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All Researcher Development Programme (RDP) courses

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Being Assertive: Making Yourself Heard Thu 21 Feb 2019   14:00 [Full]

Research can be fraught with the challenges of working with others - whether your supervisor or PI or your colleagues – and the challenge of asserting yourself appropriately.

Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this practical workshop is to help you develop your assertive communication skills, to enhance your everyday interactions with others.

With this in mind, the course seeks to help you develop:

  • An assertive mindset
  • Practical strategies for developing your assertiveness

Previous feedback:

“It was dynamic, provided a high level of interaction between trainer and trainees and presented very relevant and thought-provoking ideas.”

“It showed us ways to communicate more effectively with colleagues.”

Giving presentations is an essential skill for a researcher, be it in your deparment, at a major conference, or in your next job interview! You know your subject but sometimes issues of performance and clarity stop you being your best. Perhaps you can't project your voice, perhaps you are terrified of the Q&A, perhaps you feel your slides let you down, or perhaps you just don't know what to do to get better.

This is a highly interactive workshop that requires you to throw yourself into the activities. Everyone will be involved as we apply some of the material from the online Presentation and Performance toolkit and try it out in a safe and supportive environment.

The workshop is especially designed for those who feel less confident with the performance aspects of giving presentations. If you are comfortable standing up and talking in front of others then we recommend starting with the online materials.

4 other events...

Date Availability
Tue 19 Mar 2019 10:00 [Full]
Tue 26 Mar 2019 10:00 [Full]
Tue 18 Jun 2019 10:00 [Places]
Tue 9 Jul 2019 10:00 [Places]
Building Resilience and Coping with Setbacks Thu 21 Feb 2019   10:00 [Places]

Perhaps because it’s at the meeting point between the known and the unknown, research can seem to be inherently stressful; our good intentions to complete our research can in reality be fraught with setbacks. So how do we cope with these challenges?

Why this course might make a difference
The overall purpose of this two-hour practical workshop is to help you develop your resilience to cope with setbacks in your research.

With this aim in mind, specific outcomes of the course include:

  • Developing your knowledge of the ‘6 Cs’ of emotional resilience: Coping, Commitment, Challenge, Control, Community and (self-)Care
  • Developing your application of these ‘6 Cs’

Previous feedback:
“I like the way the course was thought, it was a good mix of direct teaching, reflection and practical exercises. I think it is really well balanced as it gives you the possibility to reflect on what you are doing and what you could further improve.”

“Provided useful tools and perspectives for dealing with future set backs, and an interesting opportunity for introspection.”

“It highlighted the various support networks there exist to aid me in my PhD.”

Business Awareness for Postdocs new Thu 17 Jan 2019   09:00 Finished

The Researcher Development Programme (RDP), the Research Strategy Office, and the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) are offering this one-day course for Cambridge postdocs who are interested in enhancing their business awareness. It isn’t just for researchers considering setting up their own business or actively pursuing a career in the private sector. With more and more research funding being directed towards collaborations between academia and the commercial world, it’s vital for researchers to understand how businesses operate and the skills they value.

This fun, one-day, interactive course includes 'The Frame Game' to give you a taste of the commercial world. Delivery is by the Institute of Manufacturing's experienced industrial fellows. So, book a place to:-

* Experience how a business works
* Explore a range of key business issues including working with customers, different business models and working as a team
* Develop skills around developing and communicating your research and project

This course complements the supervising training and information your Department will provide. It is a course that consists of: an online module, which introduces practices and principles of undergraduate supervision at Cambridge, and a face-to-face workshop in which you will explore challenges and approaches to supervising.

