Frequently Asked Questions

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Researcher Development

How does Strathclyde's Researcher Development Programme (RDP) work?
Is it compulsory to attend courses on the RDP?
Why is researcher development so important?
Who organises and provides the courses?
How far into my PhD should I be in order to attend courses within the Researcher Development Programme?
What is the Researcher Development Framework (RDF)?

Provision

What courses are available?
How do I book onto a course?
Can I just turn up on the day?
Are these opportunities free?
Can I attend only parts of a course?
What is the RDP cancellation policy?   
What happens if I arrive late?
What happens if I don't turn up?
If lunch is provided will it suit my dietary requirements?
Where do I find information about improving my IT skills?  

Eligibility

Who is eligible to make use of the Researcher Development Programme? 
Can I attend if I'm a taught postgraduate student?

Credits information for students NOT on the PG Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD)

What are credits?
Do I need to get credits?
How many credits do I need to get during my PhD?

When should I start thinking about undertaking activities to get credits?
Should I talk to my Supervisor about my credit requirements?
What types of activities can I do to get credits?
What courses are available through the RDP that offer credits?
I want to take an RDP course that isn't listed as credit-bearing for all students. Can I get credit for it? 

Where do I book onto an RDP course?
The course I want to do is full - what now?
How do I cancel my place?

How do I find out what the course requirements are to gain credit?
How much 'homework' will I have to do?

When will the credits for a course be awarded to me (and visible on Pegasus)?
I attended a course but haven't been awarded any credits for it - who should I speak to?
Where can I find a list of the credits I've already attained? 

 

How does Strathclyde's Researcher Development Programme work?
We recognise the different requirements of our researcher community, and therefore our programme services a key audience: PhD students. The RDP offers a broad and comprehensive range of courses, events, resources and opportunities to develop vital transferable skills for your future career. 

Is it compulsory to attend courses on the RDP?
Each specific Faculty or department will have a policy in place, therefore please contact your Supervisor for an assessment of your researcher development needs or undertake a self-assessment using the Researcher Development Framework (RDF). Some opportunities may be mandatory, some may be recommended and some may be not be necessary to you due to prior experience.

Please be aware that RCUK recommend a minimum of two weeks skills development and training opportunities for researchers each year.

Why is the Researcher Development Programme important?
In todays changing economic times, it is of the utmost importance to acquire a wide range of transferable personal and professional skills which will allow you to pursue a career within or outwith academia. The skills gained from our Researcher Development Programme (RDP) will assist your personal and career development, improve your ability to undertake focused research and help you present your work to a variety of audiences. They will encourage you to reflect on the commercial possibilities of your research, as well as any ethical implications.

The programme offers skills relevant to both your research and to your life and career beyond Strathclyde. The programme also offers postgraduate researchers an opportunity to interact with different departments and Faculties, that you may not otherwise meet in the ordinary course of your research. 

Who organises and provides the Researcher Development Programme?
A lot of opportunities will be available throughout your research, whether from your supervisors, research group or your peers and departmental colleagues. The Researcher Development Programme includes centrally coordinated provision by the Researcher Development Team (based within Research and Knowledge Exchange Services), other Professional Service Departments (Careers Service) and Faculty/departmental opportunities. Many courses are organised by Faculties and departments, and sometimes student-led, so you should contact your Supervisor for more information and visit the The Researcher Development Programme webpages.

How far into my PhD should I be in order to attend researcher development opportunities?
Starting with your induction day right at the start of your PhD, there are a wide range of courses available designed for different stages in your research career. The programme is flexible, but we recommend you attend courses throughout your PhD at regular intervals, specific to what is required at each milestone.

What is the Researcher Development Framework?
The Researcher Development Framework is a tool for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education. It describes the knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal qualities of researchers and encourages them to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development.

The framework can be used to support you in personal development planning. For more information, please email the Researcher Development Team or visit the RDF webpage.

What courses are available?
We have a wide variety of courses for you to attend. Visit the The Researcher Development Programme webpages and the Development and Training Gateway for opportunities if you are doing research or employed by Strathclyde. The courses range from personal effectiveness to presentation skills, academic writing, grant writing, public engagement and career management, and courses are available in all domains of the Researcher Development Framework (RDF). There are a huge number of resources available to you also. Visit our 'Tools and Resources' page for more information.

How do I book onto a course?
Firstly identify which course you wish to attend, check you are eligible and book online via the Researcher Development Online Booking System. Some courses are targeted for specific years of your PhD, others may only be suitable once you have completed a previous course. All prerequisites will be identified in the course description on the booking page. Some courses have limited places available so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment. You will be sent a confirmation email to verify your place is secured.

Can I just turn up on the day?
Places are limited and most courses are always held at full capacity therefore you must pre-book. If the course is oversubscribed please book a place on the waiting list and you will be notified should there be any cancellations.

Are the opportunities free?
Yes, places are fully-funded for University of Strathclyde PGRs.

Can I attend only parts of a course?
Each course runs over a specific amount of time (eg half day, full day, two days) and you must be available to attend the duration. If you cannot commit, please cancel your place via the online booking system. Facilitators will note any periods of absence from the course and report back to the team. Please be aware you will be contacted should you fail to attend the full course, and you may not be eligible to receive any credits the course may be worth if you fail to attend for the specified course duration. 

What is the RDP cancellation policy?
Places are costly and as the workshops have a limited number of available places we ask that you allow other participants the opportunity to attend a course if you no longer can.

If you are no longer able to attend a course you must cancel your place as soon as possible via the online booking system with at least 3 working days notice. You should click on 'My Bookings' at the top of the page to cancel. Last-minute cancellations directly before or during a course will be recorded as a 'no-show' for the course. 

