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Doctoral College

Skills Training

Queen Mary is passionate about ensuring that we prepare all of our research students for the world beyond their PGR degree, whether their career leads inside or outside academia.

We take your professional development very seriously and will give you opportunities to develop new knowledge as well as recognising the skills you already have. 

Doing a doctorate is about more than writing your thesis – you need a wide range of skills to undertake, analyse, and communicate research effectively.  

Just as importantly, these skills help you develop as a researcher. The skills you develop during your doctorate – whether they are directly related to your field, are ‘soft’ skills, or are personal development skills – will be useful in your life and career beyond your doctorate

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a common framework used to identify the skills of successful researchers. 

The RDF is divided into four domains: 

  • Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities 
  • Domain B: Personal effectiveness 
  • Domain C: Research governance and organisation 
  • Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact 

Each of these domains is further divided into three subdomains to help you identify particular skills you are developing. 

It’s important to remember that everyone will have different skills already in place and different skills development needs. You don’t need to be developing each of the 12 subdomains at the same speed or at the same time. 

Take some time to reflect on the skills you already have and talk to your supervisors about what skills you should be developing at particular points during your doctorate. 

QMUL has an internal Skills Point System (SPS) that will help you keep track of which RDF domains and subdomains your are developing. You will earn points for development opportunities you undertake and these points are mapped against the four domains of the RDF in order to assist you and your supervisors in planning your individual personal development. 

Full details of the SPS are available on the Skills Points Systems page. 

Skills training is available in several forms at Queen Mary:, most notably through both internal and external training providers and subject specific training workshops run by your academic school or institute.  

  • In-person and online training and development events run by the Doctoral College. 
  • Online, self-study materials and resources. 
  • Subject-specific training run by your academic School or Institute. 

You can explore skills training opportunities available to support you throughout your ongoing study and career development by browsing our online Learning Management System. 

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