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Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

Researcher Development Programme (RDP) course timetable

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Mon 14 Jun – Mon 26 Jul

Now Today



June 2021

Mon 14

A good poster’s worth 1000 words… but a bad poster’s just a bit of messy paper. When it’s time for you to present your scientific poster how are you going to make the most of the opportunity? We’ll think about why we use posters to present our research, what makes the difference between a good and bad poster and some useful tips to help you present your data in style.

Please note, this is an introductory course to help you start preparing for your first poster sessions...

Tue 15

This session will take your evaluation thinking to the next level, as it will explore the evaluation process in detail. The session will look at how to identify and measure key metrics, how to analyse data and how to write evaluation reports. You will discover how to plan event and activity specific evaluation and explore question formation by using evidence informed approaches to uncover what can (and can’t) be asked. The group session will be followed by the opportunity for a one-to-one 15-minute consultation with the trainer to work through problems, situations or ideas specific to your project.

The training will be led by engagement consultant Jamie Gallagher. Jamie is an award-winning freelance communicator and engagement professional with ten years’ experience in the delivery and evaluation of quality engagement projects. Working across dozens of institutions and subject areas he has helped improve the reach, profile and impact of research engagement in almost every discipline. As a specialist in evaluation, Jamie provides consultancy services to charities and universities helping them to demonstrate their impact and understand their audiences and stakeholders. Jamie is also a science communicator and can often be found on TV, radio or stage making research accessible.

Wed 16
Introduction to Research Integrity at Cambridge new Finished 10:00 - 12:00 Online


A thorough awareness of issues relating to research ethics and research integrity are essential to producing excellent research. This session will provide an introduction to the ethical responsibilities of researchers at the University and explore issues of good research practice, research integrity and research misconduct. It will be interactive, using case studies to better understand key ethical issues and challenges in all areas.

The course will:

  • explore the issue of research misconduct in academia and facilitate discussion of why and how it occurs
  • explain the University and national expectations around research integrity and examine how this effects researchers
  • discuss some of the challenges to the integrity of research and ask what individuals, groups and institutions can do to tackle them
  • introduce the University’s research ethics system


The course will be delivered by the Research Governance Team in the Research Strategy Office.

Learn how to create and deliver an effective presentation.

Most postgraduate researchers benefit from giving presentations about their research by gaining feedback, sharing their ideas and/or findings, and raising their profile in the research community. Therefore, learning how to present your research effectively is an important skill to develop during the course of your doctorate.

Improvised comedy, better known simply as “improv”, describes a wide variety of theatrical forms which all share the key characteristic that content, scenes, and characters are creating spontaneously by the performers. Successful improvisors embody a set of core skills, summarized by the phrase “Yes, and…”, which can be readily taught and learnt, and which can be used by practicing scientists and science communicators to provide a framework for more effective communication and collaboration. Although born in very different contexts, improv’s core skills embody the values underpinning the shift to more participatory and dialogic forms of public engagement in the UK in recent decades.

This training is an unashamedly entertaining and enjoyable introduction to improv for scientists hoping to do better when undertaking challenging intellectual tasks in front of others and when interacting with others when you wish to be—and wish to be seen to be—responsive to their perspectives and opinions. The training is not about being funny or making people laugh, but is instead about the underlying skills which lead to successful improv, and no one should be put off for a fear of “not being funny enough”.

As a highly interactive training, everyone must be minimally comfortable talking in front of others in order to get the most out of the course.

Thu 17

This interactive workshop is designed for people who already have some experience of presenting and the basic principles involved, but would like to develop their skills in this area to a higher level. There is a particular focus on presenting online

During the workshop, you will be given time to design and deliver a short (5-10 minutes) online presentation to a small audience comprised of your fellow researchers.


This course is designed for students with some presentation experience and/or for students that have completed the Basic Presentation Skills course.

Mon 21
Engaged Researcher Online - Illustrate Your Research (1 of 3) Finished 11:00 - 12:30 Online

You don’t think you are creative? Think again! This course is all about discovering easily accessible methods of visual storytelling to make your research more engaging. Visualisations are key to successful research story telling (and often research processes itself). They can help engage wide audiences effectively as well as communicate research quickly and intuitively to a wide range of audiences. This course will introduce you to a range of illustration techniques using simple exercises to get you started on illustrating your own research, and feel more confident in working with visual material. No previous knowledge or special equipment required.

