Identifying your needs

You should review your skills with your supervisor(s) and use your Six-Monthly Reviews to identify areas for development. You may also discuss your development needs with one of the PGR School Training Team: pgrs-training@abdn.ac.uk.

We also run regular Training & Development drop-in sessions throughout the year. This is an informal opportunity to discuss your training needs, provide feedback on our training programme and share your own practice with other PhD researchers. You can book your place on the course booking system.

Planning your development

Once you have identified skills that you would like to develop, you need to choose the most suitable way to do it: by attending a workshop, engaging in an activity or exploring an online resource.

It is best to have a plan and engage with training resources purposefully. E.g., be strategic when timing your attendance of live courses: is there an upcoming opportunity where you can put learnt skills into practice? Or would it be more productive to attend this workshop at another time? Most of our sessions run repeatedly and you will have a chance to participate next year.

It is also helpful to plan your development based on key milestones across your research degree: some workshops might be more useful in year 1, whereas others are more beneficial once you have progressed into year 2 or 3 of your PhD programme.

It helps to think of your PGR journey in different phases, each of which will have different milestones and require different skills. Remember, there is no standard PhD, and everyone's journey will be individual to them and will have different development needs at different times. The phases are designed to help you navigate your PhD and reflect on the types of skills and activities you may be thinking about. There are suggestions for courses, workshops and activities that may be useful during each of the phases.

Evidencing and practicing your skills

Simply attending courses does not automatically translate into development of new skills. The experience of putting your skills into practice will enhance your own professional growth, and where appropriate, provide good evidence of your skills to a future employer.

Once you have identified skills that you already have and skills that you would like to acquire or develop further, it is useful to ask yourself the following questions:
-    Do I have (enough) evidence to demonstrate my skills, or do I need to gather more evidence? E.g., taking part in research outreach activities can evidence your skill of communicating complex ideas to general audiences.
-    Is there an upcoming opportunity where I can put my skills into practice? E.g., you might consider taking part in the 3 Minute Thesis Competition or Pecha Kutcha Competition, to practice your public speaking skills and your ability to present complex data in a clear and engaging format.


To help you practice your skills, we offer a wide range of opportunities, including events, competitions and researcher-led activities that run throughout the year. Please see Skills into Practice section for more information.