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Courses for postdocs and research staff are designed to support your career and professional development.

Leadership in Action in Oxford 14–16 June 2017 9am–5pm

Leadership in action

Leadership in Action is designed to help researchers understand more about leadership and to prepare them to lead – within academia and beyond. The programme is highly acclaimed at a national level and has been adapted for the Oxford context.

What does it involve?
• Applied learning, rather than lectures
• An opportunity for all participants to lead a group project
• Support and feedback on your leadership style

Who is it aimed at?
• Post-docs and Early Career Researchers

The course will help you to: 
• Reflect on the meaning of leadership and its importance
• Increase your awareness of different leadership styles and discover your
• Understand how leaders impact others
• Identify how you can use leadership skills effectively in your current role and

Application for a place
You need to be employed on a research contract or fellowship within the MPLS Division*. To apply, please provide a 150 word statement addressing these questions:
• Why do you want to develop your leadership capabilities?
• Are there any areas of your life inside or outside of work where you act as a
  leader? Please give examples.
• What will the main challenge be for you to develop as a leader?

Applications should arrive by 5pm on 24 May as PDF email attachments to For further information contact Justin Hutchence 

Please only apply if you can attend the whole programme. A refundable deposit of £50 will be taken from all participants in advance of the course.

For more about Leadership in Action please visit Vitae 

* the MPLS Division consists of the departments of Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Engineering Science, Materials, Physics, Plant Sciences, Statistics, Zoology and the Mathematical Institute and the e-Research Centre

Researcher Training and Development Brochure

Download a copy of the Researcher Training and Development Opportunities brochure for 2016-17.Researcher Training and Development Opportunities 2016-17

If you need further information about any of the courses listed in the brochure or below, please contact us at

There are also many training opportunities available from other training providers in the University

To support their career development, all contract research staff and research fellows in the MPLS Division are entitled to a career development review during their first six months of employment, and then an annual development review thereafter.

Contact details of the divisional training team:

Alison Trinder, Researcher Training Adviser:

James Cunning, Divisional Training Coordinator:

 Courses and overview



Academic English

For non-native speakers of English to develop the skills needed for teaching and wider academic practice.
Two hours per week for eight weeks.

Avoiding Plagiarism (online course)

This online course provides an introduction to the issues surrounding plagiarism.

Self-paced online course

Being Part of an Effective and Enterprising Team

Understanding people's team preferences, what motivates a team and some common pitfalls...

One half-day session

Building a Business

This course provides basic business skills to those who would like to start a business, and those with an existing business who wish to develop and enhance their skills.
Nine week evening lecture series.

Careers Service workshops and events

A series of career development workshops and events offered by the Careers Service

Design Thinking: Rapid Prototyping

Learn about a creative, action learning process, developed in Standford, which will help you develop and test prototypes.

Three lunchtime sessions

Developing Your Ideas

Identify road blocks in the way of a project and assess possible impact. Part of the Entrepreneurship Programme.

One half day workshop.

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

MPLS has a programme of courses and events which use Enterprise as a forum for developing research skills and Research as a way of highlighting all that enterprise might offer. 

Entrepreneurship (online courses)

These courses will help you understand entrepreneurship in the academic context, why and how entrepreneurial opportunities arise and how to evaluate ideas and raise resources.
Three self-paced online courses.

How to Peer Review Journal Papers

This course will explain how the peer review system works, and what is expected of reviewers, and how to review manuscripts quickly and effectively.
One 2.5 hour workshop.

The Idea Generator: Creativity and Evaluation for Research and Tech Transfer

Workshop providing tools for the generation of ideas, building on the rest of the entrepreneurship programme.

 One half day event.

Introduction to Research Data Management

This course provides an overview of of key data management issues, highlights the key questions researchers need to consider, and provides information about the various resources and services available.
One three hour workshop.

An Introduction to TRIZ

TRIZ is a systematic toolkit for both engineers and Scientists. This course will be a fast paced introduction to the tools and process.

Two full day workshops

Navigator (For men)

Identify the clear and practical steps you want to take in your life, and develop the skills and determination to do something about them.
Four one day workshops over a period of three months.

Online Courses

The University has a number of free online courses designed to support you in your research.
Complete at your own pace.


For women researchers aiming for an academic career

Personal Pitching

Practice a series of pitches with peers, and learn tips and tricks on hooking your audience into the pitch.

One half-day workshop

Pictorial Planning: Lean Canvas for Researchers

This interactive course will use the popular business model canvas combined with your research project as a starting point to develop your ideas further.

One half-day workshop

Pitching for Funding

This interactive course will use your research as a starting point to guide you in how to pitch for investment in your venture.

One half-day workshop

Pitching Your Research for Impact

A series of lunchtime workshops thinking about how to achieve the highest impact with your research

Poster Design and Presentation

The opportunity to understand how to select one aspect of your research to interest and stimulate a given target audience and conference theme.
One 3.5 hour workshop.

Presentation Skills

The key principles of planning and delivering a successful talk and how to build confidence.

One 3 hour workshop

Promoting Your Ideas for Collaboration and Investment

Working with stakeholder groups and building relationships through collaboration.

One 3.5 hour workshop

Protecting Your IP

How to protect ideas and understand the process of patenting.

One half day workshop

Research Integrity

Introduction to ethical issues in research, considering the decisions to be made in its planning, conduct and publication.
One 3.5 hour workshop.

Research Integrity (online courses)

Understand the key responsibilities you have as a researcher, identify the challenges you could face in meeting these responsibilities, and learn strategies for dealing with pressures and difficult situations.
Self-paced online courses relevant to specific research fields.


Scientific Writing: Core Skills


The course covers: writing in simple, clear and concise scientific English; writing style, refined writing, common grammatical errors and proof reading; preparation of the core sections of a scientific paper, abstract and title; and the language of scientific argument. Instruction is supported by critique of relevant papers and writing exercises.

One-day workshop


Scientific Writing: Getting Your Paper Published


This course will look at the aspects you need to consider when constructing your paper, and demystify peer reviewed journals by giving insider insights from science journal editors and showing you what they really want.

One-day workshop

Springboard (For women)

Identify the clear and practical steps you want to take in your life, and develop the skills and determination to do something about them.
Four one-day workshops over a period of three months.

Developing Learning and Teaching (DLT)

Make your teaching more effective for your students and for yourself. Learn how to take a more scientific, evidence-based approach to your teaching and your students’ learning. 90 minutes per week for six weeks.

Enhancing Teaching Programme

Led by the Oxford Learning Institute, this programme provides early career research and academic staff with a structured, time-conscious pathway to a professional teaching qualification. 

Seven interactive workshops (3.5 days) over a period of six-seven months.

Teaching: Preparing for Learning & Teaching At Oxford (PLTO) - Lab Demonstrators

Learn about the purposes of Undergraduate labs and how to demonstrate effectively, and develop your demonstrating skills.
One three hour workshop.

Teaching: Preparing for Learning & Teaching At Oxford (PLTO) - Tutors and Class Assistants

Learn about tutorial and class teaching at Oxford and think about ways to make your teaching effective and enjoyable.
One three hour workshop.

The Imposter Syndrome

How can it be that so many clever, competent and capable people can feel that they are just one step away from being exposed as a complete fraud? Despite evidence that they are performing well they can still have that lurking fear that at any moment someone is going to tap them on the shoulder and say "We need to have a chat".

One three hour lecture.

The Balanced Researcher

This workshop describes the most useful strategies that thousands of researchers have found helpful in balancing the many demands on their time.

One three hour lecture

Training in Teaching Skills

An overview of the training in teaching skills available in departments, the Division and the University.

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