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All Researcher Development Programme (RDP) courses

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As a postdoc, you’re in a transitional period of your career, one that can be precarious at times or marked by dependency on others. Inevitably, there are moments when you have to engage in difficult conversations, whether with your PI, your peers, students and/or the people you support or oversee.

Are you able to ask for the things you need and want? Do you spread yourself too thin by saying yes to others’ requests for support? Do you have techniques for approaching difficult conversations? This course is designed to help you develop an assertive mindset and to communicate your needs in an honest, clear, and respectful way.


  • Understand the benefits of being assertive and the difference between assertive, aggressive, and passive thinking and behaviour
  • Know what assertiveness looks and sounds like
  • Consider different ways to deal with difficult conversations in light of your own behaviour and that of others.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Fri 7 Feb 2020 09:30 [Places]
Fri 20 Mar 2020 09:30 [Places]

Do you get the results you want from your communication with others at work? Are you able to talk with confidence in meetings and interviews? Do you have a high level of impact when speaking in public?

This individually focused and completely confidential one-to-one coaching session will help you refine your presentation skills, help you speak more confidently as an emerging leader in your research field, and develop new approaches to your communication in a wide range of professional situations. Constructive feedback will give you insight into your speaking style, how you come across to others, and how well your ideas are communicated. Coaching will focus on your individual requirements ranging from practical points about elocution and vocal projection, to holding the attention of a room, to structuring a compelling presentation.

65 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 14 Oct 2019 09:30 [Full]
Mon 14 Oct 2019 10:30 [Full]
Mon 14 Oct 2019 13:30 [Places]
Mon 14 Oct 2019 14:30 [Full]
Mon 14 Oct 2019 15:30 [Full]
Thu 24 Oct 2019 09:30 [Places]
Thu 24 Oct 2019 10:30 [Places]
Thu 24 Oct 2019 11:30 [Places]
Thu 24 Oct 2019 13:30 [Places]
Thu 24 Oct 2019 14:30 [Places]
Thu 24 Oct 2019 15:30 [Full]
Mon 28 Oct 2019 09:30 [Full]
Mon 28 Oct 2019 10:30 [Places]
Mon 28 Oct 2019 11:30 [Places]
Mon 28 Oct 2019 13:30 [Places]
Mon 28 Oct 2019 14:30 [Places]
Mon 28 Oct 2019 15:30 [Places]
Thu 14 Nov 2019 09:30 [Full]
Thu 14 Nov 2019 10:30 [Places]
Thu 14 Nov 2019 11:30 [Places]
Thu 14 Nov 2019 13:30 [Places]
Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:30 [Places]
Thu 14 Nov 2019 15:30 [Places]
Mon 20 Jan 2020 09:30 [Places]
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Thu 23 Jan 2020 09:30 [Places]
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Thu 23 Jan 2020 15:30 [Places]
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Mon 3 Feb 2020 15:30 [Places]
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Tue 4 Feb 2020 15:30 [Places]
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Mon 10 Feb 2020 15:30 [Places]
Thu 27 Feb 2020 09:30 [Places]
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Thu 27 Feb 2020 11:30 [Places]
Thu 27 Feb 2020 13:30 [Places]
Thu 27 Feb 2020 14:30 [Places]
Thu 27 Feb 2020 15:30 [Places]
Tue 3 Mar 2020 09:30 [Places]
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Tue 3 Mar 2020 11:30 [Places]
Tue 3 Mar 2020 13:30 [Places]
Tue 3 Mar 2020 14:30 [Places]
Tue 3 Mar 2020 15:30 [Places]

Do the terms ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ intrigue you? Do you want to understand how they can be part of your future progression? There are many opportunities and programmes across this university for postdocs to get involved in coaching and mentoring in different ways. The overall purpose of this workshop is to help postdocs understand the importance of being coached and mentored, and/or being a coach or a mentor. This workshop introduces these two methods to explore what they are and how they can be part of a professional profile for postdocs.


  • Be able to differentiate between the the terms ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ and identify situations for each that are specifically relevant to postdocs.
  • Understand how make use of coaching and mentoring as part of your personal, professional and career progression.


“Great trainer - very professional, supportive and helpful.”

“This was a great coaching and mentoring session. I liked the interaction with other people.”

