Career Development

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Postdoctoral and early career researchers in the Colleges of EPS and LES can access the wide range of training and development activities offered by training providers across the University. 

Entitlement to Time for Training and Development

The Vitae Researcher Development Concordat states that institutions must provide for researchers to engage in a minimum of 10 days professional development pro rata per year.  It has been agreed within both EPS and LES that all PDs and ECRS may have an average of 2hrs per week of work time to undertake activities that will enhance their careers.  This is the equivalent of about 12 days per year.


The PERCAT Cross-Disciplinary Mentoring Scheme is aimed at providing mentorship to postdoctoral and early-career researchers within the Colleges of EPS and LES who are in need of support in any area of their career, giving them the opportunity to discuss career paths with a mentor who is a senior researcher or an academic.  Further information can be found on our Mentoring page.

Expressions of interest for the 2021-22 round of the PERCAT Cross-Disciplinary Mentoring Scheme are now closed.

Career Development Competition

PERCAT provides funding to support and enhance career development opportunities for the postdoctoral and early career researcher community in EPS and LES via an annual open competition.

The PERCAT LES & EPS Career Development Competition for 2021-22 has now closed for applications.  Please look out for further information on next year's round, which will be announced in the autumn.

How to find University-wide Training and Development opportunities

  1. The EPS & LES PERCAT Canvas Calendar shows training activities across the University by date. If you are unable to access these pages then please contact Jennifer Thomson.
  2. The PERCAT Training and Development spreadsheet for 2021-22 provides a list of all opportunities available to postdoctoral and early career research staff. 
  3. The drop-down menu below can be used to search for the type of training you require.

University-wide Training

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Can't find the type of training you need?  Contact Jennifer Thomson to find out more about whether this is offered within the University.

University Training and Development Providers

People and Organisational Development (POD)

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People and Organisational Development (POD) provide a number of tailored courses to support on-going personal and professional development. These range from CV Writing and Interview Skills to Financial Management and Presentation Skills.  POD’s Learning and Development Portfolio 2019-20 provides a comprehensive listing of learning and development opportunities from POD and other teams across the University. 

The brochure includes a section devoted to courses and workshops for researchers.  These are aimed at helping you identify how you wish to move on in your career and develop the skills you need to do so.  POD’s training courses in researcher skills are as follows:

  • Career planning for researchers

  • Developing as a research team leader (Nottingham collaboration)

  • Developing as an academic team leader

  • Introduction to Impact & Engagement

  • Grant writing

  • Journal article writing

Details of POD’s training courses for research staff can be accessed here.

POD courses can be very popular and get booked up well in advance.  If you have a specific course in mind then please ensure you book promptly.

Follow POD on Twitter: @PODHR             


Library Services

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Library Services offer a range of resources, subject support, and training courses enabling research staff to develop their skills in different ways.  The support on offer includes:

Research Skills

The Research Skills team in Library Services has developed a new suite of training opportunities for research staff, covering areas such as research profile and metrics, literature searching and referencing, open access and research data management..  Visit the Library’s Research Support home page to find out more

Digital Skills

Library Services offer a wide range of training courses in statistical software, databases, spreadsheets and other digital skills.  Visit the Library’s Digital Skills home page to find out about the different types of training on offer and use the ‘I’d like training in…’ drop down menu to access courses on specific subjects.

Five ways to raise your research profile

An online document with practical advice on raising your research profile.

Research and Information Skills: online courses

A range of online courses focusing on different research skills are available via the Canvas Gallery.



Birmingham Environment for Academic Research (BEAR)

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The Birmingham Environment for Academic Research (BEAR) is a collection of complementary IT resources managed by IT Services that are designed to help research, free at the point of use for all bar those with exceptional needs.  BEAR provides a variety of short courses and workshops to help researchers develop their IT skills.  The support on offer is detailed in the BEAR Services document, and includes:

BEAR Necessities

A regular workshop aimed at enabling both research staff and research students to get the most out of BEAR.

BEAR Drop-In Sessions

Every month, BEAR offer drop-in sessions for all researchers who are interested in learning more about data management, including registering for BEAR services, best practice in planning for research data management and managing sensitive and personal data safely. No need to pre-book, just turn up.

