Researcher Development Programme

This programme consists of workshops, specialist skills sessions, online courses, PhD researcher initiatives and personal development activities

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The Doctoral College at Ulster University wants to ensure that all PhD researchers receive the highest quality of doctoral training.

As a research focused institution, we expect all doctoral researchers to acquire the necessary skills and training to become world-class researchers. This is why we require all PhD researchers to take part in the Researcher Development Programme.

About the programme

The Researcher Development Programme (RDP) at Ulster is an integral part of your doctoral programme.  The RDP is a suite of workshops, specialist skills sessions, online courses and personal development planning activities which will provide you with opportunities to gain the experience and skills required to be a competent and professional researcher. The purpose is two-fold: to help you gain the skills to complete your PhD and to become a professional researcher with transferable skills that will be valued by both academic and non-academic employers in an increasingly interdisciplinary and international context.

Researcher development courses includes training (both online and face-to-face) which covers technical elements, specific to the individual and their project as well as their personal and professional development requirements.  The development opportunities are available at both Doctoral College level and at Faculty level.  The Doctoral College also encourages PhD researchers to establish PhD researcher-led initiatives.

We are committed to delivering a programme that is high quality, flexible and responsive to the needs of our PhD researchers, both full time and part time.

The Researcher Development Programme at Ulster University is informed and guided by the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) which is endorsed by the Research Councils UK, the Quality Assurance Agency and other external stakeholders.

How does the programme work?

The Researcher Development Programme (RDP) is a suite of workshops, specialist skills sessions, online training and personal development planning activities designed for you to gain the experience and skills required to be a competent and professional researcher.  The sessions are delivered by both the Doctoral College and individual Faculties by academics and external facilitators committed to delivering excellence in supporting postgraduate research.

The Researcher Development Programme (RDP) helps you progress through your research studies by identifying your existing skills and providing opportunities to further develop your skills and experience. As well as transferable skills that will make you a successful researcher, the RDP also aims to provide skills that have wider utility which will increase your employability.

Inherent in the RDP is an understanding that different students will come to their PhD different backgrounds and different needs. For example, a student who has just completed a first degree is likely to have a more limited skill set than one who has already spent time working in industry. This is why the programme has been designed to be flexible to your needs.

All PhD researchers are expected to undertake a Training Needs Analysis at the beginning of their studies and to review this on an annual basis, in consultation with their supervisor(s). The Training Needs Analysis is structured around the Vitae Researcher Development Framework ‘domains’. This will be used to develop your own Personal Development Plan which will map onto the offerings within the Programme.

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