“I like the approach to the topics covered. [There was] useful information that I would like to explore more to enhance my coaching and mentoring.”

1 other event...

Date Availability
Wed 4 Dec 2019 14:00 [Places]
Postdocs: Leading Others new Thu 5 Dec 2019   10:00   [More dates...] [Places]

Are you ready to lead others confidently in whatever leadership position you may find yourself in?

This workshop draws on insight gained from Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership and Postdocs: Self-Leadership and considers how to apply different skills, strengths, and styles of leadership as well as the strategies of self-leadership to enable you to thoughtfully and self-assuredly lead others. This workshop will help you cultivate a more profound and extensive portfolio of leadership capabilities and a deeper understanding of how to motivate people and to get the best out of them.

It is possible to attend this as an individual workshop, although we would recommend that you try to attend the series starting with Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership and Postdocs: Self-Leadership.


  • Understand the key components of being led and leading others.
  • Expand and extend your skills, strengths, abilities and style in detail so that you can lead others now and in the future.
  • Apply self-knowledge, awareness and techniques in the deployment of your leadership skills with others.

1 other event...

Date Availability
Thu 12 Mar 2020 14:00 [Places]
Postdocs: Self-Leadership new Mon 11 Nov 2019   10:00   [More dates...] [Places]

The first step toward confident leadership is assured and well-balanced self-leadership. Are you really aware of how you lead yourself every day? This workshop aims to inspire you to be a self-leader by developing strategies to extend your awareness and confidence to take action and design the professional outcomes you are looking for. We will encourage you to think about how to recognise patterns of your own behaviour that might hold you back so that you can have the understanding and tools to communicate yourself and your perspective with awareness and confidence. This will create a firm foundation on which to build your leadership of others.

This workshop leads onto Postdocs: Leading Others. We recommend that you do these workshops after having first completed Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership.


  • Explore and experience your skills, strengths, abilities and style in detail within your individual context.
  • Consider how to extend your own self-leadership on a daily basis through a variety of strategies.
  • Apply self-knowledge, awareness and techniques to your repertoire of leadership skills.

1 other event...

Date Availability
Tue 4 Feb 2020 10:00 [Places]
Postdocs: Strategies for Being Resilient new Thu 7 Nov 2019   10:00   [More dates...] [Places]

The life of a postdoc can be inherently stressful, with making applications for research grants, publishing and maintaining a work life balance, as well as coping with the precariousness of temporary contracts or visa regulations. Postdocs need an ample supply of resilience to deal with the ups and downs of being a professional researcher.

The aim of this workshop is to help you build emotional resilience by further developing coping strategies to overcome challenges. We will focus on what constitutes resilience, identifying your current coping strategies, and using theories of resilience to strengthen your ability to deal with whatever life and work throws at you, whilst maintaining a good level of wellbeing.


  • Recognise that you already have emotional resilience and use strategies on an ongoing basis.
  • Cultivate further effective coping strategies for various contexts.
  • Discover how to use a range of tools and techniques to increase your resilience.


“I would like more courses like this! Thank you!”

“Really good framework for applying it personally.”

“Interacting in groups worked well while exploring real-life examples.”

1 other event...

Date Availability
Thu 19 Mar 2020 14:00 [Places]
Postdocs: Sustaining and Expanding Your Creativity new Mon 28 Oct 2019   10:00 [Places]

How do you keep ideas flowing? Academia calls for researchers to generate original ideas and make novel contributions. Indeed, maintaining creativity is a key part of career progression. But how do you continue to come up with new ideas and questions or see fresh areas of research, especially while under the daily pressures of professional obligations?

The purpose of this experiential workshop is to explore the subject of creativity and to try out and experiment with different ways of thinking and doing that might help facilitate the generation of more ideas. We will also look closely at the connection between creativity and risk-taking and the great potential of this link. This course is for postdocs wanting to understand and expand their own creative minds.


  • Reflect on the importance of continuing to cultivate creativity.
  • Explore ways of thinking and practices that help in the generation of ideas.
  • See the connection between creativity and risk-taking.

Do you know how to write a successful research grant application? This course is designed for postdocs with little or no experience of getting their research funded. It will explore the current research environment and impact agenda and help you understand how research is funded. You will also experience the process of reviewing applications and gain valuable and timely knowledge about how to get research funded.