Developing Your Leadership as a PhD Student Mon 25 Feb 2019   10:00 [Full]

Leadership is a word that seems to be ubiquitous in universities these days, but keeping a handle on all its possible meanings is becoming ever harder: research leadership, team leadership, institutional leadership, thought leadership, educational leadership, ethical leadership, inclusive leadership…

Likewise, employers beyond academia repeatedly tell us that they’re seeking researchers who can be self-motivating, proactive, strategic; can build productive relationships with colleagues at all levels of seniority; are able to create consensus and shared understanding; know how to mentor and guide as well as take direction…

So, if leadership is being talked about everywhere and yet is also very hard to define, how can you as a PhD student identify your own leadership practice and your future potential?

This interactive workshop will combine practical insights with key leadership theories in order to explore the ways in which you’re already acting as a leader; to examine how ‘follower’ behaviours have a crucial role in shaping good leadership; and to consider leadership in a variety of contexts.

The session will be led by Jen Wade, a highly experienced trainer who has been leading her own business for more than ten years, working with a diverse range of organisations across the academic, public, and commercial sectors.


  • Review a range of definitions of, and styles of, leadership.
  • Recognise your current strengths and future potential as a leader.
Effective Researcher (Sciences & Technology) Thu 10 Jan 2019   10:00 Finished

This course is designed for first-year PhD students to help you increase your effectiveness and meet the challenges of your PhD. We cover several different aspects of personal effectiveness in this one-day workshop, with practical solutions to get you started on your journey.


  • Start planning the first year of your PhD
  • Be equipped to manage your relationship with your supervisor
  • Understand how to work effectively with others

The new Emerging Research Leaders’ Development Programme (ERLDP) is designed to support postdocs aspiring to achieve research independence in order to lead a research group and/or become a research leader in any field. This programme is intended for postdoctoral researchers from any discipline who have begun or are about to begin the process of applying for independent research funding and/or established positions. An additional criterion is that you must have 2 years’ experience as a postdoc.

The programme builds on RDP’s leadership workshop series (Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership; Postdocs: Self-Leadership; Postdocs: Leading Others. ), which lay the foundations of leadership for postdocs, and provides a more advanced leadership programme for those wishing to explore and consolidate their leadership practice over a four-month period within a multidisciplinary group. It is an application-only programme to enable a group of participants to work together to explore leadership in different contexts, and apply subsequent learning appropriately within their individual situations, current roles and future leadership positions. This will be a highly participative programme and an active and collaborative contribution to the content will be encouraged throughout.

If you are considering making an application to ERLDP 2019 and have not already attended at least two of RDP’s leadership workshop series for postdocs linked above, we strongly recommend that you sign up to complete these courses in Michaelmas 2018. ERLDP will run from January to April 2019.

The Schools of the Arts & Humanities and the Humanities & Social Sciences have organised this event to help you settle into the Cambridge research environment, identify essential providers of advice and guidance, and make a positive start to your new research project. To hit the ground running, you need a sense of where you’re headed, so the theme of this induction is being strategic right from day one.

You will have chance to hear about information management from the Library, career support from the Careers Service, and personal development opportunities provided by the Researcher Development Programme.

This event is designed to complement other departmental and College inductions which you may have had.

Wanting to learn more about the peer-review system and gain a core skill every researcher should possess? This course is designed specifically for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) postdocs and researchers at an early stage of their career with little or no experience of reviewing manuscripts for journals. Focus is on subjects covered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

You will learn how to review research manuscripts quickly and effectively, what editors expect in a review, what to include in written comments to editors and authors and how long you should spend reviewing a manuscript. Following this course, which explores the results from a survey of 60 editors of AHSS journals, you will know the practical methods for reviewing a manuscript swiftly and successfully.

- Gain a core skill that every AHSS researcher should have
- Understand how the peer-review system works
- Develop a better understanding of how to write your own manuscripts

Wanting to learn more about the peer-review system and gain a core skill every researcher should possess? This course is designed specifically for STEMM postdocs and researchers at an early stage of their career and with little or no experience of reviewing manuscripts for journals.

You will learn how to review research manuscripts quickly and effectively, what editors expect in a review, what to include in written comments to editors and authors and how long you should spend reviewing a manuscript. Following this course, you will know the practical methods for reviewing a manuscript swiftly and successfully.

