- Database of practice
- The Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network (BPSN) - a shared skills training programme, and web-based management/registration system for institutions in the Bloombury area, London.
The Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network (BPSN) - a shared skills training programme, and web-based management/registration system for institutions in the Bloombury area, London.
- University College London
- Date first submitted:
- 31 Jan 2008
- Date last modified:
- 14 Mar 2011
- Researcher development strategy/management
- Postgraduate researchers
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?
Aligning closely with the Roberts skills training agenda, and articulating well with UCL’s commitment to sharing best practice, the shared programme allows each institution to augment their own training programmes with external opportunities. Whilst each institution offers its own training to its registered students (and handles their registration separately), the BPSN programme allows straightforward access to a variety of different training from other member institutions.
The training offered through the programme focuses on generic and transferable skills training, covering the full range of skills categories as identified by RCUK in their skills statement. The programme thus relates to each participating institution’s wider Roberts-led training agenda. Each institution provides an academic lead (with administrative support) who is responsible attending BPSN meetings and for advertising the programme within their own institution. The Head of the UCL Graduate School chairs meetings of the BPSN and the UCL Graduate School administers the programme.
Discussions took place between UCL Graduate School and a number of institutions within the University of London based in Bloomsbury, to explore possible collaborations in the area of doctoral training. Agreement was reached in 2004/5 to share in the provision of skills training within a 'Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network'. The institutions involved are: • Birkbeck College • Institute of Education • London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine • Royal Veterinary College • School of Advanced Study • School of Oriental & African Studies • School of Pharmacy • UCL Member institutions were invited to choose which of their existing training courses from their programmes could be offered to the wider research student community through the BPSN. An administration system was developed by the UCL Graduate School to allow institutions to provide course details. A full student-facing booking and registration system (separate from, but interfacing with UCL’s own Skills Development Programme system) was developed by the UCL Graduate School and launched at the beginning of 2005/06 session.
The programme allows students to register on skills training courses at participating institutions, and also functions to provide information on useful resources relating to skills training.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
The differing courses and workshops available through the programme are of interest to research students at all stages of their career.
Details vary depending on individual courses, but each institution allocates a small number of places on their own training courses to be offered through the BPSN site. The number of places varies between 5 to 30 per course.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The skills attained from the programme are intended to help research and also to enhance life skills and employability: our members are leading higher education institutions within Bloomsbury. Each institution brings its specific expertise to the programme (members include smaller specialist institutions, larger multi-Faculty institutions and institutions offering evening and weekend training opportunities). Take up of the courses has been good, with in many cases students being placed on waiting lists.
It has been challenge to successfully integrate the BPSN programmes into each institution’s own skills training programme. It is also vital that each institution has senior management support for the programme and that an academic lead and administrator are identified within each institution.
Members of the BPSN meet annually to review uptake of the programme and to discuss methods for enhancing what can be offered to research students.