Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme

Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme


**Covid-19 update** Due to University Policy and the current Covid 19 situation all face to face workshops as part of the SAgE Faculty postgraduate programme have been cancelled until further notice.

Further information on Covid-19 can be found on the University website

Resources for Postgraduate Researchers working remotely are available.

If you know of any other good resources please contact pgrdp@ncl.ac.uk and we will add to the list so other Postgraduate researchers can benefit.

To keep up to date with the current list of workshops in alternative formats, please keep checking the online booking system 

If you have any queries, please contact Dr Gail de Blaquiere

Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme (PGRDP)

The primary aim of the Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme (PGRDP) is to help you develop the skills and experience that the UK Research Councils expect you to have, or to develop, during the course of your research degree.

Training in research skills and techniques are set out by the Vitae Network Researcher Development Framework.

These are key to all successful research.

The training largely occurs in your Schools and Institutes, through interaction with your supervisory team, other researchers and technicians.

The Researcher Development Programme complements this technical training and focuses on wider employment-related skills.


Bookings for the programme can be made using the online system.

Use your normal Newcastle University username and password.

Programme Handbook

Download Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme Handbook

Other useful information including handouts and ReCap recordings of workshops can be found via our Blackboard community.

SAgE Faculty Postgraduate Conference goes Virtual!

Week commencing 1st June 2020 SAgE PGR Conference goes virtual. Find out more here


Please contact pgrdp@ncl.ac.uk with any queries relating to the programme.

How it works

The Researcher Development Programme is designed to be simple to access. To get the most out of it, and to maximise your own personal and professional development, follow a few simple steps.

1. Assess your current skills

Use the Researcher Development Framework (RDF).

This is known as a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and is key to your development. You should carry out the TNA early in your research degree programme. Ask for advice from your supervisory team when doing it.

The Vitae Researchers Portal has advice on auditing your skills.

2. Identify development needs

Identify which workshops or other events would best address your development needs. Base this on gaps in your skills, or areas where your skills could be improved.

You can find summaries of workshops and activities in the programme handbook. All activities are categorised under the domains of the RDF.

Your School may also provide you with additional School-based development activities.

3. Create a Personal Development Plan

The programme of workshops and other activities that you identify becomes your own Personal Development Plan (PDP).

You can record your PDP using the e-portfolio system.

4. Book your place

Book yourself onto the relevant workshops and events. This is done via an online booking system.

Use your standard Newcastle University username and password to enter the site. Staff candidates must use their student username.

5. Attend events

Attend the workshop or event. Use your Smartcard so that your presence can be recorded.

6. Give feedback

Provide feedback after the event on how useful you found it to be. This is done via the online booking system.

Informed and constructive feedback will help us to monitor, evaluate and modify the programme.

7. Revise your needs and plan

Periodically revisit and revise your TNA and PDP. Involve your supervisory team in this.

Do it at least annually (and preferably more frequently). Your e-Portfolio will assist you in doing this.

Credit Requirement

All workshops, activities and events in the Researcher Development Programme carry a PGRDP credit value. This correlates with the time commitment involved. You can register for as many points as you feel are appropriate for your own needs. There is no upper limit.


Find out what resources are available to you.


The Programme has its own Blackboard Community site. You'll automatically be granted access when you register. You need to use your University login and password.

Log on regularly to keep up to date with developments to the programme. 

The site has:

  • the programme calendar
  • useful information
  • workshop presentations
  • RECAP recordings
  • handouts

These support your learning, but are not a substitute for active participation. There is also news, additions and cancellations.

The Blackboard Mobile Learn app will work on iOS (iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad), Android and Blackberry devices.


The ePortfolio gives you a convenient way of keeping a record of your personal and professional development and support. It builds up a 'portfolio' of evidence regarding your skills development.

You will need to use your university username and password to access ePortfolio.

You will use it to:

  • help identify your training needs
  • plan your training
  • record your training evaluate and review your progress
  • record all of this information
  • record meetings with your supervisors

Keeping these types of records is increasingly important in many professional roles (including academic ones). Demands for assessment, appraisal and continuing development grow.

You are also encouraged to provide other evidence of achievement

Further Training Opportunities

Look at the training provided by other Faculties. Book yourself on any appropriate workshops that they offer. See training provided by Medical Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences

Vitae is a national organisation. It is external to the University. It champions the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes. Vitae offer courses regionally and nationally through the Vitae website.

If you have an additional training need, contact the programme manager Gail De Blaquiere.


Find out how to contact us about the programme.

Programme Team


Devonshire Building
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne


For general enquiries, email us at pgrdp@ncl.ac.uk

Accessibility and Disability

Contact us if you have any queries or individual needs in the areas of:

  • access
  • mobility
  • communication
  • workshop materials

Let us know if you require:

  • information in an alternative format
  • audio amplification/hearing loop or visual equipment
  • BSL/English interpreter

We can offer support for wheelchair users, or if you have any dietary requirements.

Email us at pgrdp@ncl.ac.uk