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Centre for Academic, Researcher & Organisation Development

Researcher Development

Researcher Development Programme

For the latest information on the Durham Researcher Development Programme, go to our blog:

Postgraduate study is demanding. You need a clear understanding of your discipline and the contribution you intend to make. Whatever your chosen field you will require research skills, but you will also need to develop a wider range of personal transferable skills. We will get you off to a good start at the outset and throughout your studies with our Researcher Development Programme, which offers around 2,000 places each year.

Why Development?

The Programme is open to all full and part-time students registered for higher degrees by thesis. The courses provide training which is relevant for the professional development of all postgraduates, irrespective of their particular area of study, and is intended to complement the training offered by departments, which is normally discipline specific. The skills you will acquire are intended to help your research at Durham and also to enhance your life skills and employability.

We will complement your discipline specific training by offering workshops and courses covering:

  • Research skills and techniques
  • The research environment
  • Research management
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Communication skills
  • Networking and teamworking
  • Career management

Where to Begin

Training Needs Analysis

The Training Needs Analysis form is accessed via the Review tab in Duo (Durham University Online: and should be completed online. Just as everyone’s research is unique, so are their skills development needs. Training Needs Analysis will help you identify your needs and plan your training and development activities. Under the guidance of your supervisors, you are required to undertake a training needs analysis in the first month of your research. To help you begin this process, it is recommended that all beginning postgraduate researchers attend your Faculty Induction Session which will be held in October and January of each year. If you have any questions or would like further guidance on completing your Training Needs Analysis, please contact the Researcher Development Team.

The quality of the Researcher Development Programme has recently been recognised by two prestigious awards. Our programme was awarded the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers in October 2009. In May 2010 we received the Gold Global Learning Impact Award of the IMS Global Learning Impact Consortium for our on-line training modules which were produced in partnership with Epigeum Ltd, an e-learning company.

Download the information booklets for the Researcher Development Programme below.