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Doctoral College

Skills Points System

Every PGR student is expected to take part in approximately 210 hours of development activities over the course of their studies. This is the quantity of training advised by the UK Research Councils, and is roughly equal to two weeks training and development for each full-time year of study.

Selection of appropriate development activities and courses should form part of your relationship with your supervisor and you should expect to discuss your development needs during your annual reviews. A tool to help you assess your development needs is the available from the Researcher Development team website

All PGR students are automatically registered on the Skills Points System (SPS) and they must ensure that their training record is kept up to date. The SPS captures generic and discipline-specific developmental activities that students are involved in, through the allocation of points. Points are given for courses or workshops run by Researcher Development, schools and institutes, and external organisations. Points are also awarded for participation in other activities such as conference attendance, teaching and attending seminars.

Read our guide on How to use the SPS_Jan 18 [PDF 905KB]

Key facts: 

    • Points can be accrued at any time during your PGR program.
    • Activities such as attendance at conferences or giving research presentations will be eligible for a set number of points.
    • Some recurring activities (such as attendance at a seminar series) will have a maximum tariff (cap)  of points that can be gained, either per year or over the course of the degree.
    • PGR students who have attended external courses or events which they believe have helped them develop their research or transferable skills will be able to apply to be awarded points, subject to verification by their supervisor and/or Researcher Development.
    • If students come to Queen Mary with significant prior development training (gained, for example, through previous employment), this training may be accredited, subject to approval by Researcher Development who will also determine the points allocated.

Points gained are mapped against the four domains of the Vitae/RCUK Researcher Development Framework (RDF) in order to assist students and supervisors in planning individual personal development.

How many points do I need to get?

Students are expected to accrue 210 points across the course of their doctoral degree. These points should be spread across all four domains, but there are a minimum number of points required in each domain.


Minimum number of points

Domain A (Knowledge and intellectual abilities)


Domain B (Personal effectiveness)


Domain C (Research governance and organisation


Domain D (Engagement, influence and impact)


All Queen Mary PGR students who log 210 hours of researcher development activities on the Skills Point System will be awarded the Queen Mary Diploma of Researcher Development by the Doctoral College.

Recording your activities

The PGR Skills Points System records training and development activities and keep track of the points accrued. You can log in and use the system using your college ID and password. Detailed information on how to use the system can be found under the Help tab on the SPS.

Any activities you have taken part in since September 2011 can be logged on the database. This may happen automatically (eg for Researcher Development courses), or you may be required to enter the information from your own records. Your School/Institute should provide you with information about how they will be using the system.

If you are unsure about any aspect of this system or the database, please look at the FAQs page. If you still have questions, please contact Fryni Panayidou or the Researcher Development Administrator.