- Gain a score skill that every STEMM researcher should know
- Understand how the peer-review system works
- Develop a better understanding of how to write your own manuscript

Intercultural Communication new Fri 1 Mar 2019   14:00   [More dates...] [Places]

Research in the 21st century is global, and research teams are intercultural. 35% of Cambridge research students are from outside the EU; and postdocs are the most diverse group by nationality, representing almost 100 countries. This diversity is one of the University’s biggest strengths. Yet intercultural communication is not without its pitfalls and misunderstandings. It takes conscious discipline to think about one’s own cultural assumptions and to try to make sense of others'.

This half-day workshop will give you some tools to help identify where culture might be having an influence on your relationships, where common misunderstandings can occur, and how to address potential challenges.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Fri 10 May 2019 10:00 [Places]
Thu 6 Jun 2019 10:00 [Places]

A thorough awareness of issues relating to research ethics and research integrity are essential to producing excellent research. This session will provide an introduction to the ethical responsibilities of researchers at the University and explore issues of good research practice, research integrity and research misconduct. It will be interactive, using case studies to better understand key ethical issues and challenges in all areas.

The course will:

  • explore the issue of research misconduct in academia and facilitate discussion of why and how it occurs
  • explain the University and national expectations around research integrity and examine how this effects researchers
  • discuss some of the challenges to the integrity of research and ask what individuals, groups and institutions can do to tackle them
  • introduce the University’s research ethics system

The course will be delivered by the Research Governance Team in the Research Strategy Office.

2 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 29 Apr 2019 10:00 [Places]
Fri 31 May 2019 10:00 [Places]

More than ever, becoming a professional researcher – whether, for you, that means staying on in academia or bringing your research skills to another job sector – requires attributes like self-direction, persistence, and pro-activity; the willingness to think creatively and the capability to think ethically; an understanding of your own needs and wants, and empathy towards others. In other words, becoming a professional researcher requires you to demonstrate self-leadership.

This bite-sized workshop will introduce you to the concept of self-leadership and how it can be applied to PhD research. You may find it a useful workshop to do alongside Developing Your Leadership as a PhD Student.

1 other event...

Date Availability
Tue 7 May 2019 10:00 [Full]
Making the Most of Conferences Tue 7 May 2019   10:00   [More dates...] [Full]

"It's not what you know, it's who you know."

This might be an old cliché, but it's particularly true in research where (reportedly) over 90% of jobs go to a candidate already known to the employer. This half-day session will examine how you can make the most of conferences as an environment to strategically network and build research connections.


  • Know how to make attendance at conferences productive
  • Start thinking about personal goals while attending conferences
  • Understand practically how to network during and after a conference

1 other event...

Date Availability
Tue 21 May 2019 10:00 [Full]
Managing a Research Project: Online new Self-taught Booking not required

Managing a project is a key skill for an effective researcher, yet project management is often poorly understood.

This can lead to projects running out of time or money, or overworking people. This online course gives you the foundational project management knowledge needed to complete your research project successfully, as well as the opportunity to implement and thereby embed this knowledge.


  • Understand how to define, plan and implement a project
  • Know how to manage yourself and others effectively
  • Be able to identify and plan for risks and cope with challenges

How to Access the Course

In order to enrol onto Managing a Research Project, you will need an enrolment key. Please use the appropriate key for your School.

Graduate School of Life Sciences: GSLS-mrp18
Physical Sciences and Technology: SPST-mrp18
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: AHSS-mrp18

You can access the course and enrol at the following link:

Map your Postdoc Journey NOW! new Thu 30 May 2019   09:30 [Places]

How can you make the most of your postdoc years at Cambridge? What does a strategic postdoc look like? What could you be doing now to be more strategic, intentional and agentive during your time at Cambridge?
This workshop explores how to navigate the research landscape, how to think and act strategically, and how to develop mental and emotional discipline for coping with the demands of the competitive research environment. We will explore the career journeys of former postdocs and see that there’s no one recipe for success, but there are common ingredients. This workshop is for postdoctoral researchers who want to get to and be prepared for the next step in their careers, whether that’s within academia or beyond.


