Postgraduate researchers need to develop a host of skills throughout their time at the University in order to be successful in their postgraduate research and their chosen future careers. The University Graduate School is dedicated to providing a framework in which students can develop the skills they need.
Dr Mark Rowan, PhD in Computer Science "I took part in training on writing skills and team building and am now working in a collaborative team to meet goals and am writing papers. I enjoyed the freedom to follow my own research path in my PhD"
Development Needs Analysis
Development Needs Analysis, often referred to as DNA, is a requirement for all postgraduate researchers at the University of Birmingham. DNA involves the postgraduate researcher having a conversation with their supervisor about what skills they want to develop over the next year, these include subject-specific skills, but also skills like critical thinking, communication or enterprise. This conversation is then recorded on the DNA form, providing a structure for researcher development.
Your Development Needs Analysis discussion is framed by the Researcher Development Framework (PDF - 573KB) developed by Vitae and endorsed by the UK Research Councils. See the University Graduate School's Development Needs Analysis pages for more information.
Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Research Methods and Skills
Or PGCARMS for short! This is a collection of advanced research methods and transferable skills modules covering topics from consultancy skills, to narrative research, to public engagement; all covered as short taught courses, online courses and placements. These extra modules are also credit bearing, cumulating in a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) qualification.
As part of the University's Economic and Social Research Council Doctoral Training Centre, PGCARMS was developed by the Graduate School and the College of Social Sciences to give postgraduate researchers advanced training in research and transferable skills. It is also now available for BBSRC-funded postgraduate research students who are part of the Midlands Intergrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP).
More information can be found on the Graduate School's PGCARMS pages.
Skills development programme
The University Graduate School runs an extensive series of training courses, both traditional taught training, and online courses to ensure flexibility for our growing numbers of part-time and distance learners. We personally run training on a range of subjects, including speed reading, presentation skills, writing skills and time management . University Graduate School training courses are free for University of Birmingham postgraduate researchers.
The University Graduate School also works with other training providers to bring postgraduate researchers opportunities like Talent Pool, by Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Endnote training by the Library and Learning and Teaching in Higher Education by the Centre for Learning and Academic Development and Learning Spaces.
All of this is laid out within the Researcher Development Framework to allow easy integration to your Development Needs Analysis. See the University Graduate School's training pages for a complete list of the training available to postgraduate researchers.
Dr Wilber Sabiiti, PhD in Bioscience "I took advantage of all the training opportunities on offer, for example in using software. The University is a great place to pick up lots of skills and the advantage of taking these courses while you are a PGR is that it’s all available for free!"