Browse and book
Browse Proficio to see the range of training
courses available or search for a specific course. You can also use the system to book your place and check your remaining funds.
Proficio is our innovative professional development scheme for postgraduate research students, unique to Essex. We believe that your
academic and professional development is vital to your growth as a postgraduate research student and we give you funds
that can be spent on a variety of courses and conferences.
As a postgraduate research student you are automatically registered on the
Proficio system and can use your University of Essex password and username to
and to check your funding. Go to the
tab in Proficio to check your funding, view your training record, to book or cancel
Our postgraduate research training courses
Proficio is designed to provide you with the resources to maintain the
highest levels of research skills, plan your research degree effectively and
tackle problems common to researchers. Proficio courses will offer you the
opportunity to develop skills and articulate them to either academic or
non-academic employers confidently and effectively. They also enable you to
network with other postgraduate research students.
Transferable employability skills for research degree postgraduates are
critical, as they enable you to work effectively within industry as well as
academia. Thinking carefully and strategically about your skills, objectives and
the areas in which you need to develop will enable you to take charge of your
professional skills development and to become a successful researcher.
We offer courses in a wide variety of areas:
- career management
- personal development
- communication and public engagement
- influence and impact
- managing your research and production of your thesis
- IT and software
- advanced research training and knowledge
External courses and workshops
External training courses
If you have identified an external training course which would be beneficial to the successful completion of your research degree, but a similar
course is not available through Proficio at Essex, with the Director of Research Training’s approval, you can use your Proficio funds to pay for the
To apply for approval to use your Proficio funds to attend a training course not provided through Proficio, please complete an
approval form (.docx).
Training course definition
- Will have a tangible outcome such as new skill acquisition.
- Generally will be around a theme and will have longer sessions.
- Akin to courses offered under Proficio at University of Essex.
From 1 October 2016 doctoral students can use their Proficio funds on conference attendance. For details and information on the
amount available for conference attendance, please see the ‘Funding’ section.
If you would like to attend a conference using Proficio funds, please fill in a conference approval form. (.docx)
Please allow at least two weeks to receive a response from the Proficio team before you receive a reply regarding your application.
- Generally have a broader topic focus.
- Usually comprise of multiple presentations that are short and concise, with the programme often including key note talks that are longer.
- Larger events where multiple sessions are running at one time (not always the case but this would make an event clearly a conference).
- Student may have the opportunity to present their own research, organise a session or just attend to increase subject awareness.
Students starting from October 2016
As a new postgraduate research student, you will receive all your funding at the start of your course. Once you have completed your Training Needs Analysis, your Proficio
funds will be released. The Training Needs Analysis will be introduced at the Research Student Welcome Conferences in October and January.
For all new students, Proficio funds are allocated as follows. Part-time students will receive the same pro-rata.
PhD, PhD by Programme and Doctorates
PhD, PhD by Programme and Doctorates are allocated £2,500. Your funds are based in two accounts:
- £2000 will be in your Proficio account
- £500 will be kept separately and will be dedicated to conference attendance
You can use up to £200 from your Proficio account for conference attendance. Thus, in total, you can spend up to £700 in conferences.
Masters by Dissertation
Masters by Dissertation programmes are allocated £1,000.
Masters of Philosophy (MPhil)
Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) programmes are allocated £1,500.
Funding for Integrated PhD programmes is the same as for PhD students. Your funds will be released at the beginning of the 2nd year, but you can make a request to
use them during the summer term of your 1st year, once the taught element of your degree is completed.
Spending in your first year
In your first year, you will need to seek your
supervisor’s approval if you want to spend more than £1,000. Your supervisor should email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm this. We do recommend
that you regularly discuss your training needs with your supervisor.
Students who started in academic year 2015-16
You have an additional £500 in a new separate account that can be used solely for conference attendance. Additionally, you can now spend up to £200 of the remaining funds
in your Proficio account on conference attendance.
If you started your degree before October 2015
You can now spend up to £700 of the remaining funds in your Proficio account on conference attendance.
Members of staff and research students can shape the development of Proficio
courses by identifying gaps in the training provision and feeding this back to
our team (email@example.com) or by
creating Proficio courses.
We welcome course applications from any member of staff or research student,
but if you are a student you must discuss your idea with your Director of
Research Students or Head of Department to start with.
If you are considering setting up a Proficio course, please read the
Criteria for courses
A successful application will demonstrate that the event
- offers relevant and timely advanced training for postgraduate research
- has content or structure not otherwise available to students within the
- meets perceived training needs
- will contribute to the reputation of the University as a research-excellent
institution, supportive of its postgraduate research students
- encourages students to undertake training here rather than elsewhere
- is costed and priced appropriately and sustainably
When developing a course, please have in mind that delegates from outside the
University can book onto and attend Proficio courses.
If you would like to discuss your ideas and course content before applying to
run a course, please contact the Director of Research Training.
All approved courses will be promoted to postgraduate research students by
the Proficio Team through the fortnightly bulletin and will be listed centrally
for online booking by participants on Proficio. Course providers are responsible
for promoting their courses more widely.
Funding and costs
The Proficio Team can support you in the completion of your Proficio Course
Application form, but it is your responsibility to set the costs and prices
appropriately. This is important as your department will keep any profits, as
well as will bear any losses, incurred from the course. For example, if the
course is cancelled, but costs have already been incurred, such as paying for
administrative support, external speakers or refreshments, the department will
bear these losses.
Once the course goes live on Proficio, students and delegates will pay for
the course through Proficio. The department will receive all the fees from
Proficio once the course has finished and attendees to the course have been
confirmed, via the cost code that has been provided. Please note, if students or
delegates do not attend the course without given prior notice, they will still
The Proficio Team will support you, but it is your responsibility to
administer and organise your course. For example, you must book your own rooms,
photocopy materials, etc. Some departments have employed Frontrunners to do
this. You may wish to include additional administration costs in your financial
plan to reflect this.
Monitoring attendance and payment of course fees
It is the responsibility of the course provider to monitor the attendance of
delegates at the course. Using their ‘user’ status on the Proficio system, the
course provider must mark attendees on the schedule following the course. Once
this has been completed, the funds from the bookings will be transferred to the
cost code provided.
If the course provider is not a ‘user’ on Proficio, the course provider must
provide the Proficio Team with a list of attendees following the course. Once
this has been completed, the funds from the bookings will be transferred to the
cost code you have provided.
If, after reading the guidance above, you would like to make an application
to the Director of Research Training to run a Proficio course then please
complete this form:
If you have any queries about Proficio, please contact the Proficio Team at