The trainer will work with you personally to develop your new creative skills and to get started with your very own research visualisation.

The course will be led by Sally Stevens. Sally is an artist and animator based in Bristol, UK. Her moving image work encompasses 2D animation techniques including hand-drawn and paper cut-out, as well as video editing. She is interested in the use of animation in relation to performance, in visual analogy as a scientific tool, and has a fascination with composition and with the timing of things. She has a background in illustration and music, and has worked with theatre, orchestras and music groups to produce visual material for live events as well as video. She studied Animation MA at the Royal College of Art and since graduating has worked as a freelancer in London and Bristol, for clients including The Jersey Maritime Museum, The School of Life, the Disney Channel, M&C Saatchi, and Sound UK.

Tue 22

This session will take your evaluation thinking to the next level, as it will explore the evaluation process in detail. The session will look at how to identify and measure key metrics, how to analyse data and how to write evaluation reports. You will discover how to plan event and activity specific evaluation and explore question formation by using evidence informed approaches to uncover what can (and can’t) be asked. The group session will be followed by the opportunity for a one-to-one 15-minute consultation with the trainer to work through problems, situations or ideas specific to your project.

The training will be led by engagement consultant Jamie Gallagher. Jamie is an award-winning freelance communicator and engagement professional with ten years’ experience in the delivery and evaluation of quality engagement projects. Working across dozens of institutions and subject areas he has helped improve the reach, profile and impact of research engagement in almost every discipline. As a specialist in evaluation, Jamie provides consultancy services to charities and universities helping them to demonstrate their impact and understand their audiences and stakeholders. Jamie is also a science communicator and can often be found on TV, radio or stage making research accessible.

Presenting with Impact (STEMM) Finished 13:30 - 14:30 Online

This beginner’s course is designed to get you thinking about presenting with impact. Giving presentations is an essential skill for a researcher, be it in your department, at a major conference, or in your next job interview! You know your subject but sometimes issues of performance and clarity stop you being your best.

Wed 23
Engaged Researcher Online - Illustrate Your Research (2 of 3) Finished 11:00 - 13:00 Online

You don’t think you are creative? Think again! This course is all about discovering easily accessible methods of visual storytelling to make your research more engaging. Visualisations are key to successful research story telling (and often research processes itself). They can help engage wide audiences effectively as well as communicate research quickly and intuitively to a wide range of audiences. This course will introduce you to a range of illustration techniques using simple exercises to get you started on illustrating your own research, and feel more confident in working with visual material. No previous knowledge or special equipment required.

The trainer will work with you personally to develop your new creative skills and to get started with your very own research visualisation.

The course will be led by Sally Stevens. Sally is an artist and animator based in Bristol, UK. Her moving image work encompasses 2D animation techniques including hand-drawn and paper cut-out, as well as video editing. She is interested in the use of animation in relation to performance, in visual analogy as a scientific tool, and has a fascination with composition and with the timing of things. She has a background in illustration and music, and has worked with theatre, orchestras and music groups to produce visual material for live events as well as video. She studied Animation MA at the Royal College of Art and since graduating has worked as a freelancer in London and Bristol, for clients including The Jersey Maritime Museum, The School of Life, the Disney Channel, M&C Saatchi, and Sound UK.

RD Live: Assertiveness new Finished 13:00 - 14:00 Online

For this event we are joined by Rach Maggs, a trainer, facilitator and coach with around 17 years experience of working with PhD researchers at all stages. She’ll be looking at the basics of assertiveness:

What it is and isn’t.

What assertive behaviours look like.

How “ just being a bit more assertive” needs a little thought.

And a few hints and tips so you can start to develop your own assertiveness skills

Thu 24
RD Pop-Up: Creativity new Finished 10:00 - 11:30 Online

Creativity is a critical part of research, helping people look at old problems in new ways and facilitating leaps in thinking that seem logical in hindsight but are far from it in the moment. In this practical online session we will look at exercises, tools and techniques that can boost your creative confidence so you can apply it to your own research. Although not essential, participants are asked to think of a particular problem or challenge in their research before the workshop so they can practice some of the tips and techniques - who knows, it could be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for!

