Guidance for PGRs who started before September 2020

If you’re a postgraduate research (PGR) student who started your studies before 1 September 2020, this is the guidance you need to follow.



What are the options for completing my DDP?

As a student who started your studies before 1 September 2020, you have two options for your DDP:

Option 1 

Comple of a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and ePortfolio summary using the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) to reflect on and structure your own development.

You may find it useful to look at the full descriptors for the RDF and use these to prioritise your own areas of development. 

Please see the remainder of this page for guidance on completing Option 1.

Option 2

Completion of a TNA and Evidencing Development summary, in line with the revised eight core competencies that were introduced from 1 September 2020. 

If you want to follow Option 2 (the revised system), please follow the guidance for post-September 2020 students.

What is the process for completing my DDP?

The process for completing your DDP is as follows:

Training Needs Analysis & Development Plan

  • Complete a draft Training Needs Analysis (TNA)
  • Arrange an initial meeting with your supervisor(s) to discuss your TNA and devise your Development Plan to cover training and development for the coming year.
  • Over the course of your studies, continue to reflect on your TNA every 6 months and update your Development Plan annually. Remember to keep a record of all your training and development activities within your TNA

Faculty & departmental modules

  • Attend and complete the compulsory Research Ethics & Integrity module for your Faculty. If you are a Social Sciences student, you will also have another Faculty-level DDP module to complete. Read more about compulsory modules here.
  • Engage with any compulsory departmental DDP modules and training that your department may run

Personal development & training

  • Carry out any personal development and training as identified in your TNA and Development Plan. This will vary from student to student, and is based on your own particular development needs.
  • Progress your research project, gaining valuable skills and knowledge which can all be used to demonstrate your DDP.


  • At around at around two to three months before the end of your  normal registration period (or four to six months if you’re a part time student), submit your ePortfolio (DDP summary) to Research, Partnerships and Innovation. 

Once your DDP summary has been approved by Faculty, your DDP will be recorded as completed. You can find more information on how to submit your DDP summary below. 

DDP forms and guidance

Find the relevant DDP templates for your Faculty below. Please note that students in the Faculty of Health who commenced their studies from 2015–16 onwards are expected to complete their DDP paperwork in PebblePad at the time of Confirmation Review, submission review and at thesis submission. Please speak to your Departmental PGR Administrator if you are unsure how to access PebblePad. 

Faculty Training Needs Analysis (TNA) ePortfolio summary
Arts & Humanities

TNA Arts (.doc, 98KB)

Arts completed TNA example (PDF, 147kB)

Arts ePortfolio

TNA Eng (.doc, 27.6KB)

Eng completed TNA example (PDF, 75KB)

Engineering ePortfolio

TNA Health (.doc, 64KB) must be completed in PebblePad

Health completed TNA example (PDF, 180kB)

Health ePortfolio must be completed in PebblePad

TNA Sci (.doc, 31KB)

Sci completed TNA example (PDF, 110kB)

Science ePortfolio
Social Science

TNA SocSci (.doc, 67.5KB) 

SocSci completed TNA example (PDF, 95.7kB)

Social Science ePortfolio

Guidance for completing your ePortfolio

Training Needs Analysis (TNA)

What is the Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and how can I use it to support my development?

The TNA is a tool to help you identify your technical and personal development needs, and to plan how and when they will be addressed. It is a living document and should be reviewed regularly throughout the course of your programme.

During your research, you should use your TNA to:

  • Identify gaps in skills and knowledge
  • Identify opportunities to develop experience
  • Set goals and targets and get involved
  • Record what you did, how you did it, skills and knowledge used and the final result
  • Review progress regularly and use your supervisory meetings to cover professional development

How can my supervisor support me with my TNA?

Your supervisor has a key role in supporting you with your TNA and DDP more generally. With your supervisor, you will talk through the training and development that would be most beneficial to you during your research, as well as the purpose and requirements of the DDP. 

You should independently complete the TNA form and discuss it with your supervisor within three months of starting your programme (or within six months if you are a part time student). 

Using the outcomes from your supervisory discussion, you will then create a development plan that lists the actions you will take over the coming year. You will formally refer back to your development plan on a regular basis – every six months as a minimum – to check your progress and to identify any new development needs.

It is also a good idea to informally discuss your training and development more regularly in your supervisory meeting. At the start of each new year, you should reflect on your most recent experiences, reviewing and updating your TNA and following discussions with your supervisor, update your development plan for the coming year.

TNA further guidance

ePortfolio summary 

What information should be included in my ePortfolio?

Your ePortfolio is the principal means by which your progress on the DDP is monitored. The purpose of the ePortfolio is to provide a record of your personal development at the University of Sheffield. By completing your ePortfolio, you will be able to build on the learning and results you achieve, which will provide an ongoing record that can contribute towards your personal growth and career planning. 

The ePortfolio is assessed purely on the basis of you having met your training needs and evidencing the skills identified. 

The following are the minimum requirements that must be summarised in your ePortfolio:

  • List of training courses attended, both within and outside the University (including DDP modules, health and safety training).
  • List of completed and submitted items of work (eg Literature Review).
  • List of seminars and conferences attended and whether you presented at these.
  • List of any outreach activities.
  • List of any extracurricular activities you wish to note.
  • A reflective paragraph on how these points have contributed to your personal and professional development.

Process for submitting your ePortfolio 

At around two to three months before the end of your normal registration period (or four to six months if you're a part time student), you should complete your ePortfolio. You can refer to your completed TNA to reflect on the training and development you have experienced throughout your research. 

When your ePortfolio summary is complete, it should be reviewed and approved by your supervisor, who will need to sign it. Students in the Faculty of Engineering need to obtain two signatures (first and second supervisor). 

You should then submit your signed summary to Research, Partnerships and Innovation via We will check it and forward it to your relevant Faculty Officer, who will confirm the successful completion of your DDP, based on your summary.  

If you are a student in the Faculty of Health, you should complete your summary in PebblePad, rather than fill in the full form. However you will still need to obtain your supervisor's signature on the form and forward this part to RPI as per the instructions above.

Please note you do not need to submit a copy of your TNA alongside your DDP summary. And lastly, it’s important that you don’t leave your Evidencing Development summary until the last minute, as it could delay the awarding of your degree.