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Researcher Development for Postgraduate Research Students

This page contains information on professional development training available to postgraduate students as well as links to the Graduate School, Library Services, Vitae, career support, AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training and research bursaries. The Researcher Development programme is designed to suit students studying at PGR level across all faculties. Faculty and department-specific training will be run in the relevant academic areas.

Please direct any queries relating to researcher development to The Graduate School at


Download our PGR Training 2023-4 Handbook here

To enrol on a session please access our calendar of events.

A number of our courses are now available on Blackboard via our Researcher Development at Northumbria organisation page - download the guidance on how to access the courses.

All programme delivery is subject to a minimum number of registered participants. We will notify you 48 hours prior to the session if it will not run because of this.

If you are no longer able to attend a session remember to cancel your booking via the online booking system, giving as much notice as you are able. Many sessions have waiting lists, so it's important to release your place if you can't attend to allow your fellow PGRs to take your place.

As a reminder, at Project Approval and Annual Progression you are required to formally report details of all completed training and development to the Panel.

The research section within e:Vision will now be used by postgraduate students to record an ORCiD identifier and maintain an overall record of PGR Training. Please refer to the Postgraduate Progression, Supervision and Development pages on the Graduate School's intranet site for guidance and support in using e:Vision.

Using the Vitae Researcher Development Framework, we have created a planner for postgraduate researchers to use annually when thinking about their own development, and planning which training events to attend.  It can also be a useful document to use in supervision meetings.  Download the planner.

There are currently two bursary schemes available to postgraduate research students (i.e. those registered for an MPhil, PhD or Professional Doctorate).

We also subscribe to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding.  This guide can help you identify and apply for various funding resources.

The Conference Bursary and Events Bursary Schemes are currently open for 2023-24.

Northumbria University are committed to supporting postgraduate research students on their journey into academia.

One support mechanism is through supporting applications for associate or full fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Details can be found here.

To qualify for support, you must have attended the Postgraduate Development and Researcher Training (PDRT) course “Postgraduate Researcher Introduction to Teaching”. This course includes two compulsory days where you learn skills and techniques invaluable in an educational setting, plus a third optional day where you can put into practice the skills you have learned. Further details of the course are found in the PDRT handbook.

Northumbria runs a competition each year aimed at Postgraduate Research students in their second year of study, up to and including their final year (or equivalent for part time students).

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia for research students. Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students. The exercise cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. 

Our 2023 competition will take place on Thursday 8th June, on campus in Northumberland Building. The videos of the top three contestants from last year's competition are available to view on our Researcher Development organisation site on Blackboard.

An information session for our 3MT® 2023 competition is being held on Wednesday 3rd May. Further information and booking is available through our events calendar.

Competition Rules 

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Please follow this link to a range of support and resources around disability, faith, counselling and mental health support, finance, welfare and international student support.

We would like to inform you of a video relating to sexual violence and related professional boundaries in the context of PGR study.  This video has been compiled by colleagues from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences, who have requested that we share it with all PGR students.

View the Panopto video.  You will be prompted to ‘sign in’ to eLP Live – click the green button.

How do I get a Research Passport?

The Research Passport procedure is the NHS mechanism for non-NHS staff to obtain an Honorary Research Contract/Letter of Access if you propose carrying out research in the NHS.

Please refer to the NHS Research Passports for PGR Students Guide.

The Brilliant Club is an award-winning university access charity. They recruit and train doctoral and post-doctoral researchers to deliver programmes of university-style teaching to pupils in schools that serve under-represented communities.

Why become a Brilliant Club PhD Tutor?

Support local pupils from underrepresented backgrounds to access university

  • Get expert training and real experience to develop your teaching and other transferable skills
  • Earn £500 per placement, plus an additional £100 for designing a new course, and travel expenses (The Scholars Programme)
  • Disseminate your research to small groups of school pupils as part of The Scholars Programme
  • Support the national effort to help pupils catch up as part of the National Tutoring Programme
  • Join a nationwide community of like-minded researchers making a huge impact on university access

Tutors are supported by a training programme, including sessions on tutorial pedagogy, assessment and designing a course handbook. Our Scholars Programme allows tutors to design and deliver a course for school-aged pupils based on their own research. Each Scholars Programme placement begins with tutors accompanying their pupils on a university trip/participating in an online launch event, followed by six further tutorials in their school. At the end of the programme pupils submit an assignment which is marked by their tutor.

In addition to The Scholars Programme opportunity, which is available for all PhD tutors, this year we also plan to be a National Tutoring Programme provider, so will have additional curriculum specific tutoring opportunities for researchers specialising in English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

Want to find out more?

You can find out more about The Brilliant Club and the National Tutoring Programme online. Sign up for an information webinar or to view our recorded information session.

Want to apply now?

If you are interested in becoming a Brilliant Club tutor and delivering either The Scholars Programme or the National Tutoring Programme, please do apply now, using the online application form.

We are currently recruiting tutors to deliver programmes from Spring 2021 onwards and are running all Assessment Centres virtually. As an organisation, we are committed to delivering The Scholars Programme for pupils, even whilst Covid-19 restrictions are in place. We are running the programme this academic year as usual, with a flexible format to allow for us to meet the requirements of each school. Some placements will be delivered virtually.

Successful applicants are able to select which terms they would like to work as a tutor in and whether they would like to deliver multiple placements. 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to email The Brilliant Club at


Looking for a full-time position?

The Brilliant Club also runs Researchers in Schools, a full-time route into teaching for PhDs that incorporates elements from The Scholars Programme, along with a host of other features designed to get the most from your research skill-set. If you’re keen on working with young people and feel passionate about our charity’s aims, you can also apply to our sister programme. For more information on RIS, including funding and benefits, contact us on or visit

Finding a job that is right for you can take some time, so plan your job search with this in mind. As a research student you will have spent a significant amount of time sourcing and analysing information on your research topic. Searching for a job is very similar and your research skills will be put to good use when looking for a job. Use the resources available to gain more information on the process of finding jobs and tips on developing your strategy.

  • Apply to attend the career-focused workshops within the Professional Development and Research Training Programme which are run in collaboration with Research and Innovation Services and the Graduate Futures Team 
  • Northumbria University’s Graduate Futures provides information on career planning for all students; further information.

The CDT webpage provides information on the Centre and the training opportunities available to current studentship holders and students in Arts and Design.

Ethical approval must be obtained for all research projects prior to the commencement of the research. Please refer to the ethics and governance webpages for further guidance and the link to the Ethics Online system.

If you are a current PGR student at Northumbria, please access the Graduate School webpage.

Researcher Development Framework - Vitae

Development of generic or transferable skills is increasingly important as part of doctoral programmes. Vitae is a national organisation which champions professional and career development for researchers. Vitae's website and courses provide excellent resources to help research degree students assess and develop their personal effectiveness, networking and team working, communication and career management skills. More information. Download a pdf of the wheel.

Reseacr H-wheel

Access to Researcher Development at Northumbria University's Library.

Access to the Library Researcher Skills Development calendar of events.

Access to Skills Plus.

Contact the Library Skills Development team.

Health and Safety Guidance and Contact Information for Postgraduate Research Students can be found at the following links:

External Health and Safety webpage
Risk Assessment Library

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