Kent Graduate School

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Researcher Development Programme at Kent

The Graduate School coordinates the Researcher Development Programme for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers at the University of Kent.

The Researcher Development Programme is designed to equip research students and postdoctoral researchers with a full range of skills which will improve their effectiveness as researchers, and ensure that they are not only highly qualified but employable in a variety of careers by the end of their research project. For more details see our handbook here.

At Kent, the Researcher Development Programme has been developed not only because we believe that skills training is an essential element of any PhD and an important aspect of career progression for researchers but also in response to national policy. Following Sir Gareth Roberts’ review of higher education, 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. Following wide consultation this statement has recently been updated and has evolved to become the Researcher Development Framework (RDF). 

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

A. Knowledge and intellectual abilities
B. Personal effectivenes
C. Research governance and organisation
D. Engagement, influence and impact

We are currently developing our Researcher Development Programme to ensure that all aspects of the RDF are covered and to ensure that we continue to respond to the needs of students, researchers and other stakeholders. 

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Who is it for?

The Researcher Development Programme is provided for all postgraduate research students, whether full- or part-time including Master's, MPhil or PhD, and for postdoctoral researchers.

Postdoctoral researchers can find links to a range of resources here:

Why do it?

Although a PhD is an outstanding academic qualification, having a doctorate alone will not prepare you for your chosen career, whether in academia or beyond.  At Kent, we are committed to ensuring that we produce doctoral students and researchers who are experienced, highly skilled and employable.  It is important therefore that while you are progressing your research, you also develop the skills which you will need to acquire in order to succeed in your chosen career.

Researcher Development Assessment

From September 2009, all first year PhD students are required to complete a Researcher Development Assessment through attendance at a 'Kickstart your PhD: Guidance, Skills and the Researcher Development Assessment' workshop. Through the assessment all new research students are encouraged to consider their existing portfolio of skills, as well as the skills that they hope to acquire while doing their doctoral research. This will enable them to identify opportunities to develop those skills both by participating in the skills training programme, and through their own personal development as their research progresses. For more information click on this link.

What workshops are on offer?

A full range of workshops are on offer including writing workshops, negotiation skills, presentation skills, library workshops and many more. A comprehensive programme of workshops for the current and future terms can be viewed and booked by registering with our online booking system.

See also our Researcher Development Programme Flyer which also shows the topics which are available.

We also offer online workshops and podcasts please check out our Online training pages.

Postdoctoral researchers may also like to visit the Staff Development pages for more course options.


How can I book on workshops?

Researchers will need to register with the Graduate School’s online booking system before they can book places on our workshops. Should you encounter any difficulties registering with the system, please contact the Postgraduate Development Coordinator by emailing    

What does the on-line workshop booking system offer me?

Once you are registered you will be able to:

  1. Search and view workshop information.
  2. Book places on workshops or use the waiting list facility for workshops which are currently full.
  3. Use your own profile to manage your bookings and view your progress.
  4. Complete and update your Researcher Development Assessment.
  5. Reflect on the progress of your research project in your own PhD notes section.


If you have problems with the site or if you can't find what you're looking for, please contact or phone on 01227 824896.

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Last Updated: 11/09/2018