Fri 25
Engaged Researcher Online - Illustrate Your Research (3 of 3) Finished 11:00 - 12:00 Online

You don’t think you are creative? Think again! This course is all about discovering easily accessible methods of visual storytelling to make your research more engaging. Visualisations are key to successful research story telling (and often research processes itself). They can help engage wide audiences effectively as well as communicate research quickly and intuitively to a wide range of audiences. This course will introduce you to a range of illustration techniques using simple exercises to get you started on illustrating your own research, and feel more confident in working with visual material. No previous knowledge or special equipment required.

The trainer will work with you personally to develop your new creative skills and to get started with your very own research visualisation.

The course will be led by Sally Stevens. Sally is an artist and animator based in Bristol, UK. Her moving image work encompasses 2D animation techniques including hand-drawn and paper cut-out, as well as video editing. She is interested in the use of animation in relation to performance, in visual analogy as a scientific tool, and has a fascination with composition and with the timing of things. She has a background in illustration and music, and has worked with theatre, orchestras and music groups to produce visual material for live events as well as video. She studied Animation MA at the Royal College of Art and since graduating has worked as a freelancer in London and Bristol, for clients including The Jersey Maritime Museum, The School of Life, the Disney Channel, M&C Saatchi, and Sound UK.

Mon 28

A good poster’s worth 1000 words… but a bad poster’s just a bit of messy paper. When it’s time for you to present your scientific poster how are you going to make the most of the opportunity? We’ll think about why we use posters to present our research, what makes the difference between a good and bad poster and some useful tips to help you present your data in style.

Please note, this is an introductory course to help you start preparing for your first poster sessions...

Tue 29
Present your Research (STEMM) new Finished 10:00 - 12:00 Online


Whether you are new to presenting, looking to speak at your first conference, or wanting important tips to finesse your delivery, this is the course for you.


Before attending this online session you will have to prepare a 5 minute presentation. You will deliver your presentation to the rest of the participants and receive feedback.

Wed 30

This course will give an introduction to Public and Patient Involvement. You will find out about local support available in the region to help plan, deliver and build PPI into research, that will improve research for patients and services users and carers. This course will be delivered by Dr Amanda Stranks, PPI/E and Communications Strategy Lead NIHR Cambridge BRC Communications and PPI/E Department.

July 2021

Mon 5


Writing at postgraduate level

In this series of four sessions we’ll be taking an in-depth look at various aspects of writing at postgraduate level. Each session will be 90mins, with 30mins at the end for questions and discussion.

Whilst they have been designed as a set of sessions, with each building on from the previous, the individual sessions have been designed to be standalone – which means that you can attend the whole series or just those that particularly speak to you.


Workshop 1: Why writing at postgraduate level is hard

In this first session, we’ll be taking a step back and reflecting for a moment on what it is that you’re actually doing at PG level, as this is far more than simply writing. You’re engaging in a complex, cognitive process of knowledge creation. And so when the writing gets hard, its useful just to remember that what you are doing is far more complicated than just writing – as writing is something that you can all already do and to a pretty high degree of ability. In fact, as we will see, there are numerous factors involved in writing at this level, from the epistemological assumptions of your discipline, through how we construct argument, before we even get to how we construct an articulate sentence – and we’ll be looking at all of these.


The other workshops in the series are:
Workshop 2: The University’s criterion ‘clearly written’ – what this means
Workshop 3: Reader empathy. It’s not just about the writing – it’s writing for your reader
Workshop 4: The true secret to clarity: multi-level editing
Workshop 5: Editing session (practical)

Tue 6


Writing at postgraduate level

In this series of four sessions we’ll be taking an in-depth look at various aspects of writing at postgraduate level. Each session will be 90mins, with 30mins at the end for questions and discussion.

Whilst they have been designed as a set of sessions, with each building on from the previous, the individual sessions have been designed to be standalone – which means that you can attend the whole series or just those that particularly speak to you.


Workshop 2: The University’s criterion ‘clearly written’ – what this means

If you’ve ever had a look at the Cambridge Student webpages as to the requirements of postgraduate writing submitted for assessment, you’ll see that the University has only one criterion – and this is that it is ‘clearly written.’ At first glance, this seems both explicit and unequivocal as clarity in all its forms is surely the bedrock not only of postgraduate study, but of academia itself. Yet on further scrutiny, whilst there may be an instinctive consensus that this is a cardinal criterion for postgraduate writing, when it comes to defining what this actually means and how we are supposed to attain it, the matter is far less perspicuous. And indeed, clearly written is not simply an assessment criterion at Cambridge, as the vast majority of guides to academic writing rhapsodise about clarity as an assumed mutually acknowledged objective. Yet rarely is this criterion unpacked.

