APS student

Training programme

During your PhD, you'll be based in one of the University of Sheffield's seven science departments. When you join your department, you'll begin a programme of specialist training led by your supervisor. They, along with other staff in your research group, will help you get the skills you need to complete a great piece of research. If your PhD is part of a Centre for Doctoral Training, there may be additional training for you to complete as part of your centre's programme.

On top of the specialist knowledge you'll get through your department, the Science Graduate School will support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. Your induction to the Science Graduate School will give you an overview of training opportunities, including essential health and safety knowledge. After that, you'll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Your training needs will be assessed at the start of your PhD, so we can make sure you get all the support you need.

Training we currently offer includes...

Research ethics and integrity

This module is designed to help students learn how to analyse and reflect on the way their conduct their research, from start to finish. It deals with issues around ethical sensitivity and reasoning, so that students adopt good research practices. It also covers research practices used in other disciplines, from how to design a research project, identify methods, manage data, and write up and publish findings.

For more information about this module email Dr Sandrine Soubes, s.soubes@sheffield.ac.uk.

Previous participants said...

"I very much liked that in the intro lecture and the panel discussion session the professor and the lecturers mentioned and discussed the personal ethical dilemmas that they faced throughout their careers. It gave us an insight into the different ethical dilemma's one would face over many stages of one's career."

"It was good to talk about the ethics behind our research, encouraging thought beyond our own work to the greater impact it has when used by other researchers and therefore the need for integrity."

"I really liked the fact that the participants where from different backgrounds. It sort of opened my eyes to different disciplines and how things work there."

Think Ahead: SURE

This scheme helps researchers develop leadership skills by supervising and undergraduate as they complete a six-to-eight week research project. Student supervisors will go through the whole research process, from writing a grant application, to interviewing candidates and managing a project budget.

Find out more about this scheme at the University of Sheffield Researcher Portal

Previous participants said...

"I found the SURE scheme a more rewarding way of collaborating with a student to work on a short summer project. This was because, as a PhD applicant, you are given the opportunity of coming up with your own project, getting first-hand experience of proposal writing and review, grant application, and interviewing and selecting the student of your choice. A much better alternative than simply getting a random student to work with, on a project you didn't choose."

"I feel like I got a net results gain because I was able to pick the very best candidate myself. It was also good to get experience in applying for money, and because I was successful, I can put that on my CV."

Success on screen

Communication experts from Vox Coaching lead this course, which teaches PhD students to explain their research to non-academic audiences. It is designed to build confidence in front of a camera, covering everything from how to select appropriate terminology, create a clear message and engage an audience, to voice quality, body language and authenticity.

Watch videos our researchers have made on iTunesU

For more information about this course email Dr Sandrine Soubes, s.soubes@sheffield.ac.uk.

Previous participants said...

"The session was not simply an introduction to how to behave in front of the camera, it was actually a full guide. I do feel I could go out and either film people, or star in a film myself!"

"By applying the methods I learned from the workshop I hope I'll be able to increase the visibility of my research and make it more accessible for the public and the patient group I'm working with."

"Presenting to a camera creates quite a nervous feeling for myself, however I will hopefully feel more comfortable in this environment due to a number of reasons that took place at the workshop including recording many talks on camera, spending all day in front of the camera, where to focus your attention and the different scenarios that can be used when filming. I will also feel more comfortable delivering presentations at conferences and meetings."

Writing development programme

There are a range of ways that we can support you with your writing. For example, the four-day 'Laying the foundation of effective writing' workshop helps researchers understanding the writing process, and teaches them how to face the challenge of presenting complex scientific information with clarity. There is an emphasis on applying common principles to different types of writing while recognising the specific requirements of each one. Researchers consider how to apply these principles to the writing they will complete throughout their career, such as progress reports, conference abstracts, grant applications and scientific publications.

For more information about this programme email Dr Sandrine Soubes, s.soubes@sheffield.ac.uk.

Previous participants said...

"I loved all of it. It was the most relevant and useful workshop I have attended. I enjoyed our discussions on different writing topics, and ample time spent working on our own writing and the feedback we received. I highly recommend this workshop."

"The general subject matter, It felt well planned and I came away completely prepared to write papers and other documents of the sort."

"We learned a lot about the process of writing, but the most useful part of the writing course was actually applying all this in short intense writing sessions."

Vista seminar series

This seminar series introduces students to the wide range of careers that a PhD can lead to. Graduates who have gone into lots of different fields explain how the skills they got from their PhD helped them find great jobs outside of academia. It is a good way for PhD students to think about what they would like to do after their PhD, and work out what they can do during their PhD to help them get there. Areas covered in the series can include patenting, policy development, marketing, publishing, outreach, and research and development.

PhD students also have access to the Vista mentoring portal, where they can connect with graduates who work in an area that interests them.

Find out more about this seminar series at the University of Sheffield Researcher Portal

For more information about this programme email Dr Kay Guccione, k.guccione@sheffield.ac.uk.

Developing teaching skills

We run several workshops under the Sheffield Teaching Assistant banner to help PhD student improve the teaching skills that are essential in many academic careers. Topics covered include research supervision, how to run seminars, how to demonstrate in laboratories, lecturing, research supervision, assessment and feedback.

Find out more about the Sheffield Teaching Assistant at the Learning and Teaching Services webpages


Springboard is a personal and professional development programme for women. It is designed to help researchers:

  • build their confidence and assertiveness have a greater sense of direction
  • take clear practical realistic steps to take more control over their life
  • find out what they value
  • make decisions and take action based on their values
  • balance their lives better and achieve their academic/ professional potential
  • create a supportive network of women researchers within the University

Find out more about this programme at the University of Sheffield Researcher Portal

Previous participants said...

"Thinking about my skills, those obtained in and outside of an academic environment, and thinking about how to incorporate the skills I obtained outside of academia with those I gained in academia was really useful. I have been able to think of my career in a more holistic way now, encompassing many skills that I otherwise may have not promoted for myself."

"One aspect I found most beneficial was being in the coaching group and meeting up with the group. The meetings offered support and advise on real issues that we were facing in our individual lives and situations and most of us came back with positive feedbacks having tried out some of the support given. Another aspect was the taking turns to listen to one another in small groups and offering feedbacks, because it aided the development of my listening skills, processing the information given and giving relevant support or assessment where needed."