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Completing a doctorate will build wide-ranging transferable skills and experience, including independent research, project management, problem solving, critical skills and adaptability. Our core training programme, the Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP), offers a wide range of training sessions, development workshops and activities to help you gain the skills to carry out research professionally and effectively and to support your ongoing career.

Things to do now

  • The Doctoral and Researcher College Training and Support Guide 2023/24 is now available in Blackboard and provides details of development opportunities across the coming year. (Use your student login details to access.)
  • The Semester 2 timetable is available to view.
  • Details of how to request a course place can be found here.

What is the RRDP?

The RRDP comprises a wide range of sessions, workshops and activities that address your needs in the following areas:

  • knowledge and intellectual abilities
  • personal effectiveness
  • research governance and organisation
  • engagement, influence and impact.

These areas are based on the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), a nationally endorsed tool created by Vitae (a UK organisation that supports the professional development of researchers).

How the RRDP works

The RRDP is a compulsory part of your doctoral programme. There is a minimum requirement for participation, depending on whether you are registered on a full-time or part-time programme.

Year  Full time  Part time 
5 RRDP sessions   3 RRDP sessions 
3 RRDP sessions  2 RRDP sessions 
3 RRDP sessions  2 RRDP sessions 
n/a 2 RRDP sessions 
n/a  no minimum requirement 

As a doctoral student at Reading, the training sessions featured in the RRDP are free for you to attend. Course titles span a broad area including developing academic language and argumentation, writing and publishing, specific methodological approaches, research communication and important practical tools such as ORCID.

Identifying your training needs

From the start of your doctoral programme and as you progress through it, you will need to reflect on your knowledge, behaviours and attributes – in order to identify which skills you need to succeed, which skills you already have and which skills you still need to develop.

To this end, you will be required to complete a Learning Needs Analysis of Training Needs and Supervision Discussion Points document  – a living document that matches your training requirements to appropriate RRDP sessions. This will be used as the basis of a discussion between you and your supervisor:

  • at the start of your programme
  • as part of your annual progress reports
  • at the confirmation of your registration.

As you undertake training, it is important that you reflect on how well it has met your needs and what further training and development activities will be useful.

If you identify a generic skills course that you would like to attend, but which is not currently offered, please let us know at We may be able to arrange new courses, if there is sufficient demand.

“I think it is very important to know what one's strengths and weaknesses are and for that doing an honest Learning Need Analysis (LNA) at the beginning is very important. I took a number of RRDP courses based on my LNA to overcome the challenges that I faced in my initial days.”

Senjuti Manna

PhD in Real Estate and Planning


Booking RRDP sessions

A timetable of RRDP sessions is published at the start of each semester, and you can make bookings through Reading's student information system (RISIS). The current semester timetable can be viewed along with 'How to book' guidance in the 'Things to do now' section above.

The Doctoral and Researcher College Training and Support Guide 2023/24 is now available in Blackboard and provides details of development opportunities across the coming year. (Use your student login details to access.)

If a course is oversubscribed, you will be placed on a waiting list in case someone else drops out. We aim to run the most popular courses several times throughout the year, giving you the chance to attend at a later date.

Attending RRDP sessions

RRDP sessions are delivered through a mix of online and face-to-face only delivery. Please refer to individual sessions for delivery details. All face-to-face training takes place on the Whiteknights campus. After booking, you will be emailed details of where or how to attend and any preparatory work you may need to do in advance. If, for any reason, the session needs to be cancelled, you will be notified by email and automatically transferred to a rescheduled session. If you have any accessibility or other requirements, contact us at to let us know in advance.

PhD by Distance doctoral students

If  your registration is By Distance, you are still eligible to attend face-to-face RRDP courses when visiting campus and online RRDP courses at other times. You are expected to complete a minimum level of training.

Preparing to Teach programme

If you take up an opportunity at the University to contribute to the teaching and learning activities for undergraduate students, you will be expected to complete the Preparing to Teach programme. You can count your attendance on this programme towards your overall RRDP participation requirement, equivalent to one session.

Find out more about Preparing to Teach