And so in this second session, we’ll be looking at doing just that – by considering what academics see as the central tenet of ‘clearly written’, namely, argument, and also in what ways the rhetorical expectations of ‘clearly written’ in English may differ from the expectations in other languages.


The other workshops in the series are:
Workshop 1: Why writing at postgraduate level is hard
Workshop 3: Reader empathy. It’s not just about the writing – it’s writing for your reader
Workshop 4: The true secret to clarity: multi-level editing
Workshop 5: Editing session (practical)

Wed 7

An interactive and informal session looking at:

  • Your own assertiveness – where are you starting from and what do you want to work on?
  • The assertive and the unassertive you – when do you behaviour differently and why?
  • Some theory and hints and tips that will help you to work your assertiveness.
  • Putting it into practice
  • Actions to move your assertiveness forwards.
Thu 8


Writing at postgraduate level

In this series of four sessions we’ll be taking an in-depth look at various aspects of writing at postgraduate level. Each session will be 90mins, with 30mins at the end for questions and discussion.

Whilst they have been designed as a set of sessions, with each building on from the previous, the individual sessions have been designed to be standalone – which means that you can attend the whole series or just those that particularly speak to you.


Workshop 3: Reader Empathy. It’s not just about the writing – it’s writing for your readers

The primary focus of most writing training is on honing your skills as a writer – and for obvious reasons. But what tends to be overlooked is the reason why we are writing – namely, to be read. Text is generated to be read by a reader and as soon as it has been submitted, it belongs to the reader, a reader who has no recourse to question the writer. This is why the monological form of writing is difficult, as the writer has to structure the text and articulate the content in such a way that they will hopefully be received by the reader as the writer intended it, and so it has to be clearly articulated.

And this is precisely an aspect that novice postgraduate writers often struggle with – the research has been conducted and it is now simply a case of getting it down on the page. As one academic I have spoken to about this put it, they tend to write with no empathy for the reader, thereby forcing the reader to do the hard work of trying to elicit from what they have said what it is that they are actually trying to say. Being widely read has long been known as good training for a writer – but explicitly thinking of the reader when constructing text is often overlooked, when in fact it proffers a useful frame through which to view one’s own writing.

So, in this third session we’ll be looking at the concept of reader empathy and why it’s important to think of your reader when writing. We’ll look at a range of strategies to help you to do this: from the macro perspective of the structure of the entire document, through rhetorical templates, right down to where the reader expects information to be in a sentence.


The other workshops in the series are:
Workshop 1: Why writing at postgraduate level is hard
Workshop 2: The University’s criterion ‘clearly written’ – what this means
Workshop 4: The true secret to clarity: multi-level editing
Workshop 5: Editing session (practical)

Fri 9


Writing at postgraduate level

In this series of four sessions we’ll be taking an in-depth look at various aspects of writing at postgraduate level. Each session will be 90mins, with 30mins at the end for questions and discussion.

Whilst they have been designed as a set of sessions, with each building on from the previous, the individual sessions have been designed to be standalone – which means that you can attend the whole series or just those that particularly speak to you.


Workshop 4: The true secret to clarity - Multi-level editing

Having got everything down on paper in a first draft is a huge achievement, but this is where the work really starts in the editing – refining the structure, the content, and the language to strengthen your argument and the clarity of your articulation. Academics I’ve spoken to say that on average they go through between 10-20 rounds of edits in their own writing, with the lower end being more in the sciences disciplines and the higher figure more in the arts and humanities disciplines.

In this final session, we’ll be looking at editing from a macro, through the mezzo, and down to the micro level, from the bigger picture of how the entire document hangs together, through how to keep the argument on track at the mezzo level, and then right down to individual paragraphs and sentence, where we’ll be looking at such features as hedging, emphasis, passive voice, and nominalisations.


