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Researcher Development Programme

The Researcher Development Programme (RDP) is designed to equip postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers with a full range of skills. It improves your effectiveness as a researcher and ensures that by the end of your research project, you are both highly qualified and employable in a variety of careers.

What is it?

We believe that skills training is an essential element of any PhD and an important aspect of career progression for researchers. Our RDP has been developed to deliver these skills, and in response to national policy.

Following Sir Gareth Roberts’ review of higher education in 2001, the UK research councils (RCUK) issued a joint skills statement to all universities, identifying seven areas in which UK postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers should develop further skills while pursuing their research. This statement became the Researcher Development Framework (RDF).

All of our training falls under the four headings of the RDF:

  • Knowledge and intellectual abilities
  • Personal effectivenes
  • Research governance and organisation
  • Engagement, influence and impact
RDF domains and descriptors

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF)

Who is it for?

The RDP is for all postgraduate research students. This includes full-time and part-time students, those studying a Master's, MPhil or PhD, and postdoctoral researchers.

Are any workshops compulsory?

All new PhD students must attend the Kickstart your PhD: Guidance, Skills and the RDA workshop and complete a Researcher Development Assessment (RDA). This online self-assessment encourages you to consider your existing portfolio of skills, as well as any skills you hope to gain while doing your doctoral research.    

You can book for the workshop and complete the assessment via our online booking system.

Why should I do it?

A PhD is an outstanding academic qualification but having a doctorate alone will not prepare you for your chosen career, whether in academia or beyond.

At Kent, we are committed to producing doctoral students and researchers who are experienced, highly skilled and employable. That's why it is important that while you are progressing your research, you also develop the skills you will need to succeed in your chosen career.

Which workshops can I attend?

A full range of workshops are available including writing workshops, negotiation skills, presentation skills, library workshops and many more. Please see the RDP handbook (PDF 687KB) for an overview of the types of workshops organised by the Graduate School. To register and for full details of the workshops on offer, including times, dates and locations, see the online booking system.

Once you are registered on the online booking system you will also be able to:

  • search and view workshop information
  • book places on workshops or use the waiting list facility for workshops which are currently full
  • use your own profile to manage your bookings and view your progress
  • complete and update your RDA.

Once you have successfully booked on to a workshop you receive an automatic email confirming your booking. There is a high demand for many of our workshops so if you know that you are no longer able to attend a workshop, which you are either booked onto or on the waiting list for, please cancel your place so that one of your fellow researchers on the waiting list can benefit from the training. You can cancel your booking via the online booking system 48 hours in advance of the workshop taking place. Current students can read our cancellation policy on the online booking system.

What other support is available?

Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online is all about alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards (fees, maintenance, research costs) to any student regardless of subject, or nationality.

The Alternative Guide Online contains a huge database of funding opportunities, comprehensive guidance, and numerous tools to help you prepare a winning grant application. The University of Kent has purchased a licence to the Guide, so it’s free for all students and staff to use!

Login to the Alternative Guide

If you are a prospective student and you have applied to the University, please email skills@kent.ac.uk for an access PIN.

Associate Fellowship Scheme (AFS) 

The University offers the Associate Fellowship Scheme (AFS) which is a formal qualification intended for Graduate Teaching Assistants, part-time and sessional teachers. It aims to help you develop your knowledge and skills as a practitioner, in your role as a teacher or as someone who supports student learning. Find out more about the Associate Fellowship Scheme.

IT online learning guides

Information Services offer a variety of learning guides that can be used for self-paced learning or reference material. Topics include IT security, presentations, spreadsheets and ECDL (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Find out more about the IT online learning guides.

Library resources

The library makes available a variety of resources and information for postgraduate researchers. Find out more about Library and IT services for postgraduates.

Statistics Consultancy Desk

The Statistics Consultancy Desk is run by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS). It is free for postgraduate students and covers all aspects of the quantitative analysis of research problems in a wide variety of fields. For more information, contact the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science

Current students

Please visit our Skills Training, Resources & Guidance for Postgraduate Researchers on Moodle for a full list of online training and resources.     

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