B5 - Is there more to transferable skills development than delivering courses?

Day 1 at 16:15 - Many transferable skills development programmes depend on face-to-face courses and workshops, but is this the best way of achieving researcher development? Contemporary research and the presenters' recent exploration of the transferability of skills indicate that there are many ‘taken-for granted' assumptions that may inhibit the effectiveness of developers' efforts. Such assumptions are embedded in the way programmes are structured and promoted to researchers, through to the way activity is evaluated often reflecting the views of the developers more than their academic context. This workshop explored some of the assumptions informing the development agenda. It was the presenters' thesis that transferable skills may not be so readily acquired and that different cohorts or groups of researchers may need different kinds of development. Further, research indicates that transitioning from academia to other kinds of working environments may not be easily achieved because much workplace activity depends on tacit knowledge that, perhaps, orthodox approaches to development have under-appreciated. All of this presents a challenge to the rationale behind transferable skills development programmes dominated by courses. Strand - Postgraduate researcher.
Day Day 1
Session B
Start time 16:15
Strand Postgraduate researcher
Code B5
Presenters Dr Julie Reeves - ECR Training Coordinator, University of Southampton
Prof Pam Denicolo - Advocate for Graduate Studies, University of Surrey


The workshop covered:

  • what makes transferable skills transferable?
  • how can we design skills development programmes to reflect the research environment?
  • what challenges do researchers face when moving to other environments?
  • how can we better support researchers in acquiring transferable skills and in transitioning to other roles?

Workshop outcomes:


  • had the opportunity to explore the issues to consider when designing development programmes
  • reflected on how to meet the challenges different cohorts of researchers face
  • were offered a critical approach to the transferable skills agenda.


Presentation, discussion, reflection.