Postgraduate research training and development

We are committed to supporting the personal and professional development of all our researchers, and enabling them to complete their research on time, achieve academic outputs for example in publication and conference presentation and to achieve their employment aspirations.

Our commitment to researcher training and development

The training and development of postgraduate researchers is an important part of our aim to deliver a world class postgraduate experience. We offer a wide range of personal and professional opportunities to support you through your research degree and on into your future career. The aim of the development activity is to encourage researchers to develop their research performance, employability, professionalism and engagement with society. There has never been a greater need for original, creative and innovative research and we hope your research degree combines research skills and knowledge with wider opportunities to prepare for employment and realise your ambitions.

Support for researchers includes our Graduate training and support centre (part of the Staff and Departmental Development Unit) including faculty facing research development staff, the library, IT and the Careers Centre.

Excellence in research

We are committed to supporting your personal development. In December 2010, we achieved the "HR Excellence in Research" award from the European Commission in recognition of our commitment to ensuring good working conditions and career development for researchers. Our provision is also guided by national initiatives such as the Researcher development Statement and Framework and the Researcher Concordat.

Courses and workshops

As a researcher at Leeds you can benefit from an outstanding range of training opportunities, courses and workshops, supporting you through every step of your research degree from induction to the final PhD Viva, through academic writing and presentation and wider employability skills including the opportunity to take part in our annual postgraduate research conference. Full details of the courses and workshops on offer from all our providers can be found here.

Personal development plan

You will be encouraged to keep a training plan and a personal development plan. During your induction, you will be given more information about the tools available to help you develop these plans.

Training and development plan

Having an effective training plan will help you to complete your doctorate on time and with minimum stress. It is worth taking time to plan, review and revisit your plan. Research students arrive with us with different levels of experience so our training and development activity is tailored to your needs. Please discuss your needs with your supervisor, agree a training plan and record it on the PDR within one month of starting your studies. Your supervisor will monitor your progress regularly, as a minimum as part of the first formal report, the progress report: transfer stage then annually.

National researcher development framework

The national researcher development framework (RDF) and associated Researcher Development Statement (RDS) (supported by the UK Research Councils) has been developed to help researchers consider their own personal and professional development. This acts, in many ways as a reference point underpinning our training and development provision for researchers.

The RDF identifies skills and attributes of researchers in four broad areas:
  • Knowledge and abilities
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Research governance and organisation
  • Engagement, influence and impact

For further information on how our provision relates to the RDF visit the Graduate Training and support Centre website.

Training and development: a step-by-step guide

  1. Analyse your training and development needs: the University of Leeds training and development needs analysis is based on the national RDF. Use the training and development needs analysis tool in the PDR to help you consider your training needs within the context of your research degree and your future career. This helps you to track your progress.
  2. Identifying the opportunities that suit your needs: there are many opportunities available to researchers including workshops, seminars, practice and feedback opportunities and learning from experienced colleagues. Details of all opportunities across the university can be found here 
  3. Planning your training and development: Discuss your needs with your supervisor and agree a training plan. This plan should include the skills you want to develop, clear and achievable targets for completing training activities and where you will access the opportunities. A training plan is personal and based on your own self-analysis so it should be more than a commitment to attend a series of courses offered by your university. The plan should be recorded in the PDR, either using the “my training plan” tab so you can track progress or you can upload your training plan as a document.
  4. Recording and reflecting on your training and development: Most of the workshops and events you take here will automatically appear in the PDR but you will need to record some training yourself, especially any training provided outside the University. There is also some private space to record your reflections on training.