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Current Graduate Students


The Researcher Development Programme (RDP) offers you a wide variety of workshops, courses and events that help you in becoming a professional researcher. In order to provide you with some guidance on what to engage with, the RDP have developed the  Cambridge Researcher Development Framework (CamRDF). It is based on the national RDF and developed for University of Cambridge PhD students. The CamRDF suggests 15 competencies that are valued by both academic and non-academic employers in an increasingly interdisciplinary and international context. Some of those skills are naturally enhanced during the everyday research life, but others will need some help.


    Personal Development Planning is the formal process of reflecting upon your learning, performance and achievements, as well as planning your personal, educational and career development: in short, considering the career path you would like to pursue and the skills and actions you need to achieve it.

    To assist you in this aim, as part of the compulsory elements carried out by all students during their first year, you will complete the online Skills Analysis Survey (SAS) (Enrolment Key: PST-sas16).  Following the short overview of the CamRDF on the RDP website, you will probably have some idea of the areas in which you are strong and those in which you will need to improve: the Skills Analysis Survey (SAS) then allows you to record your perception of your skills and experiences relating to the 15 competencies. After completing the survey, you will be encouraged to create a personal development plan for the coming year and have an opportunity to book an optional one-to-one session with one of the Researcher Developers who can help and advise further.

    In addition, we recommend that you take time with your Academic Mentor in the Department early on in your time here (during the first term in your first year if possible) to discuss your personal development planning and work out how best to go forward, following their input.  Some other potentially useful avenues are:

    • The University Careers Service  offers a wide range of services, including personal consultations with a careers adviser.
    • VITAE is a national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes.
    • Prospects, the UK’s official graduate careers website, has a useful online database of jobs and job sectors (including information on working abroad) and provides information on the kinds of skills required in many different jobs.