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Researcher Development



There are many different skills development providers across the University besides Researcher Development, and while this means that there are a wealth of opportunities available to you, it can also make it quite confusing to find what you need!

We have therefore collated this information into the Researcher Development Hub, with courses organised by application rather than provider, as a resource to help you find appropriate courses more easily. The colours relate to the CamRDF.

Your Department and School will also run subject-specific courses, and may even run bespoke versions of the courses below: check their programmes too!

Good data management is a vital skill for any professional, but will also ensure that when you come to write your thesis, you know where your results are!

The Research Data Management Centre has produced an extensive guide to data management on their website, which takes you through the whole process of managing your data, from deciding how best to collect it in the first place, through to storing it long-term and making it accessible to others.

They also maintain a list of data management resources and training within the University, including courses run by the Research Data Management Centre themselves.

The University Information Services has some courses available on different reference management software, including Mendeley and EndNote.

The University Library also runs courses on data and reference management. There is a suite of courses for Arts and Humanities students: of particular interest for this area might be Zotero for Graduates and Effective Management of Information.

There is also a suite of courses for Science and Technology students: of particular interest for this area might be Referencing Your Work Like a Pro, An Introduction to Research Data Management and Managing Your Research Data and Working Reproducibly.

The University Information Services provide a whole range of training courses in different aspects of IT, some of which are available as online modules, and some of which are face-to-face workshops.

Training courses for specific purposes may be listed in other appropriate sections of the RD Hub, but otherwise the programme includes courses such as:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations; Excel for spreadsheets; Outlook for email management
  • Database software: MS Access and Oracle
  • Project management software: MS Project and Visio
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software for increasing productivity
  • Web publishing software such as Adobe Dreamweaver and web authoring courses in HTML5 and CSS
  • Access to, an online educational company with courses on software, creative and business skills

Your ability to create a good report or paper depends on your software skills as well as your writing skills.

The University Information Services provide training in word processing using both Microsoft Office and LaTeX. For graphics, they provide training in several components of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, including Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Publisher for desktop publishing.

The Bioinformatics Training Facility runs an Introduction to Scientific Figure Design course, which covers both how to design clear and fair figures as well as the practical process of creating and editing them.

Communicating your research is not just a case of writing well, but also of being able to navigate the publication process successfully.

The Office of Scholarly Communication supports researchers through the publication process, and have recently developed a new suite of courses especially for PhD students. These will run each term and cover the whole process of publishing your research, from how to pick a journal to tracking online attention. There are also courses on topics such as publishing a book.

The University Library runs a course on Writing for Publication which is open to all science students (not just those in Medicine, as the title suggests). The course covers actual writing tips as well as the publication process. There is also a course on Post-Publication Sharing for STEMM students.

The Careers Service is the central provider of careers-related information, advice and training within the University for all students and postdocs. We highly recommend that you register with them at an early stage. You will then be well placed to take advantage of their resources during your time in Cambridge (develop your proactive mindset!).

For an overview of their services, please check out the Cambridge Careers Guide. Some specific resources you might be interested in include:

Understanding how intellectual property works and knowing how to commercialize your research are vital skills for researchers to develop.

Cambridge Enterprise was formed to help staff and students commercialise their expertise and ideas for the benefit of the global community. Their page on developing your skills should definitely be your first port of call if you're interested in entrepreneurship. It brings together a wealth of resources across the University, including societies, programmes, competitions and events.

If you're looking to engage in consultancy you might also be interested in their free online Consultancy Training course.

The Careers Service website has an entire section about entrepreneurship, from being self-employed to starting up a business.

The Postdoc Academic has a focus page for postdocs interested in exploring the entrepreneurial mindset.

The Judge Business School's Entrepreneurship Centre brings together a suite of programmes on entrepreneurship. Of particular interest may be Enterprise Tuesdays, a series of evening lectures and networking sessions designed to introduce participants to the world of business.

Your Department may also run courses on issues relating to Intellectual Property.

The Centre for Science and Policy works to bring together public policy professionals and academics.

They provide workshops and other training designed to help researchers learn how research contributes to policy-making and to gain experience working at the intersection of research and policy. In particular:

The University Library runs a variety of training courses on how to conduct literature searches, find secondary literature, and utilize the library services within the University.

Some of the courses say 'Medicine' in the title, but are actually open to all science students.

There is a suite of courses for Arts and Humanities students: of particular interest for this area might be Finding Secondary Literature.

There is also a suite of courses for Science and Technology students: of particular interest for this area might be Find What You Need Fast (Life Sciences or Physical Sciences and Technology) and So You Think You Can Read.

Nearly all postgraduate study requires some knowledge of statistics. Your Department may provide compulsory statistics training, but otherwise it is your responsibility to ensure you have the necessary level of statistics knowledge to complete your research successfully.

  • The Social Sciences Research Methods Centre provides training in statistics which is open to all students. They provide an extensive set of Core Modules: the Basic Statistics Stream, Introductions to Software Packages, and Qualitative Methods modules are of particular note. They usually run only once per year, so forward planning is essential.
  • They also provide access to Open Modules available from other Departments within the University, and have an online course in using Strata.
  • Access to Statistics for the Terrified is available from the University Information Services.
  • The Medical Research Council runs a variety of short courses open to anyone via their Biostatistics Unit.
  • The GSLS Biostatistics Initiative currently offers a Core Statistics course open to anyone within the Graduate School of Life Sciences, with more open courses under development. They also run several bespoke courses for specific institutions, so do check whether you belong to one of those.
  • The Bioinformatics Training facility runs a course on statistical analysis using R open to anyone with experience in using R.
  • The Statistics Clinic offers walk-in statistical consultations, open to any member of the University.

The Bioinformatics Training Facility provides an extensive suite of training courses in a variety of bioinformatic techniques.

There are courses available on using specific databases and bioinformatic services, and there are courses available on advanced data analysis and analytical techniques for specific types of data.

Programming is usually an essential skill for researchers in the Schools of Physical Sciences and Technology, but may also be vital for researchers in other fields.

Online courses on programming in VBA using both Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel are available from the University Information Services.

Face-to-face courses on programming are also available. There is an introduction to programming for absolute beginners, as well as courses on specific languages such as C++ and Python 3.

The Bioinformatics Training Facility provides a suite of basic skills courses which aim to introduce beginners to programming with a focus on solving biological problems. They cover languages such as MATLAB, Perl, Python and R.

Whether a foreign language is an integral part of your postgraduate studies or you are simply looking to expand your skillset, the Language Centre is the go-to place for language studies in the University.

For information on how language can impact upon your career, and a summary of what the Language Centre offers, check out their page on Your Language Study. Some specific courses and resources you might be interested in include:

If you are looking for training to help you improve your public engagement skills, or for opportunities to gain more experience, the Public Engagement team should be your first point of contact.

As well as useful pages on what public engagement is and why it is important for your career, some specific courses and opportunities you might be interested in include: