University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Our core training programme aims to equip you with the skills you need to successfully complete your doctorate and improve your personal effectiveness.

While the focus of your doctoral programme is on expanding your knowledge of your research topic, developing the skills to do this effectively and professionally is an important part of our work with you.

As a result, we have created the Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP), which allows you to tailor your learning to your personal development needs.

“I have benefited enormously from the excellent RRDP training courses, as they not only allowed me to acquire additional skills but also provided a great opportunity to meet other students.”

Julia Hofweber

PhD in Psychology


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. There are around 100 sessions to choose from, including:

  • how to write a thesis – getting started
  • managing data and research material
  • presentation skills
  • interview skills
  • ethics in research
  • open access for research publications
  • how to get published
  • taking and editing photos for your thesis.


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 (Word document, 0.02 MB) – 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 term, and you can make bookings through Reading's student information system (RISIS). You can now view the summer term timetable.

You can view RRDP sessions for this academic year in the Graduate School Training and Support Guide 2022/23.

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

All face-to-face training takes place on the Whiteknights campus. You will be emailed details of where 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.

RRDP sessions are delivered through a mix of online and face-to-face only delivery. Please refer to individual sessions for delivery details. 

Once you have booked on a course, you are expected to attend, but if you are unable to do so you must cancel your place as there may be a waiting list.

If you have any accessibility or other requirements, contact us at to let us know in advance.


PhD by Distance doctoral students

We recommend that you endeavour to attend RRDP workshops and courses on campus. In addition to the face-to-face courses, you can also access a range of online training; however, online courses will only count towards your RRDP training requirement if you are formally registered on the PhD by Distance programme or as working away.


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