The Hacker Within

The Hacker Within is a monthly peer learning group for sharing skills and best practices for research computing and data science. In these friendly sessions, peers at all levels of experience share topics useful in our data analysis and software development workflows.

The Carpentries Courses

Carpentries workshops are two days of hands-on teaching and coding, with the aim of providing the attendee with a set of core skills that will greatly aid a researcher. The target audience is learners who have little to no prior computational experience, and the instructors put a priority on creating a friendly environment to empower researchers and enable data-driven discovery. Even those with some experience will benefit, as the goal is to teach not only how to do analyses, but how to manage the process to make it as automated and reproducible as possible.

Introduction to Matlab

MATLAB® is a high-level language and interactive environment that enables you to perform computationally intensive tasks faster than with traditional programming languages such as C, C++, and Fortran.  BEAR provide an introduction to Matlab fundamentals via a dedicated Canvas course.

BEAR User Groups

The BEAR User Groups are run by users on behalf of users. The interests of users in various groups are represented by the user representatives, typically but not necessarily one from each school. Their main role is to raise areas of concern with the User Group which could then be brought forward to the BEAR Management Committee.

Please note that there is currently a very high demand for BEAR’s training sessions.  Training sessions are booking up very quickly and waiting lists are being used.  BEAR are working to improve their booking systems, but please be aware that due to levels of demand not everyone can be accommodated at once.



Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFi)

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The aim of HEFi  is to support academic staff to deliver effective and innovative teaching througout their careers.  It offers a range of professional development and training opportunities to support teaching and learning. Further information can be found on HEFI's Staff Development pages.

Introduction to Teaching and Supporting Learning

Introduction to Teaching and Supporting Learning (ITSL) is part of the University’s PGCHE programme but it is also available as a standalone professional development opportunity for other academic and professional staff who have a student-facing element to their work. It is suitable for early career staff involved in teaching and supporting learning.

The Beacon Scheme

The Beacon Scheme is the University of Birmingham's scheme that is accredited by Advance HE to award Associate Fellowship, Fellowship and Senior Fellowship.  It sits alongside the taught programme as a pathway towards gaining a HESA-recognition teaching qualification / recognition.

If you have a role within the University that involves teaching and/or supporting learning, Beacon Professional Recognition allows you to apply for recognition internally through an individual, peer-supported process. All staff employed by the University (academic or professional services) can join the scheme.



LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is now available for all University of Birmingham staff and students. LinkedIn Learning offers you access to over 13,000 industry-led on-line courses. The courses range from in-depth learning to short courses and they include videos, transcripts and digital badges. They cover a vast range of topics including digital skills, leadership, inclusion, marketing, coding, cybersecurity, music, and many more.

A series of University of Birmingham learning pathways is already available - with more on the way - and these are tailored to the needs of our staff and students. You can also easily create your own playlists. 

To activate your individual profile and better understand how LinkedIn Learning works and what courses are available, check out the LinkedIn Learning page on the staff intranet.

Other University Sources of Support

 Research Support Offices

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The Research Support Office in CoEPS and the Research Support Office in CoLES provide the first point of contact for advice and assistance with all research-related issues. The teams are able to help with most aspects of the grant application process. They offer a range of services including bespoke funding searches, advice and guidance on funder terms and conditions, and non-technical grant application review. Staff login is required to access the Resarch Support Office pages.

The Research Support Services at the University of Birmingham organise and run - through its College-based research support teams in CAL, CoSS, EPS, LES, MDS and the EU and International Team - a diversity of training sessions for research grants development.  These can be found on the Cross-College Calendar of Grant Training Opportunities.



Research and Innovation Services

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Research & Innovation Services work across the University to help researchers create funding and income opportunities relevant to their skills and research interests. Academic staff benefit from professional help when developing their research ideas, funding and delivering their project. 

Some of the areas they are able to help with are; improving your research grant success rate, apply for European funding, protect and commercialise your ideas, and starting up a business. They have advice and information on:

  • Research Funding

  • Research Support

  • Research Impact



Research Planning

The Research Planning team works with staff across the University to promote and develop the strategic approach to research. Crucial aspects of this are leading the preparation of the University’s submission to the national Research Excellence Framework and implementing the University's research impact strategy

The Research Planning Team offers a wide range of training on a variety of topics; from Impact and Public Engagement, to REF, Open Access and Research Information. 