  • Begin to take charge of your own career path
  • Understand the many actions you could be taking now to achieve a career within or beyond academia
  • Consider the important link between mental and emotional health and career advancement


“It encouraged an overall view of thinking about my career and what I want out of it and what I am good at. It also covered examples of people who stayed in academia as well as those who did not, so that I was able to consider the pros and cons of more than just one route.”

“I'm right at the start of my post-doc and it helped me to think about what I wanted to get out of the next few years in terms of my career.”

Ever wonder why you seem to ‘click’ with one person and not another? Ever wonder why you might find some things easier to do than others? The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) might shed some light on these questions.

Why this course might make a difference

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator presents a framework to help you understand yourself and others, by exploring differences and preferences in four areas of your personality. As a result of this exploration you may work more effectively and be more understanding in your relationships with others.

Led by a qualified MBTI practitioner, the workshop comprises working through the MBTI questionnaire and self-assessment exercises, so that participants can:

  • Understand the concept and theories behind the MBTI types and process to obtain a personal profile
  • Explore the differences and preferences within personalities in research-related scenarios

Course feedback:

“I had known about the Myers-Briggs, but I hadn't understood the different dimensions fully, or their interactions at a deeper level. Between explanations and activities, the course really helped me to understand the Myers-Briggs perspective, and to be aware of personal and professional differences between my friends and colleagues.”

“The contents of this training and the design of the teaching were very attractive and interesting. I think this training is very useful and helpful, and will recommend it to my friends and other students in my department in the future.”

1 other event...

Date Availability
Fri 7 Jun 2019 10:00 [Full]
Postdocs: An Initial Guide to Leadership new Wed 10 Apr 2019   10:00 [Places]

Are you in a formal leadership role, or have you taken on leadership positions informally?

This workshop will help you to consider the variety of situations and contexts you find yourself leading in and guide you in understanding your leadership skills and abilities so that you can improve them and deploy them thoughtfully. We will look at a variety of meanings and views of leadership, discover the 4 elements of leadership, consider various leadership styles, and reflect on leadership within and out of research environment.

We would encourage you to take this workshop as a brief introduction to leadership before attending more in-depth workshops, including Postdocs: Self-Leadership and Postdocs: Leading Others.


  • Recognise own current skills and strengths in relation to developing further as a leader.
  • Review a range of definitions of, and styles of, leadership.
  • Apply to your own context.


“I found it interesting to define what leadership means and to understand the different styles there are.”

“It was a very interesting and different training which was very good to attend so as to know the skills to develop.”

Postdocs: Being Assertive and Making Yourself Heard new Tue 11 Jun 2019   09:30 [Places]

Are you able to ask for the things you need and want? The career of a postdoc researcher is demanding, and it involves forging careful relationships with a variety of figures, from PIs to fellow researchers and peers to postgraduate students. Are you capable of asking for help from others? Do you spread yourself too thin by saying yes to others’ requests for support? This course is designed to help you develop an assertive mind-set and to communicate your needs in an honest, clear, and respectful way.


  • Understand the benefits of being assertive and the difference between assertive, aggressive, and passive thinking and behaviour
  • Know what assertiveness looks and sounds like
  • Develop skills in communicating assertively in day-to-day conversation


“It was one of the best training sessions I have attended while at the University. Went back to the lab and recommended it to my colleagues.”

“[This course] highlighted a new way of thinking/mindset that I was not very aware of. It gave me confidence that I can be more assertive.”

Do you get the results you want from your communication with others at work? Are you able to talk with confidence in meetings? Do you gain a high level of impact when speaking in public?

