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Training and development

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Core training and PACE programme 2023-2024

Planning your professional development 

Whatever your plans for the future – whether you are pursuing a career inside or outside academia – your ongoing professional development during the next few years will be fundamental to your success on your PhD programme and beyond.  

You are being trained to be a professional researcher. This means successfully submitting and defending a thesis, but it also means demonstrating that you have developed ‘a wide range of professional transferable skills such as public engagement and communication of research, enterprise and entrepreneurship, teaching, project management, leadership and teamwork skills’ Qualifications Assurance Agency (QAA) 2020

These professional transferable skills are articulated in the UK’s industry-standard professional development framework, the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), which provides a sector-wide shared vocabulary for talking about the key skills and characteristics of research professionals.  

Auditing your skills and planning your professional development 

You will be using the skills analysis tool in PGR Manager, which is informed by the Vitae RDF, to audit your skills and plan your professional development, as well as to keep a log of your progress towards your agreed training goals. Look for the 'Development' box on your 'Student Project' page. Your progress towards your agreed training goals will be formally assessed at upgrade and each time you submit a Progress Report. You can access detailed training on skills auditing and development planning via our online module: Skills audit and personal development planning (

Training options 

Core training and PACE programme 2023-2024

You have a wide range of training options to support your professional development during your research degree. The Graduate School runs a comprehensive programme of training for PGRs, and you will also have access to specialist PGR training run by your Faculty, as well as training run by the Library and other Units within the University. You can find out about and book your place on training sessions via PGR Manager: Events. Our fortnightly Graduate School digest email will alert you to upcoming training opportunities too. If you’re not able to attend live training sessions, you can access recordings of sessions via the Graduate School Network Team (access code: ir2smh0). Direct links to Core Training or PACE Space.

For those attending PGR in-person or online events: event organisers may film and take photographs at their events and use the images on OU websites, social media and in publications. If you do not wish to appear in recordings or photos of an event you attend, please speak to the event organiser in advance or on the day of the event.

Online resources

Research Skills contains the online training modules and videos to support PGR study. It is asynchronous - learners can view and use any of the materials without signing up and at their own pace. For any access issues, please email with your OUCU.

Contact us

Please get in touch for research-degree-related issues by phoning 01908 653806 or sending an email.

Email Research Degrees Team

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