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Course Details

Springboard is an award-winning personal and professional development programme, designed and developed by women for women. It is designed to support you in taking control and making good decisions about your life and your work. It offers the opportunity to undertake a substantial review of your work and personal life, and take more control by making good quality decisions about your future direction. It can help you take ownership and shape the change you want in practical and realistic ways. You can expect to:

  • Assess your skills and competencies
  • Develop clarity about what is important for you individually in your life and work, then make decisions and take action accordingly
  • Set goals and next steps, plan the direction of your life and work and start working towards it
  • Build confidence and resilience
  • Build connections and communities for support (Most people who take part in Springboard find this one of the most valuable aspects)
  • Develop skills to build productive relationships, manage your profile effectively and progress your career

 Springboard takes place over four full day workshops each a month apart. All workshops start at 9.30am and finish by 4.30pm.

You will also be provided with a workbook which provides an opportunity for you to reflect on (and perhaps discuss with others) the areas you wish to work on. You will be asked to work through sections of it in between the workshops – the general guidance is that you should allow about 3-4 hours a week for this, but the time will depend on what you choose to work on. The workbook remains yours to keep and refer back to after the course.

 If you accept a place on the programme you are expected to attend all four workshops in full, and will be asked to pay a returnable deposit to cover the cost of the book. See the booking section below for further details. 

 Please also read the frequently asked questions.

It’s important to point out that the programme itself will not provide answers or solutions, but will support you in finding your own; you will be expected to take responsibility for your own outcomes. Remember that what you get out of the programme will relate directly to what you commit and put into it.

Therefore before applying for a place on the course please consider carefully if this approach will suit your aims and style of learning, or if perhaps you need a different kind of support.

Please note that the programme is self-nominating so you should only apply for a place if it is something you have chosen to do yourself. 

The University-wide programme

Springboard is also provided by the Oxford Learning Institute for all women working in the University, regardless of staff group, and including research staff and post-graduate students. If you would rather work with a group of women whose careers span a wider range, then you might prefer to attend the University programme. This provides the opportunity to work on your personal and career aspirations with women who come from from the full range of administrative, academic and research roles, and who will also bring a rich breadth of life experience to the programme. If you would like to find out more about this programme, see the information on the Oxford Learning Institute's website or email

The researcher specific programme

The researcher specific programme has been tailored to the context of the research environment and research careers. This Springboard programme provides the opportunity to work with other female research students and research staff from across the University. 

The University also offers a development programme for men called Navigator . In addition to these two programmes the division and the University provide a range of open personal and professional development provision. Please see details in the divisional course programme, from other training providers in the University  and details on the Training and Support from University Services page.

Testimonials from Past Participants

  • I would recommend it, partly for the actual training and partly for the network you develop. It also makes you a lot more self-aware as an individual. It is very useful to do these types of reflections / reassessments from time to time.
  • It allows you to highlight the gaps in your life and to set manageable goals to fill these. It teaches you self-belief and confidence and helps you to realize that you do have the skills and the ability to be happy.
  • The programme is extremely useful. It provides an opportunity to discuss career paths and opportunities in a safe environment of peer researchers. The course has provided me with a network, with ideas and motivation to move forward in my research and my career overall.
  • Soundboard, Personal, Resourceful, Inspiring (particularly), New friends, Go get it (don’t be afraid to try), Be yourself, Organisation skills (refine), Assess – situation/skills, Routine (keep practicing), Determined (don’t give up)
  • I have to say I have been continually impressed with the Springboard programme – week after week it delivered an engaging, useful, balanced approach to developing us as women, as people, as researchers – and I’ve made some really valuable connections.

Intended For

Female graduate research students in their second year and above, and postdoctoral researchers and contract research staff, in all academic divisions.

Number of Places


course leader

Alison Trinder, Researcher Training Adviser for the MPLS Division


Four full day workshops, 9.30 - 17.00:

Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Tuesday 20th February 2018

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Tuesday 17th April 2018

RDf Skills 

B1, B2, B3, D1

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) provides a framework for planning and supporting the personal, professional and career development of graduate students and research staff. See the the following for more details:

The Researcher Development Framework page

The Researcher Training Tool (click on Researcher Development)

Vitae (Vitae is a national organisation dedicated to realising the potential of researchers through supporting their professional and career development.)


Please download and complete the application form and return to The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm on Monday 4th December 2017.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are offered and accept a place on the programme you will be expected to attend all four workshops in full, and pay a deposit of £40 to cover the cost of the workbook. This will be refunded after the course if you attend each day in full. If you cancel your place more than 7 days before the course your deposit will be refunded; if you cancel less than 7 days in advance the deposit is non-refundable. In exceptional circumstances (ill health, domestic crisis etc) that mean you are prevented from attending, the deposit will be refunded at the course leader’s discretion. 

When registering for this course, please check our Terms and Conditions.