LU Research Training Programme for Postgraduate Researchers
- Lancaster University
- North West
- Date first submitted:
- 7 Nov 2005
- Date last modified:
- 25 Nov 2010
- Personal effectiveness
- Research project skills
- Academic practice
- Researcher development strategy/management
- Enterprise-related activities
- Career development
- Postgraduate researchers
- Research masters
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
Current PhD students are now demanding research training as an everyday part of the PhD process and are actively seeking opportunities to expand their skill base.
In recent years we have had a programme of PGR provision that contains centrally provided elements alongside faculty and department training. During 2010-11 we are moving the central transferable skills training into faculties whilst ensuring that we satisfy and build upon the JSS and RDF requirements. The co-ordination of this embedding will be facilitated by our Research Training Steering Group which has been in place since the start of Roberts funding. Its members consist of the Dean of Graduate Studies, faculty RTP managers, the Postgraduate Studies Office administrator, PhD Careers Advisor and PGR student representatives.
One of the aims of this group will be to continue developing the cross campus provision and aligning important key PGR events such as PGR Induction, the annual LU Creativity & Change Conference and teaching development courses for PGRs namely Survival Skills and the Supporting Learning Programme. Future developments planned for the forthcoming academic year include a North West Enterprise School (Easter 2011) and further embedding of our online Entrepreneurship modules.
The Centre for Applied Statistics and the Postgraduate Statistics Centre run a number of short courses and a consultancy service both available to PGRs from across the University. The Centre for Employability, Enterprise and Careers has also developed a specialised programme of sessions for PhD students. This is supported by all 4 faculties and sessions include CV writing, career planning and psychometric testing.
Subject-specific provision for PGRs is run by faculties and departments. Information on these can be accessed through faculty and departmental webpages; programme handbooks and Supervisors. All four faculties have Gradschool websites which house their Research Training Programmes. Training in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences include 'Designing and undertaking doctoral research' and 'Ethics in Social Research'. Bids can also be made to the Research Training Initiatives fund to stage innovative training events. The Faculty of Science and Technology provides training through its Researcher Development Programme such as ‘Advanced LaTeX’ and 'Research Funding'. They have implemented a credit system for different types of activity which are assessed mainly on the potential training benefits to the students involved. The Doctoral Training and Support Programme in the Management School comprise a series of skills workshops focusing on getting through the PhD process as a Management student alongside its taught elements. The School of Health and Medicine has been developing it programme to include workshops with the library covering IPR, e-publishing and digital mapping. All of the activities described above have been supported and developed using Roberts funding to create supportive PGR communities within faculties and across the University.
The expected aims and outcomes of our current research provision are to equip our doctoral researchers with both the subject specific and generic skills they need to complete their research training at a high level; and to take those skills forward into their chosen careers where they can develop them further. Workshops and courses also allow the dissemination of good practice and provide an opportunity for interdisciplinary networking.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
Students must be registered postgraduate researchers at Lancaster University. We strongly recommend that students take full advantage of all opportunities available to them; however some courses may be required by faculties as part of the PhD programme.
Participants for courses can range from 6 up to over 50, depending on availability of resources and staff.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The benefits of embedding our postgraduate provision and enhancing our current programme will be doctoral researchers who have an increased awareness of opportunities and an enhanced skill base which encompasses both subject-specific and transferable skills training. The University run events such as the PhD careers workshops, Survival Skills and Supporting Learning Programme allow students to network across campus, share ideas and motivate each other.
The greatest challenge is the engagement of PGRs and Supervisors with the importance of learning, developing and enhancing research skills out with the lab and office. The RTPSG continues to review current provision and develop future opportunities to enhance PGR provision.
Provision will be further embedded in faculties whilst retaining the core activities of teaching support for PGRs and the PhD careers workshops. The Dean of Graduate Studies is currently working with the faculty RTP managers to review external or develop e-learning materials to address the variety and form of PGR training available to LU researchers. We are also developing our appraisal process online to help with returns, better completion rates of the appraisal forms and to allow access from anywhere in the world to cope with sabbaticals and field work.