  • Learn tips and strategies to help you to get your current & future projects funded
  • Understand how proposals are assessed by funders
  • Gain experience of reviewing funding applications
  • Gain information about translational research funding and support available to post-docs


“Both the online resources presented, and the focused training sessions were well structured and passed through the importance of well-structured proposal, and often overlooked issues such as impact.”

“[I liked] seeing a grant from another discipline, to realise that a well-written grant (even if not perfect) can be understood also by people external to the field.”

1 other event...

Date Availability
Thu 11 Jun 2020 09:30 [Places]
Poster Presentations (AHSS) new Tue 19 Nov 2019   14:00   [More dates...] [Places]

Poster presentations are a well-established format for presenting research findings within STEM subjects. The past few years has witnessed a growth in poster presentations across a number of AHSS conferences. Given the infancy of this phenomena, it stands that a number of researchers within AHSS remain unsure on the question of content design and delivery.

During the session, therefore, we will explore what makes a successful poster presentation in AHSS and examine how key components of a poster can be designed to make the poster more effective to your target audience.

This is a beginner’s course covering the basics of poster presentations.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Thu 19 Mar 2020 14:00 [Places]
Tue 16 Jun 2020 14:00 [Places]

The time has come to start writing your thesis, but you may still be in the lab finishing experiments and/or writing papers for publication. How are you going to start writing your thesis and submit on time? This half day workshop is designed to get you thinking and planning your thesis writing, as well as discuss other important factors, which need to be considered when writing up.

4 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 5 Nov 2019 10:00 [Places]
Mon 3 Feb 2020 13:00 [Places]
Fri 7 Feb 2020 14:00 [Places]
Tue 10 Mar 2020 10:00 [Places]

What does it mean to be a public intellectual today? To convey ideas to diverse audiences requires skills in written and other forms of communication.

We will be looking at how reaching ‘outside’ audiences is more than a question or terminology of style; we need to understand their fundamental values, premises and interests concerning knowledge and information. This is crucial for research exchange and impact, but also has practical implications for managing your career within academia and beyond.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Wed 19 Feb 2020 10:00 [Places]
Wed 20 May 2020 10:00 [Places]

Success as a researcher is as much about managing your process and resources as it is about intellectual brilliance. What’s more, there is no ‘correct’ way to operate – everyone has to find approaches that work for him or her and fit with their own circumstances. So, what does it mean to be efficient and effective, and how can we fit these simple tools and strategies to aid our effectiveness in the context being a researcher?

This one-day immersive workshop will help you to build personal effectiveness tool-kit.

Specifically we’ll focus on six theme areas (which complement the short bite-sized modules and online offerings from the Cambridge Researcher Development programme). These themes are:

Self – Manage your personal development and growth
Project – Consider your research as a project to be managed and draw on some simple project management practices
Integrated – Reflect on your overall approach to research and fine you’re your work-life balance.
Relationships – Get the best out of the team (inc. supervisor) around you
Information - Develop some strategies for handling the papers, articles and data that cross your desk
Time – Learn some simple tools to ensure you make the most out of the most precious resource you have

Within these themes, the exact nature of the session on the day will be tailored to the needs and questions of participants and there will be a small amount of preparatory work to aid your reflection prior to the session.

The workshop will be led by Steve Hutchinson, a former academic who is now a consultant, author and coach.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 20 Jan 2020 10:00 [Places]
Mon 15 Jun 2020 10:00 [Places]

Let’s face it; being a researcher can be stressful! Not only are you managing the ups and downs of life in the lab, but you are probably balancing work and life and also have one eye on the future and what comes after your PhD…

This workshop is designed to help you build emotional resilience. You probably already have some strategies in place so we will reflect on the highs and lows you have already experienced, look at some of the theories of resilience and consider how we can better support your coping and wellbeing.

  • Understand what resilience is
  • Consider why researchers need to be resilient
  • Identify when we have been resilient
  • Be aware of the three Cs of stress hardiness
  • Start to develop our resilience toolkits

4 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 2 Mar 2020 10:00 [Places]
Tue 21 Apr 2020 13:00 [Places]
Fri 1 May 2020 14:00 [Places]
Wed 10 Jun 2020 10:00 [Places]

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...