The other workshops in the series are:
Workshop 1: Why writing at postgraduate level is hard
Workshop 2: The University’s criterion ‘clearly written’ – what this means
Workshop 3: Reader empathy. It’s not just about the writing – it’s writing for your reader
Workshop 5: Editing session (practical)


Writing at postgraduate Level

In this series of four sessions we’ll be taking an in-depth look at various aspects of writing at postgraduate level. Each session will be 90mins, with 30mins at the end for questions and discussion.

Whilst they have been designed as a set of sessions, with each building on from the previous, the individual sessions have been designed to be standalone – which means that you can attend the whole series or just those that particularly speak to you.


Workshop 5: Editing session (practical)

This is an optional practical editing session where you’ll have the opportunity to put what you’ve taken from the morning’s session into practice by sharing your own writing with others and both getting and giving feedback


The other workshops in the series are:
Workshop 1: Why writing at postgraduate level is hard
Workshop 2: The University’s criterion ‘clearly written’ – what this means
Workshop 3: Reader empathy. It’s not just about the writing – it’s writing for your reader
Workshop 4: The true secret to clarity: multi-level editing

Mon 12
Engaged Researcher Online - Creative Writing (1 of 2) Finished 10:00 - 11:45 Online

Have you ever wanted to get creative with your research – to discover how writing can bring a new perspective to your research? How your words can engage with new audiences about the academic research that you are passionate about?

This training will enable you to develop creative ways by which you can engage with the public, providing you with the resources to be more confident in developing, and sharing, creative writing responses to your area of research.

The course will introduce creative writing for poetry and prose, and textual writing for exhibition / display. It will discuss developing writing for performance and for publication and work with you to bring out the creative responses that lay within your own work. There will be the opportunity to receive written feedback throughout the week, to share your work at a final showcase, and to discuss your work in a 1-to-1 session with the course tutor on Wednesday 14th July (if requested in advance).

The training will be led by David Cain. David’s most recent book, Truth Street, was shortlisted for the prestigious Forward Prizes for Poetry (2019). David brings his writing experience together with a passion for public engagement - he currently leads the delivery of the Cambridge Festival.

Fri 16
Engaged Researcher Online - Creative Writing (2 of 2) Finished 10:00 - 11:45 Online

Have you ever wanted to get creative with your research – to discover how writing can bring a new perspective to your research? How your words can engage with new audiences about the academic research that you are passionate about?

This training will enable you to develop creative ways by which you can engage with the public, providing you with the resources to be more confident in developing, and sharing, creative writing responses to your area of research.

The course will introduce creative writing for poetry and prose, and textual writing for exhibition / display. It will discuss developing writing for performance and for publication and work with you to bring out the creative responses that lay within your own work. There will be the opportunity to receive written feedback throughout the week, to share your work at a final showcase, and to discuss your work in a 1-to-1 session with the course tutor on Wednesday 14th July (if requested in advance).

The training will be led by David Cain. David’s most recent book, Truth Street, was shortlisted for the prestigious Forward Prizes for Poetry (2019). David brings his writing experience together with a passion for public engagement - he currently leads the delivery of the Cambridge Festival.

Mon 26
Engaged Researcher Online - Animate Your Research (1 of 3) Finished 11:00 - 12:30 Online

We live in visually over-saturated society. How can we use visual information to help communicate an idea with impact and effectiveness? Animation can be a powerful tool to convey a message and to capture your audiences attention and interest. It allows huge leaps in time/ concept because we have accepted the visual language of cinema, we are soaked in it, so a car can become a dinosaur and a tennis ball a mitochondria. Animation allows a whole concept to be encapsulated and transmitted without the barrier of language, across cultures.

This course will introduce you to a range of animation and storytelling techniques using simple exercises to get you started on animating your own research, and feel more confident in working with visual material. The trainer will work with you personally to develop your new creative skills and to get started with your very own research visualisation.

The course will be led by Sally Stevens. Sally is an artist and animator based in Bristol, UK. Her moving image work encompasses 2D animation techniques including hand-drawn and paper cut-out, as well as video editing. She is interested in the use of animation in relation to performance, in visual analogy as a scientific tool, and has a fascination with composition and with the timing of things. She has a background in illustration and music, and has worked with theatre, orchestras and music groups to produce visual material for live events as well as video. She studied Animation MA at the Royal College of Art and since graduating has worked as a freelancer in London and Bristol, for clients including The Jersey Maritime Museum, The School of Life, the Disney Channel, M&C Saatchi, and Sound UK.