DDP Forms and Guidance

Students starting September 2020

(First year doctoral researcher)

We are delighted to welcome you to The University of Sheffield's Doctoral Development Programme (DDP). The DDP describes the range of training and development opportunities available to PGR students, both within and outside the University. By engaging with appropriate training and development, you will gain and enhance the skills needed to successfully complete your research project, and to demonstrate the eight Core Competencies required for a Sheffield doctoral award. From September 2020 new students will be using an updated Training Needs Analysis (TNA). On successful completion of your programme you should have completed some development within each of the eight core competencies listed below:

  • Communication, networking and collaboration.
  • Personal skills (time management, resilience, problem-solving, critical thinking).
  • Professional skills (academic defence, academic writing, project/resource management).
  • Leadership
  • Ownership and understanding of the scope for career development options.
  • Understanding the importance of impact and translation (public engagement, enterprise and IP).
  • Responsible Research and Innovation, ethics and data management.
  • Qualitative skills and/or quantitative and digital skills depending on discipline.

The Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is provided as a tool to guide you through the process of identifying your technical and personal development needs, and considering how and when they will be addressed. It is a living document and should last throughout the course of your programme.

During your research, it is important 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.

meeting with supervisor

Meeting with your Supervisor

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 will independently complete the TNA form and then discuss it with your supervisor within three months of starting your programme. Then using the outcomes from the supervisory discussion you will create a development plan that lists the actions you will take over the coming year. You will then formally refer back to your development plan on a regular basis (at least every 6 months) 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 will reflect on your most recent experiences and then review and update your TNA, and following discussions with your supervisor update your development plan for the upcoming year.

What happens after the TNA?

At around 36 months, you should use your completed TNA to reflect on the training and development you have experienced throughout your research, and identify one example of development for each of the Core Competencies. These examples should be described on the Evidencing Development Summary, the purpose of which is to identify experiences to highlight in job applications and interviews. The Summary is then submitted to Research Services and the relevant Faculty Officer is required to confirm the successful completion of the DDP, based on the Summary.

TNA Forms

If you are a student in the Faculties of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, or Social Sciences, the TNA forms are hosted on PebblePad. Please ask your departmental administrator for access.

If you are a student in the Faculties of Arts & Humanities, Engineering, or Science, a template Google Form for the TNA form can be found below (you will need to make a copy):

TNA Guidance

You can also find further information about the TNA on the following guidance page:

Completed TNA Examples

You can find examples of completed TNA forms on the links below:

Compulsory Modules

All new doctoral researchers will automatically get registered on the appropriate compulsory and research ethics modules.

Optional Modules

The University offers a range of optional training and development opportunities which can be found HERE.

DDP Summary Forms

The Evidencing Development summary is to be completed around month 36, once all DDP training has been completed.

Students starting before September 2020

(Continuing doctoral researcher)

To embed the eight Core Competencies, an updated Training Needs Analysis (TNA), Development Plan and Evidencing Development summary was introduced for new students from September 2020. As a continuing student you may choose to opt in to the new system or continue with the existing TNA summary and ePortfolio summary details of which can be found below.

We encourage you to think actively about your development needs: it is vital to revisit your TNA and agree your new training needs with your supervisory team at least once a year.


TNA Forms

TNA Guidance

Doctoral researchers are encouraged to reflect on training and development activity throughout their doctoral studies. You may find it useful to look at the full descriptors for the RDF and use this to prioritise your own areas of development. You can also find further information from the University’s SkillBuild site.

Completed TNA Examples

Compulsory Modules

All new doctoral researchers will automatically get registered on the appropriate compulsory and research ethics modules.

Optional Modules

The University offers a range of optional training and development opportunities which can be found HERE.

DDP Summary Forms

DDP Summary Form – to be completed in the Final Year of research once all DDP training has been completed.

Guidance on ePortfolio development