Training Records for Research Students

It is important that research students on PhD, MD, PsyD, and MPhil programmes keep a running record of all the skills and development activities that they complete over their research degree.

Your training record should include the full range of skills and career development activities that you complete over your research degree:

  • research skills training (such as training in a specific methodological approach, or in the use of equipment used in research)
  • transferable skills training (such as communication skills, leadership skills, and team working)
  • use of online resources or other self-directed learning
  • attendance at conferences, seminars, etc.
  • completion of an internship or placement
  • participation in events like Cafe Research or the Festival of Postgraduate Research

You will need to present a full training record in order to complete your probation review - but even beyond that, you should continue to keep your record up to date as this information will be invaluable when you come to apply for jobs, research funding, etc.

We would suggest that you use the descriptors of the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Researcher Development Framework when recording your training as these will provide your with the key words and terms that you can use to articulate your skills and attributes to employers and others.

You can use the Graduate School's Word training record template.

To keep a record of the University training events that you have completed you can also use PROSE.

Reviewing Your Training Record

As you progress with your research degree your skills and career development needs may change, so it is important that you review your training record and your training plan from time to time.

In particular, as you move towards the completion of the active research part of your degree you may find your focus shifting more torwards your career beyond your research degree. We would therefore suggest that you review your training record and training plan at key points in your research degree programme - for example, on completion of your probation review and as you enter the final year of your degree.

This is something you may want to do in consultation with your supervisory team.

Building a Personal Development Portfolio

To really get the full value out of your training record, it should just be one part of a wider personal development portfolio. How you maintain your portfolio is up to you - you may decide to do this electronically or perhaps as a hard copy folder. In either case we would suggest that your portfolio should include: 

  • records of formal supervisory meetings
  • probation review and progress review reports
  • records of attendance at conferences, seminars, and other events
  • records of published works

Your portfolio will be of particular value as you move into your career beyond your degree. Employers and research funders value employees who can demonstrate a commitment to their own personal and professional development and your portfolio will provide you with evidence that you can draw on as you come to apply for jobs, research funding, etc.

Key Points
  • Your training record should cover the full range of skills and career development activities completed over your research degree
  • Skills and development activities includes participation in training events; use of online resources; attendance at conferences, seminars, etc.; and self-directed learning.
  • It should specify the "what" (type of skills), the "how" (type of development activity), and the "when" (completed date)
  • You need to provide a full training record in order to complete the probation review - following the probation review you should continue to record skills and development activities as this information will be useful when you come to apply for jobs, research funding, etc.
  • Use the Researcher Development Framework to help you articulate the development activities you have completed in terms that are more meaningful to employers, research funders, etc.
  • Your training record should be just one part of a wider personal development "portfolio" in which you keep records of formal supervisory meetings, probation review and progress review reports, records of attendance at research and other events, records of published works, etc.

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