    A variety of writing and productivity techniques are introduced, and this is complemented by a discussion of software tools that can be helpful. A section on data presentation is also included, and examples of good figures are used to illustrate best practice. By the end of the workshop, students will have a clear understanding of what is required of their thesis, they will have initiated their writing, considered the potential pitfalls and know how to avoid them and started to design a writing strategy that works for them.

    Writing Scientific Papers

    Vitae RDF Domains A and D

    Publishing is one of the cornerstones of scientific research, and seeing your work in print is one of the most rewarding outcomes of a PhD. In this session, we look at the whole process of writing a scientific paper, from choosing an appropriate journal to the point of final publication. In the first part of this session, we will discuss how publishing in academic journals works. We will think about how to choose the most appropriate journal for your paper, including an appraisal of the various schemes for measuring journal impact and discuss the editorial and peer-review process. The second part covers the art of writing your paper. We discuss elements of article structure and writing style and try to distil out the factors that go to make up an excellent paper. 

    International Student Writing Groups

    Vitae RDF Domains A and B

    This group is for international students in the Faculties of Science and Technology and Health and Medicine who want to improve their scientific research writing and develop more effective editing skills. In each meeting, we discuss drafts of writing from members of the group (papers, proposals, and draft chapters). This allows you to receive peer feedback from other research students and faculty staff with expertise in writing. We focus on organisation, technical explanation, and grammar rather than subject content. When you come to sessions, please be prepared to read and offer feedback on other research students' work. 

  • Careers

    We offer a programme of careers sessions explicitly aimed at PGRs based in the Faculty of Science and Technology, which are a combination of webinars and face-to-face sessions.

    There's also a large amount of help and advice on the University's Careers website, which can be accessed at any time and where you can also book one-to-one sessions with a careers consultant.

    Career options inside higher education

    Are you currently undertaking your PhD and considering a career in academia? Are you wondering what other career options there are for Postgraduate Researchers in a university? This workshop gives you a clear insight into the full range of career opportunities available.

    Career options outside higher education

    Are you part way through your PhD and starting to wonder about what careers are in the public or private sector? Are you considering using your expertise as a consultant and be your boss? If so, this interactive and engaging workshop will give you valuable insights into the variety of careers outside the university - some of which you may not have considered or even have heard about!

    How to write an effective academic CV

    Are you starting to write your first academic CV, or have you already written one, but are finding that when you apply? Then this workshop is for you. This interactive workshop explores the unique focus and structure of the academic CV. The class allows you, using job descriptions from real academic jobs, to learn more about the structure, content and evidence base required. It also includes the chance to review examples of a wide range of academic CVs.

  • Quantitative Methods

    The Mathematics & Statistics Department offers a programme of short courses, including a session on Using R Software, available to all PGRs. You can also download a course list which shows the date and time of each course.

  • The Library and Digital Skills

    Lancaster University Library provides information on the submission of you thesis, your search data management and open access alongside a large amount of other information of its Information for Researchers pages. Visit this page for more information on open access, research data management and requirements for the electronic submission of theses and dissertations. 

    There is a considerable range of digital skills training provided by our ISS department. More details can be found by visiting the Digital Skills Training page. Visit this page for more information on working with Microsoft Office, building online surveys, using software such as SPSS for data analysis and for information on programming in Python and Matlab.

  • Research Ethics

    A research project being conducted by FST staff and/or research students should be submitted to the FSTREC for ethical review if it involves human participants, or other possible ethical risk factors, and is not being reviewed externally.

    For more information please visit the Reseach Ethics page

    You may also be interested in undertaking the online research integrity course.

  • Learning Development in the Faculty of Science and Technology

    Dr Louise Innes and Dr Robert Blake provide academic support for all students in the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST). Their aim is to help students achieve their full potential through effective study practices and good scientific writing. Louise is available Mondays and Tuesdays while Robert is available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For more information please visit the FST Learning Development page

Contact Us

Simon Vaukins

Dr Simon Vaukins

Faculty Graduate School Manager

+44 (0)1524 594922 A035, A - Floor, Science and Technology

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