About the DDP

The Doctoral Development Programme (DDP) is a training plan for all doctoral researchers which you can tailor to your individual needs. We recognise that all doctoral researchers begin with different skills and experience, which is why the programme is flexible. The only requirement is that you engage with the process, as outlined below:

These are the key actions required to complete the Doctoral Development Programme:

DDP cycle

Why is there a Doctoral Development Programme?


The University of Sheffield wants to ensure that all doctoral researchers receive the highest quality of training. As a leading institution, we also expect all doctoral researchers to acquire the necessary skills and training to become world-class researchers. This is why we require all doctoral researchers to take part in the Doctoral Development Programme. The Programme has developed the eight core competencies which are in line with the UK’s Researcher Development Framework.


The DDP helps you progress through your research studies by identifying your existing skills and providing opportunities to further develop your skills and experience. As well as transferrable skills that will make you a successful researcher, the DDP also aims to provide skills that have wider utility which can increase your employability.


Inherent in the DDP is an understanding that different students will have different backgrounds and different needs. For example, a student who has just completed a first degree is likely to have a more limited skill set than one who has already spent time working in industry. This is why the Programme has been designed to be flexible to your needs.