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An exciting year ahead for the Doctoral Academy

12 September 2023

Over the past few months, the Doctoral Academy has been busy planning its programme of learning and development activities for the coming academic year. You are now able to view all of our established courses and sessions that we intend to run again in 2023/24 on the Learner Portal. It’s important to note that we plan our programme reactively throughout the year, based on student demand and the availability of our trainers/facilitators. Therefore, we don’t have dates for all of our sessions agreed just yet, but these will be added on a sporadic basis over the coming months. As such, we strongly advise that you keep an eye out for our monthly learning event email, which contain dates for upcoming sessions, and most importantly that you continue to check the Learner Portal regularly. 

We are also excited to be introducing a number of new activities and initiatives in 2023/24, in an effort to better meet the evolving needs of our postgraduate research students. Detailed information will be announced in our monthly Doctoral Academy Update emails and on our intranet pages in due course, but we will be prioritising the following areas: 


We will invest in a new suite of advanced research skills training – prioritising data collection and analysis, research methods, digital skills, inter/multidisciplinary working, and research ethics – as well as offering more diverse transferable skills training. All of our learning events will be aligned to the university’s Graduate Attributes, the Researcher Development Framework, and a particular stage in the student journey, allowing you to better assess their suitability in relation to your own developmental needs. For the first time, we will also create hybrid learning options, complementing our existing and established in person and online provision. 


We will offer a diverse range of development opportunities, outside of the training environment. In addition to providing postgraduate researchers with the opportunity to engage in voluntary outreach and knowledge exchange activities, we will offer paid co-creation activities and micro-placements within the Doctoral Academy and other teams across the university. We will also invest in enhanced writing support, new mentoring initiatives and the reintroduction of careers panels and role model events. Finally, we will also formally integrate our recently piloted Development Fund into the programme, giving you the opportunity to pitch for funds to undertake professional development activities, in addition to launching a new Research Culture and Communities Fund, which will support initiatives that strengthen the postgraduate research environment. 

Community and environment 

We will seek to promote a vibrant, diverse, active and inclusive postgraduate research community and environment. To achieve this, we will introduce a new showcase event and a ‘roadshow’ for each college, supplementing these with regular competitions and community-building activities throughout the year. We will also establish a wider range of opportunities for you to connect socially with your peers, as well as working with the Students’ Union to foster closer links with societies. Finally, we will undertake an extended research project into the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda, exploring options for providing targeted support for minority and underrepresented groups and researchers with specific challenges and barriers to engagement. 

It promises to be an exciting year! 

– Dr James Farror, Head of Doctoral Academy Development and Experience