Please note that all non-attendance is recorded within the RDP and failure to attend without sufficient notice and cancellation will result in your Supervisor being contacted to inform them of the situation and necessary steps taken to rectify the situation.

What if I arrive late?
We require you to be prompt to all courses arriving at least five minutes prior to the start time. Tutors have the right to refuse you a place on the course if they feel you have missed too much work to catch up.

What happens if I just don't turn up?
Non-attendance is monitored at every course by the team, and we will contact you to clarify why you did not attend. There are substantial costs borne by the university for each place on a course, and therefore if you do not attend without notification your department and Supervisor will be informed, and further steps will be taken to ensure that the situation is rectified. We strongly encourage you to cancel your place via the online booking system should you be unable to attend. Please note that cancellation directly before or after a course start time will be counted as non-attendance. 

If lunch is provided will it suit my dietary requirements?
When lunch is included we will always have vegetarian options. Any other requirements must be stated when booking and we will try to accommodate these.

Where do I find information to improve my IT skills?
There are many courses available through the IT Training Team, which can be found on the Development and Training Gateway. In addition, training manuals on university IT systems and a variety of popular software guides are available through the Development and Training Gateway Resource Centre

Who is eligible to make use of the Researcher Development Programme?
These opportunities are specifically developed and funded for postgraduate (doctoral) researchers. If you fall into this category you will be able to attend the courses which are relevant to your career development needs and experience.

Why can't I attend if I am a Postgraduate Masters student? 
Unfortunately the general rule is that funding is not provided to train students matriculated on a taught programme. However some departments provide training for MSc programmes seperately. Please contact your department for more information.

What are credits?

All PhD students are required to undertake a specific number of credits weighted to Level 11 (or SHE5) in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) in addition to producing the thesis. 

Do I need to get credits?

All postgraduate research students have a requirement to achieve a certain number of credits throughout the duration of their degree.

How many credits do I need to get during my PhD?

If you are not registered on the PG Certificate in Researcher Professional Development, then your credits requirements will be set by your department. The number of credits you are expected to achieve will vary from department to department. The Researcher Development Programme team do not hold any information on the credits requirements of individual departments.

When should I start thinking about undertaking activities to get credits?

You should start thinking about credits on the first day of your PhD! There are a variety of workshops and activities which are credit-bearing, and we encourage you to explore all your options in order to effectively plan out your credit activities in accordance with your personal and professional development needs.

Should I talk to my supervisor about my credit requirements?

Definitely! Your supervisor will provide you with guidance regarding the number of credits you need to achieve, and signpost particular areas of development you may wish to target when choosing workshops and activities.

What types of activities can I do to get credits?

Credit-bearing activities can be broadly split into two areas – credit-bearing workshops provided by the RDP, and credit-bearing activities scheduled by your department/faculty. You should view the RDP Handbook and online booking system for information on credit-bearing provision. Your supervisor will be able to provide further guidance on your departmental activities.

What courses are available through the RDP that offer credits?

Eligible courses are listed in the RDP Handbook with an ‘A’ next to the title, and provide a link to the booking system and course information. At this time, courses which provide credits for all students are:

  • PGR Induction Day (1 credit)
  • PG Essentials (5 credits)
  • Becoming an Engaging Researcher (10 credits)
  • Writing and Presenting Research (10 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research (10 credits)
  • Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Training (10 credits - for EPSRC students only)
  • Enterprise Pathway (10 credits)

No other courses offered by the RDP provide credits for non-PG Certificate students.

I want to take an RDP course that isn't listed as credit-bearing for all students. Can I get credit for it?

Unfortunately, no. Within the RDP, you are only eligible to achieve credits from the formally accredited courses listed above if you are not on the PG Cert RPD. Your supervisor will be able to advise you on activities offered by your department you are eligible for.

Where do I book onto a course?

You should book a place on a course via the online booking system.

The course I want to do is full – what now?

All courses have a waiting list option on the right hand side of the booking page. If you register on the waiting list you will be notified via email if a place becomes available.

How do I cancel my place?

If you need to cancel your place, please do so with at least three working days’ notice via the online booking system.

How do I find out what the workshop requirements are?

All eligible credit-bearing provision within the RDP requires an element of additional work out with the standard workshop timings. This is in order to ensure students complete the requisite number of hours work in order to attain credits. When you book a place on a course, there will be detailed information on the booking page outlining the course and any assignments that may be required.

How much post-course work will I have to do?

That depends! Some courses run for multiple days, and therefore there is less work to do out with the course times. Some courses have shorter contact times, and there is an expectation of significant independent work. This can take many forms, including assignments, group work, presentations and case studies.

Where can I find a list of the credits I’ve already attained?

All courses that you have taken which are credit bearing will be listed in your Pegasus record. Please note that the RDP team only have the authority to award credits for courses within the RDP provision. If you have queries regarding any activities which are not included in the RDP provision (the 8 courses listed above) then you must contact your department to have these credits applied to your Pegasus record.

When will the credits for a course be awarded to me?

The requirements of each course differ, which can affect when credits will be applied to your Pegasus record. In general, once all course requirements/assignments have been completed and marked, then you will be marked has having passed the class, and credits will be returned to your Pegasus record. When you undertake a credit-bearing course in the RDP, you will receive detailed guidance and a timeline for when your credits will be awarded. Please refrain from queries regarding the status of your credits prior to the deadline given to you by the RDP team.

I attended a course but I haven’t been given any credits for it. Who should I speak to?

If you have taken one of the eight RDP courses listed above as credit-bearing for you, and you have not been awarded credits for it, please email the RDP team. If you are querying an activity which is not one of the seven credit-bearing courses in the RDP, then we are unable to provide any information and you should contact your department, who will be able to guide you to the appropriate person.