Sussex Researcher School


Although you know heaps about your chosen subject, there are many other skills that you’ll need to develop to help you through your research degree. The Researcher Development Programme provides year-round support through workshops, webinars, and online modules.

The RDP, the Sussex Researcher School’s (SRS) training and development programme for postgraduate researchers, has undergone a makeover ahead of the 2023/24 academic year. We’ve reorganised the themes to match them more closely to Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework, a tool to help you develop the skills you need to be an effective researcher.

The themes are:

  • Learn – RDF domain A: knowledge and intellectual abilities (November and December)
  • Grow – RDF domain B: personal effectiveness (January and February)
  • Realise – RDF domain C: research governance and organisation (March and April)
  • Thrive – RDF domain D: engagement, influence and impact (May and June)
  • Core – cuts across RDF domains (year round)
  • Induction (October and February) 

You can register online for any of our workshops, and a record of your training appears in Sussex Direct.

During the 2023/24 academic year we'll be offering RDP workshops both online and in person on campus. This will vary by workshop so check the description before you sign up! For online workshops, the Zoom link will be emailed to your Sussex or BSMS address the day before the session.

RDP workshops are not typically recorded - where a recording is available we will make this clear in the listing. If you register for a workshop you are expected to attend, or to cancel your place if you need to drop out. Any recordings will be added to the RDP Online Canvas site, which also includes modules you can work through in your own time.

During the first six months of your research degree, the following workshops would be of most benefit:

  • Becoming a postgraduate researcher: skills, strategies and support
  • Working with your supervisor
  • Undertaking a literature review
  • Introduction to ethics
  • Keeping up to date in your subject
  • Wrangling your workload
  • Managing your research data
  • Making progress in your research degree

For software training visit the ITS website.

In this video, researchers and staff talk about the importance of training:

                                             [Read the transcript]


Training Needs Analysis

Each year, you’ll need to complete a Training Needs Analysis with your supervisor. By reflecting on your training needs, you can identify areas for development and then attend specific workshops through the Researcher Development Programme and beyond. Your TNA will be considered by the panel assessing your academic progress as part of your progression review. Your School or funding body might require you to complete a specific form, too.

Researcher Development Framework

Sussex is a member of Vitae
Developed by Vitae, an organisation dedicated to supporting early career researchers (ECRs), the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) sets out the skills needed to be successful in research. You can access a range of resources related to the RDF via the Vitae website. Sussex subscribes to Vitae, so registering with your Sussex email address gives you full access to all the content.

The framework set out the wide-ranging knowledge, intellectual abilities, techniques, and professional standards expected of researchers, along with the personal qualities, knowledge and skills to work with others to ensure the wider impact of your research.

You can use the RDF as a guide to your development as a professional researcher. It will help you to identify your strengths and to set priorities for further development. Some funding bodies will expect you to map your training to the RDF, and the domains (shown below) are also recognised by some employers.

Sussex Researcher School