Training and research skills

Accessing training for your individual circumstances will help you to complete your research on time and achieve your personal and professional development goals. 

Accessing training resources and providers 

A variety of professional services contribute to your personal and professional development: 

Organisational Development and Professional Learning (OD&PL) are the University’s primary training and development provider.  They provide short courses, one-to-one advice, coaching, mentoring, personal development planning and online resources for PGRs and staff.  They have developed a new programme of events for this year; for more information about the workshops, as well as other resources available through OD&PL please visit the ‘Developmental Workshops for PGRs’ page of the OD&PL website

Researcher@Library offers workshops and webinars for support with literature searching, open access, research data management, using EndNote, and increasing the visibility of your research.

LinkedIn Learning offers over 5000 short courses across business, creative, technical specialties and research software and coding. All students and staff have access to LinkedIn Learning via through our institutional subscription. You do not need to have a LinkedIn account to access the content, but if you do, you can connect your account, which will allow you to publish your course completions to your profile. There is also the Doctoral College collection, bringing together our resources and recommended external courses. 

The Careers Centre offer guidance and support for issues which are specific to PGRs, including: 

  • Deciding what to do after your research degree
  • Destinations of PGRs; what have graduates in your area gone on to do?  
  • What the job market looks like for researchers 
  • Planning a career in academia, or the many alternative paths open to PGRs 

You can book a one-to-one appointment with a Career Consultant to talk through any questions you might have. 

You may also find it useful to look at the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), a reference point for researcher development widely used in the UK and internationally. The RDF was developed by Vitae, the UK’s national organisation for the development of researchers. The University of Leeds is a member of Vitae: you can set up an account using your university email address which will provide you with access to the full resources of their website. 

Your school or faculty will also offer support, and you can also ask to meet with the Director of Postgraduate Research Studies for your school to review progress and any matters of concern.  

Getting started with your training 

Training and development plan 

Having an effective training plan will help you to make the most of the training opportunities available during your research degree. It is worth taking time to create, review and revisit your plan. Please discuss your needs with your supervisor and make sure you record your training plan on GRAD within three months of starting your studies. You can find out more information about this on the Training Plan page of the For Students website.

Key training courses 

These are the key courses to help you understand the requirements and stages of your research degree. You should refer to these in your first few weeks and months of starting your research degree, but you can also come back to them at any time throughout your studies. 

Doctoral College induction programme 

This will help you to understand the requirements of the first stages of your research degree and the journey to transfer. You can access the programme via the Induction and Welcome page of the For Students website.

Working with your supervisor

This course will help you to develop and maintain an effective working relationship with your supervisor. This will help you to make the most of your supervision meetings through planning and preparation and develop strategies for dealing with current challenges or anticipating future ones.  The course is accessed via a Microsoft sway.  

Data Management training and support 

You should have a data management plan in place by no later than the transfer stage, and your plan will be checked again during your annual progress reviews. You can find help and guidance on the Library Research Support website including a number of courses to help you with research data management.  The Library Research Data Management team are available if you need help and advice on

Academic integrity, research integrity and research ethics training 

This training will develop your awareness of what research integrity is, how that relates to research ethics and to help you to apply these principles as you conduct your research.  The ethics tutorial outlines the importance of considering the ethical implications of your research and will help you write an ethics application.   

The PGR academic integrity tutorial will give you an overview of academic integrity, and what good academic practice means during your research degree at Leeds.  The tutorial will take about 20 minutes to complete and at the end there is a test to check your understanding.  

You can read more about both strands of training and access the resources via the Academic integrity and research integrity and research ethics training page on the For Students website

Developing your Academic Writing 

In partnership with the Language Centre, OD&PL currently offer three workshops to help PGRs with their academic writing. Each workshop is suitable for a different stage of your research degree:  

  • The Beginning Thesis Writer - for PGRs who are at the beginning of their studies (pre-transfer). 
  • The Developing Thesis Writer - for PGRs who are post-transfer or mid-way through their studies.  
  • The Finishing Thesis Writer - for PGRs who are in the process of drafting their thesis for submission. 

You can find dates for the next sessions by searching for the courses on the Training catalogue website

English Language 

During your first year of study (pre-transfer and ideally in the first six months), the Language Centre offers optional courses to help with your academic English language development. This includes core Language Skills courses and workshops, and one-to-one writing consultations. 

Key Travel 

The Purchasing team run a regular training webinar for PGRs on using the Key Travel online booking tool covering how to create an itinerary, how to book and the approvals process. Register online

Later on in your research degree 

Post-transfer to completion 

Once you are through transfer, this course will help you think about the next stage in your research degree. As your research develops, you are likely to identify additional training needs. You should also actively look for professional development opportunities, such as conference presentations, teaching or outreach work. 

There are four parts to the Post-transfer to completion course: 

Your situation 

Your professional development

Preparing your thesis: The logistics 

Your viva 

Preparing for Your Viva 

Guidance on the viva, including video streamed vivas, is available in the Viva collection section in LinkedIn Learning. Simply use your usual University details to log in. 

You can experience a short mock viva by participating in a Your Viva workshop. Information about the workshop and how to book is available via ODPL’s Postgraduate Research Professional Development opportunities web page

If you are unable to attend the workshop, or you particularly want to experience answering viva questions in a video streamed environment, you can request a mock viva by emailing Please indicate in your email that you would like a mock viva and why you are requesting it.  You are also entitled to ask your supervisor to do a mock viva with you; support from OD&PL is offered in addition to any support from your supervisor.