The dedicated Public Engagement with Reseach team deliver events, training and support activities for Public Engagement with Research.



University of Birmingham Enterprise

Teaching and research can often lead to new ideas and inventions some of these may have commercial potential.  Through University of Birmingham Enterprise Ltd, the University's technology transfer company, these ideas can be developed into products or services either through licensing to a commercial partner or through the creation of a new spin-out company. 

The Enterprise Acceleration team works with academic researchers who want to learn more about commercialising their research or becoming entrepreneurs. The team provide enterprise skills training and start-up incubation services, manage funds that bridge the gap between research funding and commercial investment, and provide start-up incubation services that are available to both academics and SMEs in the Birmingham area.




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Enterprise Acceleration manages the BizzInn, a business incubator that provides business support for regional entrepreneurs, start-ups and academics.  

BizzInn members receive free office space with 24/7 access, and an intensive start-up and growth programme including business guidance from professional advisors specialising in intellectual property, accounting, tax, and market research, and access to finance through grants, loans, investors, and business angels.

Membership of BizzInn’s business support programme is currently offered free (subject to eligibility), and is available for:

Academics who wish to consider commercialisation of their research

Entrepreneurs and academic teams developing new research inspired companies, and

Young high-tech companies looking to grow their business.

The BizzInn is also the venue for free seminars, training and networking events.

For more information about the BizzInn contact Andrew Cruxton at, or call 0121 414 6132, or visit the BizzInn website.



University Graduate School

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The University Graduate School offers a range of training courses for both postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers. The courses are available online via the University's virtual learning environment and include:

For the all these courses and others available please visit the Training Courses section of the University Graduate School's web site.

The Graduate School also organises regular Careers Days focusing on different disciplines, which are opened to postdoctoral research staff where space allows.



The Influential Researcher

The University’s Influential Researcher portal enables researchers to build their digital footprint and enhance their online profile.  The portal contains a wealth of resources and information enabling researchers to:

·       ‘Health check’ your research profile
·       Curate your online identity
·       Review or start your social media account
·       Gain insights from highly cited researchers
·       Host an academic conference
·       Build your international reputation



The CoLES Compliance page provides a number of resources that support compliance within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (LES), including key contacts, useful links and upcoming training sessions.



Introduction to Research Communications

Are you keen to communication your research but not sure where to start?  A new resource on the EPS & LES PERCAT Canvas course provides an Introduction to Research Communications.  This 8 minute video has been put together by Caroline Durbin, Research Communications Manager in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

The video covers:

  • Why you should communicate your research.
  • Getting the right message to the right audience at the right time.
  • Research communication opportunities at this University.

You can access the video on our PERCAT Canvas course here

For any queries about research communication please contact:
College of Life and Environmental Sciences: Caroline Durbin, Research Communications Manager,
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences: Danann Swanton, Communications Manager,

External Sources of Career Development Support 

Vitae- Professional Development for Researchers

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Vitae is a non-profit programme, part of The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Ltd which seeks to enhance the skills and careers of researchers and to strengthen institutional provision for the professional development of their researchers. 

The University of Birmingham is a Vitae member institution, meaning that individuals just need to register to gain access. The system will recognise your institutional address.  It’s very easy and will not result in unwanted mail.  Further details.

Vitae provides a range of online courses and resources for researchers covering professional development, career management and planning, and careers inside and outside academia.

The Vitae Researcher Booklets series provides practical advice and tips tailored to researchers on topics chosen to support professional development. Each booklet includes advice and suggested exercises to work through.

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

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The new Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers was launched by Vitae on 12th September 2019.  The Concordat is an agreement between stakeholders, including universities and funding bodies, to improve the employment and support for researchers and researcher careers in higher education in the UK. 



Research Professional

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Research Professional is an online database of research funding opportunities and research policy news which provides a quick and easy way to search for a wide range of funding opportunities from research councils, charities, and many other funders.  When on campus you can login to the website with your University account and this will enable you both to access pre-set funding searches for the Colleges of EPS and LES and also to set up your own tailored searches.  The website’s Help section provides a range of guidance and training videos to help you get the most from using the site.

