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Postgraduate Research Handbook

Researcher Development

Researcher Development

Faculty of Humanities Researcher Development


A PhD degree is awarded by the University of Manchester for ‘research and training.’ It is highly recommended that all doctoral students undertake a suitable programme of training and development based on both the needs of the researcher and the research topic. In the first instance these needs should be discussed with the supervisory team during the initial supervisory meeting and concrete objectives set. Students are required to complete a training needs analysis in discussion with their Supervisors in order to agree a training and development plan, and this can be done using the 'Researcher Development Form' in eProg. Training and development needs will also be discussed and assessed at mid-year and annual review panels. Successful completion of the agreed programme of skills development and training will be a condition of progression between each year of study (See Postgraduate Research Skills Training Policy).


How to access Training and Development Opportunities

Training Opportunities are available through a number of providers, but they can be accessed through the Faculty PGR training hub – ProGRess - The Humanities PGR Training Hub which aims to bring together all of the training that is available to Postgraduate Researchers in the Faculty of Humanities. Events are categorised by theme, allowing you to select courses that best suit your personal training needs.


Training and Development activity can be divided into three areas:


1)    Training in methods and research design - grounds students in the basic methods, techniques and concepts relevant to their discipline.


2)    Specialist research training – will comprise training in the techniques and/or methods that a student requires to carry out their particular research project. The content and level of requirement of specialist training will be unique to the individual.


3)    Researcher Development and reflective practice – focuses on the process of undertaking a research degree. It not only equips researchers with the skills they need during their academic careers but prepares them to integrate into the research community. The content of this training should also be unique to the student as it is undertaken on a needs basis.


Training in methods and research design are determined and conducted at School and discipline level, as well as through dedicated research methods centres such as methods@manchester and artsmethods@manchester.  For specialist research training, you may need to take courses within your own or another school, or even another faculty.  The Faculty of Humanities also has a dedicated Researcher Development team who provide workshops, online resources and advice to support researcher development and reflective practice.  Details are available on the Faculty Researcher Development website.  In order to find what you are looking for, first consult the ProGRess - The Humanities PGR Training Hub.

For more information about Researcher Development, please contact the Humanities Researcher Development Team:



Methods@Manchester is a resource that highlights the depth and breadth of methodological expertise in social sciences and humanities at the University of Manchester. The website contains useful resources both at the University of Manchester and nationwide. Regular methods-related events are held through the year. For more details please see or email 




The artsmethods@manchester programme is a series of talks and workshops focussing on interdisciplinary and methodological expertise in the arts, languages and cultures at the University of Manchester.  For more details please se  or email 

The Professional Researcher

Here we provide a background on some of the national context for Researcher Development and outline the expectations of the University and Faculty.

In 2010 the national organisation Vitae ( published the Researcher Development Framework (RDF). The RDF is a professional development framework for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of world-class researchers.   It articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers and encourages them to realise their potential.

It is recommended that researchers familiarise themselves with the Researcher Development Framework at a very early stage in their research programme in order to plan and reflect upon their professional development as a researcher. All workshops in the Researcher Development Programme are mapped according to the RDF. As the RDF is a national framework, it enables researchers to record their professional development in a way that is recognised by other academic institutions and employers.


Personal Development Planning (PDP) for researchers


The University of Manchester’s PGR Code of Practice defines Personal Development Planning (PDP) as a “structured and supported process that is undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and achievement and to aid planning for their own [personal], academic and career development.” PDP takes a holistic view of development, as opposed to focusing only on the research process.  In the Faculty of Humanities, PDP may be structured by the following elements:


1)    A Research Diary – research reflections, records and evidence of training

2)    Records of meetings with supervisors

3)    Formal reviews – interim and annual

4)    Researcher Evaluation and Reflection


The components of PDP build into a portfolio for you to reflect upon and use as a source of reference. Records should be maintained as evidence of researcher development accumulated through, for example, participation in training courses, attendance and presentations at conferences, or undertaking research placements and knowledge exchange activities. The recording of personal development activities such as training plans and reports to Review panels is done through the eProg system Evidence can also take a range of forms such as the satisfactory completion of assignments or thesis chapters; feedback from peers, experts or research participants after a seminar, team activity or research encounter, and the outcomes of projects and placements. The Researcher Development Framework provides a comprehensive overview of all the areas in which PDP for researchers can take place.


Booking and Recording Training

The easiest way to book training offered within the Faculty is through the ProGRess - The Humanities PGR Training Hub.  You can book onto most University and Faculty training courses directly via the University’s Training Catalogue.  Each course or workshop has a profile on the Training Catalogue which gives further details on the event, including aims and objectives.  The courses you attend will be logged in the Training and Development section of eProg.  You can access this by clicking on your name in the top right hand corner of eProg and then the Training and Development option on the left hand menu.  Your supervisors will also be able to view this information withn your eProg record.

The ProGRess - The Humanities PGR Training Hub links directly to the Training Catalogue and to other booking systems.  Some training providers do not use the training catalogue and records of completing this training will not automatically appear in eProg.  However, you can upload any documentation, or your reflections to the Personal Document Store.


Your PDP portfolio should ultimately provide you with a fully rounded record of your individual progress.  The Personal Document Store in eProg can be used as a way of keeping evidence and written reflections safely stored and easily accessible.


In addition to keeping a formal record on eProg, your PDP should also provide space for you to reflect, periodically, on the distance you have travelled in terms of professional development overall. For this reason, some elements of PDP remain confidential and in the ownership of the researcher. 




The Researcher’s Role in Training

  • Each researcher is expected, in consultation with their Supervisors, to identify their research development needs. This can be done with reference to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF).
  • Researchers should actively seek training in identified areas requiring further development.  A good place to start is the ProGRess - The Humanities PGR Training Hub
  • The researcher is responsible for booking and cancelling attendance on training courses.  Failure to attend training without cancelling in good time wastes resources and denies training opportunities to other researchers.
  • Researchers are expected to reflect on progress in identified skill development areas.  (This can be done by developing a PDP record and regularly uploading an up-to-date report on their progress to the eProg Personal Document Store). 


The Supervisor’s Role in Training

  • To encourage and support the training process.
  • Assist and advise the researcher in identifying their training needs.
  • Enquire as to the progress of training on a regular basis.
  • Bring to the attention of the supervisory board and/or Review Panel any problems or lack of progress in a timely manner.

Other relevant information  

For Researcher Development queries, email: