Why Do Development Training?
We recommend that you undertake a programme of skills training alongside any research methods you need to acquire and the rest of your work towards your doctorate. With the advent of the Covid-19 crisis, we are moving more of these training events online so that they are accessible to all early stage researchers. Here are some skills that you may need to develop before or soon after you graduate:
• Organising your time whilst you are a research student, as well as prioritizing and protecting your work life balance
• Managing your research project so that it is completed on time and fulfils the criteria for passing your viva
• Becoming familiar with all the library resources and information technologies that are available to help you with your research
• Writing your thesis, as well as writing chapters and articles in academic or professional publications or producing other research outputs which will be in the public domain
• Understanding about copyright and intellectual property rights as well as about Creative Commons and Open Access/Open Science and how they apply to your work
• Giving presentations and seminars in your department and presenting your work at conferences, both on and off line.
• Working in a team with other people, especially if your study for your thesis does not involve this
• Learning how to teach about your academic specialism
• Explaining to a lay audience why your research matters
• Demonstrating on your CV what you’ve learned from preparing for and writing your thesis.
Roughly half of those who study for a doctorate actually go on to be employed as researchers, with less half of that group becoming university teachers and/or researchers but others will go into a variety of different kinds of work. Employers look for people with skills that can be applied in a work environment, and when they interview you, they will certainly ask you about much more than just the details of your research. They are more interested in what transferable skills you have learned than about your thesis content per se.
Working as a postgraduate researcher is a hard but very rewarding experience that is likely to have an impact on the rest of your working life, which as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, may be very different to what went before. To make the most of your research degree studies, you need to develop a range of skills that not only help with the process of completing the PhD but that will help the development of your future career, in whatever field that may be. Widely applicable skills training is an important part of the process of preparing yourself for future employment and for using the research knowledge and skills you will have acquired for the benefit of society.
Professor Rosemary Deem, Doctoral School Director (Quality, Enhancement and Inclusion)
Training Requirements for MPhil and PhD
All students are required to complete an average of a minimum of five days of researcher development training per academic year over their first three years of full-time study (pro-rata for part-time students) with a total of fifteen days across three years of study. Some departments may specify a higher number of days. Activities such as conference posters and papers may be counted towards this total at the discretion of departments.
Students funded by organisations such as the Research Councils which require them to complete a Training Needs Analysis and Training Log in the organisation’s format do not have to complete the Royal Holloway documents in addition. In these circumstances the organisation’s Analysis and Log may be used instead of Royal Holloway’s to avoid the student having to complete two sets of documentation.
This training requirement can be fulfilled through:
- Taking courses on the Researcher Development Programme - both face-to-face and online courses;
- Departmental courses which offer developmental and generic skills training (subject-specific training courses cannot be used to meet the requirements);
- By attending courses at other institutions e.g. University of London; Kingston University, and Senate House;
- Completion of modules from the inSTIL teacher-training programme (which can only be taken when you are teaching at the College);
- Attendance at reading groups such as HARC.
In addition, certain research activities may be counted towards your research training requirement. For instance,
- submission of conference paper abstract: half day;
- presentation of poster at conference: half day;
- presentation of conference paper: 1.5 days;
- submission of paper or book chapter for publication: 2 days;
- organisation of conference as part of a committee; 2 days
- volunteer to help at a conference for one day: 1 day.
Your department may also specify other activities which count towards the research training requirement (contact your Director of Graduate Studies for details).