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Research, Training and Skills

If you are to complete a thesis successfully and in good time, then it is important that you get good research training. The College is fully committed to research training which is relevant, useful and which contributes to positive outcomes for its students, not least in enhancing their post-thesis employability. Although the award of your degree is based on the examiners’ assessment of your work and, if applicable, the viva voce examination, students graduating with research degrees from UK universities are increasingly expected to have acquired a wide range of skills by the time they complete their doctoral studies. It should also be remembered that failure to undertake the necessary research training for your project could jeopardise your ability to progress in your programme.

In order for you and your supervisor to know what training is appropriate to your needs, you should complete a needs analysis at the start of each year which will help you analyse the training that you have already undertaken, and relate that to the training which you need both for you research project, and for your more general development as a researcher. The needs analysis will enable you to prioritise your training requirements and direct you to the appropriate modules, workshops and sessions. For new research students please complete the Training Needs and Analysis form and returning students should upload the form to MyPGR. 

For new research students: Training needs analysis form

There are many events organised by the different disciplines and by the College. Any staff or postgraduate students may attend, although registration for certain events will be required. These events include research seminars and conferences. We encourage you to make the most of the opportunities offered to participate in the research environment of the College.

Below are the links to the College events in general (including all discipline events), and also discipline events.

All College events




Sport and Health Sciences

Living Systems Institute

There are also University-wide events which you may be interested in attending. Furthermore, you are also welcome to attend Exeter Café Scientifique, which is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place on the first Monday of every month at the Exeter Phoenix at 8.30.

The University’s Employability and Graduate Development unit offers a wide variety of RDP workshops throughout the year which complement the more specific discipline / social science training within the College. These workshops are open to all University research students, and aim to develop more transferable skills, which are the kinds of skills which are necessary for effective performance by research students, not only in their specific research project, but also in other forms of research or work in general. Examples of transferable skills include effective reading and writing skills, communication skills and planning skills.

The RDP has a wide range of development opportunities available to research students. Depending on where you are based, you will be able to access training courses and other professional development activities in Cornwall or Exeter as they become available. Online training is available to all postgraduate research students but might be especially useful for part time and distance based researchers. The Postgraduate Researchers’ Programme covers a wide range of topics. The tables on the PGR RDP webpage list recommended topics for research students in each year of study (or part time equivalent) within the context of the Researcher Development Framework. The topics are addressed individually in workshops on the Exeter Campuses and related topics are clustered into broader themes in workshops on the Cornwall Campus. To see more details about the courses available and book your place, please visit My Career Zone.

Researcher Development Online (RDO)

RDO is a suite of 11 online modules, which support the core content of our 'face-to-face' RDP sessions. The modules are particularly useful if you are not based 'on campus'. The modules are:

  • Starting your doctorate
  • Reviewing, managing and using literature
  • Research ethics and governance
  • Managing your research project
  • Writing papers for publication
  • Getting the most out of conferences
  • Careers in academia
  • Careers beyond academia
  • Writing your thesis
  • Preparing for your viva
  • Understanding plagiarism

In addition, there are links to courses and materials that provide important information on Data Security and Open Access and a number of recorded webinars.

To book on to all Researcher Development courses you will need to sign up to Inkpath, our new professional development tracking and booking system. It is specifically designed for researcher training and development programmes and with PGRs in mind. Through Inkpath you can book on to all our training and development sessions, as well as search our online resources. Inkpath gives you greater control over your professional development record, offering a place to record all the training and development you undertake - at Exeter and beyond. You can access Inkpath through your web browser, and by downloading the Inkpath app.

To learn more about Inkpath and how to set up and account, Inkpath have prepared a series of introductory videos to help you get to grips with the system.  

- Inkpath Introduction

Inkpath video tutorials

To access these videos, you will need to use the password: exeterinkpath2021

If you have any questions about setting up your Inkpath account, please email the helpdesk,

If you have any questions about the Researcher Development Programme or the move to Inkpath, please email

Exeter Learning Environment (ELE) provides access to online materials which support your course here at Exeter University. In addition to materials which accompany most individual degree modules, ELE also includes more general resources to aid you in your studies.

The Researcher Development Team offer and link to a range of services for PGRs, including:

  • eXepert Scheme contact service puts you in touch with University alumni in particular sectors for career questions and answers eXepert