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SynTech Centre for Doctoral Training


Essential fundamental skills training

These courses are largely tried, tested and optimized courses that we would expect all CDT students to take, in order to underpin all aspects of their experience in the CDT. Many of them have already been piloted, some for a number of years, and we are confident that they will provide our CDT students with an excellent foundation upon which to build their PhDs, whatever their area of specialization. All courses will be taken as part of the first year experience that students have in our CDT.

Examples of the type of courses which may be available as part of the essential fundamental skills training include:

  • Core Skills Training Programme: On-line training provided by the Researcher Development Programme in Time Management, Skills Analysis and Presentation Skills, complemented with face-to-face sessions on Academic/Scientific Writing with trainers skilled in this area.
  • Research Data Management (IS4): is an introductory course on RDM consising of interactive practical sessions, covering a range topics including Data backup and file sharing, data organistaion and data management planning. 
  • Research Information Skills (IS3): will equip all students with skills required to manage the research information gathered throughout their time in the CDT, as well as the publications they will produce themselves. It will also help them enhance their online research profile and measure the impact of their research.
  • Statistics (SC1-10): is an extensive set of core modules that cover basic statistics, software packages, qualitative methods, data visualisation, manipulation, analysis and reporting and many more.
  • Science Communication (FS14): explores a range of ways to present information to a variety of audiences. Students will be given the opportunity to present whilst being filmed and learn from the process of watching themselves in a presentation scenario. 
  • Leadership (FS20): course explores the considerable research that has been done into leadership and the ways to develop individual leadership skills. The challenges of leadership will be discussed and participants will gain an appreciation of effective leadership behaviour, as well as being given the opportunity to discuss and develop their own approaches to being a leader.
  • Successful Completion of a Research Degree (FS1): is a discussion of time management on a day-to-day basis, how to produce a dissertation/thesis (first year report or PhD) and the essential requirements of an experimental section, as well as how to cope with the broad challenges of a PhD and where to seek help, should it be required.
  • Equality and Diversity: provides students with a certificate of completion once they have scored highly enough in the electronic questionnaire regarding all things linked with E&D.
  • Unconcious Bias (FS4): Unconscious Bias refers to the biases we hold that are not in our conscious control. Research shows that these biases can adversely affect key decisions in the workplace. The session will enable students to work towards reducing the effects of unconscious bias for themselves and within our organisation. Using examples that they will be able to relate to, the link between implicit bias and the impact on the organisation will be explored.
  • Research Integrity (FS3): provides an overview of the principles of research integrity, to explain the recent research integrity agenda and examine how this effects researchers, explore the issue of research misconduct in academia and facilitate discussion of why and how it occurs, introduce the University’s research ethics system and use case studies and discussion exercises to examine key issues.

Students will also have access to the huge array of additional training courses on offer at Cambridge through the Researcher Development Programme. Students will be free to choose which elements of this drawn from the four major sections (Personal Effectiveness: Managing Resources, Others: Communication and Collaboration, Career Progression: Planning and Proactivity, Research: Requirements, Skills and Knowledge) they will find the most useful, with advice from the Operations Team, their Assessment and Advisory Committee and their Supervisor(s).