Developing Your Personal and Professional Capabilities

Undertaking a PhD, MPhil, or professional doctorate is clearly about producing excellent research - but it is also about developing your personal and professional capabilities

Whether you see your degree as the start of a career in research, want to develop yourself within an existing career, or broaden your capabilities and improve your employability, our researcher training programmes will give you the skills you need to:

  • become an effective researcher
  • successfully complete your degree
  • take your expertise into a career beyond

In recognition of the diversity of its research student community, the University has developed a "needs-based" approach which provides flexibility in the training that you will undertake.

World-Class Research Training

Our research degree programmes help to train the next generation of world-class researchers.

At the University of Leicester you will benefit from working with academic staff who are leaders in their fields as well as the facilities you would expect of a one of the UK's top research universities. Over the course of your degree you will develop and apply the discipline-specific subject knowledge and methodological training expected of a professional researcher. 

Whatever your subject, your research degree will allow you to demonstrate your ability to:

  • frame a research question and propose an appropriate methodology to answer this
  • apply relevant research methodologies and techniques
  • analyse, interpret, and communicate research findings
Enhancing Your Employability

In addition to developing your discipline-specific research skills, our research students benefit from structured training programmes designed to support the development of their broader personal and professional competencies.

Our four Colleges each have their own annual programme of training events for research students - meaning that they receive support that is tailored to their subject and their stage of their degree. The College training programmes include workshops and training events on both generic research skills:

  • finding and using academic literature
  • quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • statistical tools and techniques
  • preparing research findings for publication
  • commercialising research

as well as transferable skills such as:

  • personal leadership
  • team working
  • project management
  • communicating research to different audiences

There are also workshops to help research students prepare for key milestones in their degree - such as their first year review, attending an academic conference, submission of the thesis, and the viva voce examination.

Research students can learn another language through the Languages@Leicester programme while international research students can register for free English language training to help them improve their academic English language skills alongside their degree.

Raising Your Profile as a Researcher

We will also help you to plan ahead for your career beyond your research degree.

As well as events and materials to help you develop your career plans and prepare for entry to the jobs market, research students are encouraged to make use of opportunities to raise their profile as a researcher. In addition to participation at conferences and seminars where you will have the opportunity to meet and network with others in your field, the University has its own programme of events where research students can share their work and make new contacts - including our regular Cafe Research and Thesis Forum events and our annual Festival of Postgraduate Research.

Helping You Plan Your Personal and Professional Development

At the start of your research degree, you and your supervisor will together develop a training plan that meets your own requirements, taking account of training you have already completed as well as any specialist skills your research will require.

As you develop your personal and professional competencies, you will keep a record of your development. You and your supervisors will review your record and your progress each year helping you to stay on track and make sure your training plan continues to meet your requirements. Your training record will also be invaluable when you come to look for employment beyond your degree.

Researcher Development Framework DomainsThe Researcher Development Framework was launched in 2010 and is a UK-wide statement of the knowledge, skills, and behaviours that characterise an effective and highly skilled researcher and which are looked for by graduate employers.

The Researcher Development Framework covers four "domains":

  1. Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities
  2. Personal Effectiveness
  3. Research Governance and Organisation
  4. Engagement, Influence, and Impact

Our training programmes have been designed around the Researcher Development Framework - meaning that when you develop your training plan, you can see how much of the Researcher Development Framework you will cover.

It will also provide you with a recognised format for communicating your skills and capabilities to future employers and others.

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