4 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 31 Mar 2020 10:00 [Places]
Fri 24 Apr 2020 14:00 [Places]
Tue 12 May 2020 10:00 [Places]
Tue 30 Jun 2020 10:00 [Places]
Scientific Writing Thu 12 Mar 2020   09:00   [More dates...] [Places]

This one-day course focuses on the structure of good scientific writing. Including writing exercises as an integral part of the workshop, we will look at the practical process of writing, the nature of scientific publishing, and the importance of editing. The day will finish with a group editing session in which you apply the ideas you have learnt by editing each other's work.

For the group editing session you will need to write a 300-word abstract about your work in advance, and bring it with you as a printout (see 'Prerequisites' below for details).

REGISTRATION starts at 9.00am on the day. Please ensure you arrive on time as latecomers may be refused entry.


  • Develop skills for producing high-quality scientific papers aimed at the world's top journals
  • Understand the structure of good communication at the level of sentences, paragraphs, abstracts and entire papers
  • Apply these ideas to your own work

1 other event...

Date Availability
Thu 25 Jun 2020 09:00 [Places]
Solving Research Problems Creatively Fri 6 Dec 2019   09:30   [More dates...] [Places]

While we might assume that creativity is a fixed innate ability – stereotypically leading to the creation of poems and paintings – in the context of our research, the creative thinking process that underpins creativity can be seen as a skill to be developed to solve problems large and small. Indeed, with this creative thinking process at the heart of research, research itself can be viewed as an inherently creative act.

Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this intensive, practical workshop is to help you develop your creative thinking skills to help you solve research problems.

With this aim in mind, the course outcomes are:

  • To give you a systematic creative-thinking process for solving problems.
  • The opportunity to apply and develop a creative thinking process, by working in pairs on a challenge.
  • To explore your assumptions about your own creativity.

Previous feedback:
“It had so many ideas and mnemonics for having a creative and constructive brainstorm, with outputs!”

“This training event showed me how little time brainstorming actually takes and how it boosts creative process. I literally felt that after some warming up, my brain started to give me more and more pictures-ideas in two minutes each time.”

2 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 20 Jan 2020 10:00 [Places]
Mon 11 May 2020 10:00 [Places]
Starting Your PhD (Sciences and Technology) new Mon 25 Nov 2019   10:00   [More dates...] [Places]

You are beginning one of the most exciting, yet challenging programme of your academic career. You have entered a new lab, with a new supervisor, new lab colleagues and a new project. Where do you start? How do establish productive working relationships, get up to speed with literature and establish a project that will be worthy of a PhD at the end? This half day workshop will explore what it means to do a PhD, think about how to establish meaningful student-supervisor relationships and plan for a productive PhD project.

4 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 26 Nov 2019 10:00 [Places]
Tue 3 Dec 2019 10:00 [Places]
Fri 24 Jan 2020 10:00 [Places]
Tue 5 May 2020 10:00 [Places]
The Art of Negotiation and Influence Tue 3 Mar 2020   09:00   [More dates...] [Places]

When opportunities come along, do you feel confident about working with people to get what you need? This course gives you a practical insight into the application of professional communication to everyday life, learning how to persuade and influence others effectively. Improving your listening and communication skills is advantageous for both your personal and your professional life.

This workshop is led by Richard Mullender, an external trainer who formerly worked for the Metropolitan Police as a hostage negotiator, and then as Lead Trainer at the National Crisis & Hostage Negotiation Unit in Scotland Yard. By looking at everyday scenarios as well as life-or-death negotiations from his professional experience – e.g. with terrorists for the release of hostages or with someone threatening to commit suicide – Richard demonstrates how to listen for ‘levers’ that help you to persuade and influence, and to secure the best possible outcome.


  • Be able to use communication consciously to persuade and influence effectively
  • Recognize when others are using persuasive communication techniques
  • Feel more confident in presenting yourself well to others and in gaining support

2 other events...

Date Availability
Wed 4 Mar 2020 09:00 [Places]
Wed 17 Jun 2020 09:00 [Places]

Do you want to increase the probability of completing your PhD on time and be happier doing it? In this workshop, Dr Sue Jackson will share and discuss these 'secrets' which the aim of allowing you to reflect on what you can easily do to help yourself achieve this aim.