Online Broadcast Demonstrations - a series of live online broadcast training sessions providing an introduction to the Research Professional platform, and demonstrating how to locate funding opportunities and how to set up email alerts.



Career Development Toolkit for Researchers

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The Career Development Toolkit for Researchers is provided by and is aimed at post-doctoral researchers who have gained one to two years’ experience in academic research. You may be at a point at which you are considering your overall career progress and development in academia or be contemplating a career change.

This toolkit offers some general starting points for those wanting to reflect on their career to date and to begin to formulate an ongoing career strategy.

The toolkit can be accessed here.




EMBO is an organization of more than 1800 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and EMBO Press publications disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.

EMBO also offers fellowships, awards and financial support for scientists at all stages of their careers that help to create an environment where researchers can achieve their best work.

Other Useful Resources





  • An Academic Career - resource by the University of Manchester.

  • BIG - is the skills sharing network for individuals involved in the communication of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

  • Cambridge AWISE - Network for women who wish to return to a STEM career after a break. 

  • Elsevier Research Academy - online platform offering free lectures, interactive training and advice. 

  • Future Learn -  offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. 

  • Personal and Professional Development - Bitesize learning - from the University of Cambridge: short clips on communication, communication skills, etc.

  • Universitas 21 - global network for research universities. Covers areas such as researcher engagement.



Public Engagement




  • Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) - aims to promote interdisciplinary research.

  • KUDOS - the University is working with a new service called Kudos, to help you maximise the reach and impact of your published work.  Makes your work more accessible, it helps ensure it is found, read and applied by people all over the world, both within and beyond your field.

  • - a to z publication index.

  • NERC - Planet Earth - features news, interviews, blog posts and more.

  • Netivisit University - join interesting discussions showcased in public lectures, workshops and events organised by top universities and think-tanks.

  • ORCID - register for your Open Researcher and Contributor ID.

  • Resources - ebooks and toolkits - free downloadable pdf files from on topics such as: Career Development Toolkit for Researchers - aimed at postdoctoral researchers who have gained one to two years of experience.

  • The Guardian Higher Education Network - registration required to access the site. 

  • The Naked Scientists - a team of scientists, doctors and communicators who help the general public to understand and engage with the worlds of science, technology and medicine.

  • 500 Women Scientists: Birmingham Pod - a global group of women with a mission to promote a diverse and inclusive scientific community.




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  • PostGradual: The PhD Careers Blog PostGradual is the postgrad careers blog that takes PhD careers advice one tip at a time.  Bringing together advice from PhD careers experts round the world with practical tips & examples, it aims to be useful to PhD researchers and careers practitioners / researcher developers alike.

  • Career blogs

  • Think: Public Engagement - UoB's virtual space for information, inspiration and new ways to communicate science to the public

  • ICoRSA - The International Consortium of Research Staff Associations 

  • The Research Whisperer - blog for early career researchers with international contributors.  

  • BSA blog - The British Science Association blog covers a wide range of topics in science, policy, education, public engagement and funding.

  • Science in the Open   - a blog on the technical and social issues involved with 'Open Research'.  

  • Science Showoff - a blog about an open mic night for scientists, science communicators, science teachers, historians and philosophers of science, students, science popularisers and anyone else with something to show off about science.







  • NIH Peer Review Revealed - provides a front-row seat to a NIH peer review meeting. Real scientists from the scientific community review fictional but realistic grant applications for scientific merit.

  • Relating public engagement to impact - An impact consultant from the University of Sheffield talking about the topic. 

  • Working with the media & using social media for public engagement  - providing advice on how to use these tools to promote public engagement - University of Sheffield 

  • Re/Search in the Digital Age - engage@liverpool 

    This University of Liverpool event was aimed at all researchers in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, health and life sciences and engineering and the natural sciences interested in digital research. 

     Presentation:        Part 1       Part 2



iTune U

  • iTunes U > Oxford University - Entrepreneurship - The Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is the focal point for entrepreneurship research, teaching and networking at Oxford University. Podcast no 17 - Social Media, So What? Assessing the Impact of Blogs and Social Media

To view or listen to all the above content you will need to have iTunes Player.

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News articles



Festivals & Events



Reports & Surveys

Welcome Trust - Factors affecting public engagement by UK researchers.



Courses & Workshops

Science Communication