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Postgraduate School of Life Sciences


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What is Researcher Development?

Researcher Development (RD) can be tricky to define!  At its heart it encompasses all of the learning and development that you might wish to experience and acquire during your time in Cambridge.  It is there to provide you with the skills that you need, both today and for your future, whatever that might be. But the best definition is that researcher development is there to prepare you to become a professional researcher.

So what do I need to develop?

The PSLS has decided to use the Cambridge Researcher Development Framework which has been developed by the Researcher Development Programme here at the University. This framework divides the 15 competencies you should aim to develop into four easily approachable sections so that you can easily map own personal progression.

You can view and learn more about the CamRDF by visiting or by completing the Skills Analysis Survey which is recommended as an annual activity for all researchers.

When do I start?

The PSLS know that the first year of a PhD or Masters is a very busy time. We have therefore developed a Core Skills Training Programme for first year students. This has been designed to provide you with some foundation skills that will make you a better researcher now, aid you in the completion of key milestones in your degree and help you make the most of other training opportunities in the years to come.

Within the first few weeks of your time in Cambridge you will find you are enrolled on a CSTP Moodle site through which you can find out more about the programme and book onto the activities.

How do I continue?

There are many opportunities to engage with researcher development while at Cambridge. The best place to start is the Researcher Development Programme who act as a hub for RD provision for researchers.

The PSLS RD Activities are funded by the PSLS and are often more specific to Life Sciences. This list is updated throughout the year.

There are many other providers including University Libraries, Computing Service, Careers' Service etc. that can be explored through their websites or through the University Training and Booking System.


The contact point for Researcher Development issues for PSLS members is Dr Sam Byers who works with the PSLS to provide guidance to anyone interested in attending or organising RD activities for Life Sciences.  Please feel free to contact her with any questions or comments, including booking face-to-face consultations.

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