A research student uses facilities in Chemistry

Research Training

The Graduate School provides an extensive programme of research training for postgraduate researchers in science and technology. Our training sessions are mapped against Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework. There’s a range of sessions 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 a number of 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 it is highly recommended 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.

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 own 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 programme, 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 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 clearer sense of the way ahead. The day nourishes a sense of inner well-being while creating clarity in how to move forwards.

    Resilience and the PhD engages participants in what resilience 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, informally to your research group or to members of your department or more formally at conferences outside of the University, so it's always good to think about developing these skills whilst you're studying for your PhD.

    We offer a number of activities to support you in developing confidence in the presentation of your research. These sessions are facilitated by Steve Hutchinson, who's been working with us for a number of years, and are always popular. They run once a year and include:


    Effective Conference Presentations: Be Better than Boring Bullet Points 

    Have you ever seen a really great presenter and wondered how they do what they do? Giving a great presentation is largely 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 audio visuals effectively and so avoid PowerPointlessness


    Getting Noticed in a Crowd: Producing an Effective Research Poster

    This workshop has been designed for researchers who present research posters at academic conferences. Perhaps you’ve presented a poster before, and it hasn’t had quite the impact you were hoping for?

    Perhaps you just 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.

    The session will explore:

    Understanding the purpose of a poster and considering what makes or an affective one.

    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

    The current academic climate would seem to suggest that it is our duty to 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.

    In order 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 with engaging outside your normal 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

    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. 

    Conference and Events Organising for Researchers

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

    In order to deliver a high-quality event, it is crucial that organisers execute a sequence of well-planned actions in advance, leaving plenty of time to solve any problems that arise unexpectedly. There are now a number of 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 own event ideas throughout. This workshop is popular with students, researchers and professional staff at universities. 

  • Writing your PhD and completing on time

    Writing Scientific Papers

    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 the way in which 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 elements that go to make up a good paper. 

    International Student Writing Groups

    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 gives you the opportunity 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. 

    Write here, right now writing retreats

    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.

  • Careers Development

    We offer a programme of careers sessions aimed specifically 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 our Careers website, which can be accessed at any time and where you can also book one-to-one sessions with a careers consultant.

  • Quantitative Methods

    Mathematics and Statistics Short Courses

    The Mathematics & Statistics Department offers a programme of short courses, available to all PGRs. Find out more here.

  • Digital Skills

    Digital Skills

    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.

  • The Library

    The Library

    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.  


  • 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 intergrity course

Contact Us

Simon Vaukins

Dr Simon Vaukins

Faculty Graduate School Manager

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