This individually focused and completely confidential one-to-one coaching session will help you in identifying how to further utilise your voice and gain greater awareness of how you present yourself, so that you can develop new approaches to your communication in a wide range of professional situations.

It will focus on your own specific requirements, but could include anything from practical points about elocution, ideas for how to hold the attention of a room, or new confidence in speaking up as an emerging leader in your research field.


  • Greater awareness of your voice and body, and how you come across to others
  • Practical techniques to help you communicate effectively, with impact
  • Improved confidence with public speaking and presentations

59 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 25 Feb 2019 10:35 [Full]
Mon 25 Feb 2019 11:40 [Full]
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Do you achieve the desired results from your presentations?
This interactive, individualised workshop, which centres on your delivery of a five-minute presentation, will help you communicate your research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to observe yourself in action, as we will record and watch together your five-minute presentation. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills in a safe and supportive environment.

- Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
- Consider how to understand and engage your audience
- Observe yourself presenting and further develop your style

11 other events...

Date Availability
Wed 27 Mar 2019 09:30 [Full]
Wed 27 Mar 2019 10:30 [Full]
Wed 27 Mar 2019 11:30 [Full]
Wed 27 Mar 2019 13:30 [Full]
Wed 27 Mar 2019 14:30 [Full]
Wed 27 Mar 2019 15:30 [Full]
Tue 21 May 2019 10:30 [Places]
Tue 21 May 2019 11:30 [Places]
Tue 21 May 2019 13:30 [Full]
Tue 21 May 2019 14:30 [Full]
Tue 21 May 2019 15:30 [Places]

Would you like to learn what constitutes an effective and impactful research presentation? Are you interested in improving how you communicate your research?

This interactive workshop helps participants to communicate research engagingly and effectively. In addition to reviewing useful patterns and styles of presentation, you will have the chance to try out different techniques and to observe others in action. This workshop is for postdocs who want to achieve the greatest impact while presenting their work and to improve their public-speaking skills within a safe and collaborative environment. Feedback will be given to each participant.


  • Improve on designing and delivering a successful presentation
  • Consider how to understand and engage your audience
  • Gain constructive feedback on how you present and further develop your style
Postdocs: How to Achieve Productive Collaborations new Wed 26 Jun 2019   10:00 [Places]

We hear a lot lately on the benefits of collaboration for researchers. International collaborations look good on your CV, being collaborative helps generate higher impact publications, and participating in collaborations leads to creating professional networks you can call on throughout your career.

If we know that collaborations are good for research and career progression, it follows that we should learn how to collaborate well. This workshop looks at the practices of productive collaborations exploring the ways of thinking and doing that will contribute to successful teamwork. We will consider the importance of give-and-take within professional relationships, the benefits and challenges of bringing people together, and the stages collaboration goes through. We will also explore how working with others leads to personal growth.


  • Learn the skills and ways of thinking that lead to productive collaborations.
  • Understand the challenges of teamwork and the typical stages of collaboration.
  • Consider the links between working collaboratively and personal growth.
Postdocs: How to Approach Difficult Conversations new Thu 9 May 2019   14:30 [Places]

As a postdoc, you’re in a transitional period of your career, one that can be precarious and uncertain at times or marked by dependency on others. Inevitably, there are moments when you have to engage in difficult conversations, whether with your PI, your peers, or with the people you now oversee. You may need to discuss the advancement of your career, settle a conflict with a colleague, or provide feedback to the students.

This workshop is designed to equip you with the right tools to prepare for and have difficult conversations. We will consider the factors that make particular conversations difficult as well as the “third-generation thinking” and mindful listening that will help you elicit the response you want. This interactive workshop is for all postdocs who want to hone their communication skills, advance their careers, and develop their leadership capacities.


  • To think differently in leading difficult conversations to negotiate and influence.
  • Articulate own view point in collaboration with team members.
  • Consider different ways to deal with difficult conversations in light of your own behaviour and that of others.


“I liked the way we explicitly broke down the process of preparing for difficult conversations by giving techniques.”

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