  • An understanding of the 7 key characteristics of the students who are most successful
  • An action plan for being more effective in each of these areas

2 other events...

Date Availability
Wed 19 Feb 2020 15:30 [Places]
Wed 11 Mar 2020 15:30 [Places]
The Viva Examination Review (AHSS) new Wed 27 Nov 2019   10:00   [More dates...] [Places]

The last hurdle, your viva examination, but what will it be like? What will the examiners ask? How can you prepare for it?

This workshop provides participants with an insight into the process, and helps them understand what to expect within a doctoral degree viva, including a discussion on the type and nature of questions most-likely to be posed by examiners.

This course is not suitable for students in their first year, and we strongly advise against students in their second year from attending.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 17 Mar 2020 10:00 [Places]
Wed 17 Jun 2020 10:00 [Places]
Time and Project Management (AHSS) new Tue 15 Oct 2019   10:00   [More dates...] [Places]

How is it that we all have the same amount of time in the day, yet some postgraduate research students seem to achieve so much more than others? How can we deal with those people and tasks that seem to drain away our time and energy? How can we make sure that we maintain an effective balance in our work and home life, yet still progress towards our career aims? Managing your research project and time effectively are key skills to develop, and will lead you to be a more effective researcher. This will be useful in your future career whatever direction it takes.

This course provides the tools and techniques required to improve your time and project planning.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 28 Jan 2020 10:00 [Places]
Thu 23 Apr 2020 10:00 [Places]
Turning your thesis into a book (AHSS) new Tue 12 Nov 2019   14:00   [More dates...] [Places]

When we talk about turning a thesis into a ‘book’, we are really talking about a ‘monograph’. In keeping with the etymological sense of the word, a monograph is generally considered a written work that focuses on one specialised subject with a view to contributing original insight and knowledge.

Given a doctoral thesis – particularly in the arts, humanities and social sciences – is a dedicated study on one specialised topic or area of research, it stands to reason that it is a kind of proto-monograph. This course is concerned with turning a proto-monograph into a fully-fledged and published monograph, i.e. a book. The aim, therefore, is to familiarise students with the process of, and the various issues involved with, turning their PhD thesis into a published monograph.

This course is open to all years, but is better suited for students close to completion.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 25 Feb 2020 14:00 [Places]
Tue 2 Jun 2020 10:00 [Places]
Working with your Supervisor (AHSS) new Wed 23 Oct 2019   14:00   [More dates...] [Places]

The student-supervisor relationship is vital for success in all research degree programmes. However, the exact role of the supervisor is often unclear and sometimes it may feel as though you are not getting the support you need. This can be frustrating for students and supervisors alike, and can lead to a negative doctoral experience.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 11 Feb 2020 14:00 [Places]
Fri 22 May 2020 14:00 [Places]

Why this course might make a difference
While the first year report is arguably the first step in completing your PhD, the process of taking this first step can be fraught with uncertainty, particularly if you’re still ‘finding your feet’.

Whether you are feeling confused about the first year report – or just want to become a more effective writer – the overall purpose of this course is to help you improve the writing both of your first year report and of your research in general.

Previous Participant Feedback:

“It helped me benchmark my progress against others, understand my specific challenges and get motivated to just write now, perfect later.”

“It really got me started on writing and gave me a better sense of where I was and where I was heading with my first year report and PhD overall.”

“To hear what are the expectations for the first year report, and what it should be included there.”

2 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 10 Mar 2020 14:00 [Places]
Thu 11 Jun 2020 14:00 [Places]

It’s that time of year: the report is looming on the horizon and the reality of writing is here!

Aimed at first-year PhD students, with little or no academic writing experience. This course focuses on helping you develop good writing habits and become a more efficient writer. It is designed to get you thinking and to get working effectively on your end-of-first-year report / Certificate of Postgraduate Studies.

Please note, this is a beginners course, so if you already have experience in writing for academic purposes, this course might not be for you.


  • Understand the form and function of the first-year report
  • Start planning the structure of your report
  • Experience the benefits of editing and providing feedback on writing

4 other events...

Date Availability
Thu 27 Feb 2020 10:00 [Places]
Thu 12 Mar 2020 10:00 [Places]
Thu 26 Mar 2020 10:00 [Places]
Thu 30 Apr 2020 10:00 [Places]
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