Develop the unique skills and knowledge that you need

We know that each research degree is unique, which means the skills and knowledge required to create an outstanding piece of work can be extremely varied. We want you to have access to all the training and development you need to excel in your research degree, which is why we give all our research students up to £2,500 funding to curate a tailored training plan with Proficio

  • Every research student will receive up to £2,500 to put towards training courses and conferences
  • The amount of funding available depends on the type of research degree undertaken, see below for a detailed breakdown
  • We provide hundreds of training courses internally, but you can also apply for external courses if we do not offer something you need
  • Funding can also be spent on attending conferences, both in the UK and internationally

Once you have completed a short introductory training course, your funds will be released and you will be registered to Proficio, which is where you can start spending your funding by booking your place onto courses. There are a huge variety of courses available, including short courses, online learning and multi-day training, across all academic departments and more generic topics such as data analysis, languages,  IT, software, writing and more. There are over 100 to choose from so we're sure you'll find something useful! 

Selfie of Astrid
"When I started my studies, I knew that there were some skills that could facilitate my research. With the Proficio funding, I have taken courses in programming, data analysis and thesis writing. The Department of Psychology run a programming and data analysis course, so I took this during my first year at Essex and it has been helpful for my own experiments and helping my colleagues. I have also taken courses from the School of Life Sciences and the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. I've used some of the money to pay the fees to attend conferences too, and I have a bit of money left over so I'm considering an international conference next!"
Astrid Martinez Cedillo phd psychology
Funding allowances  
  • PhD, PhD by Programme, Doctorates and Integrated PhD programmes are allocated £2,500 funding. You can use £500 for conference attendance, but you can apply for £200 to be moved from the training courses pot to conferences if you wish, thus in total, you can spend £700 on conferences.
  • Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) programmes are allocated £1,500. You can use £500 for conference attendance. 
  • Masters by Dissertation programmes are allocated £1,000. You can use £500 for conference attendance.

Here are just a few of the courses that are offered on Proficio:

Making The Most Of Your Supervisory Relationship

One ingredient for a successful PhD journey is the supervisor/student relationship. The purpose of this training is to provide an overview of the key elements of research supervision, the interactive session will explore the perspectives of students and supervisors and discuss what each can and should reasonably expect from supervision, how to identify and address potential problems and how to maintain an effective working relationship. 

Thesis Writing Bootcamp

Bootcamp recruits will learn how to battle through third-year blues, address writer’s block, kick-start their writing if it has stalled, and overcome thesis fatigue to achieve significant progress on their manuscript. Sessions will include motivational talks, goal setting and strategies for writing quickly and well.

Creating Digital Content on Adobe

Attendees will explore Photoshop to edit, fix and augment images to make them look striking and prepare them for web and print. They will then be introduced to Illustrator and vector graphics for logos and infographics. Lastly, students will concentrate on InDesign, where they will put together brochures, banners and other materials using the media previously created. 

Time Management

Time management can be a major challenge for research students, this short session introduces a number of tools and techniques to help you manage your time effectively. 

Longitudal Data Analysis

This course is an introduction to longitudal data analysis on an applied level using Stata. The focus of the course is on data management and analysing micro panel data. The course will begin by discussing the advantages, and limitations of panel data and show how to handle and describe a panel dataset. We will also cover linear regression techniques, non-linear models, and identifying time societal dynamics.

Methods of Fieldwork

Participants will be trained to design, prepare and run their own field research using their increased knowledge of the practical and logistical issues facing early career researchers in the field. For doctoral students planning to incorporate fieldwork in their dissertation, this course will provide essential support. 


Portrait of Olivia, PhD student
“Proficio has been of invaluable help in supporting me through my PhD at Essex. Proficio funding enabled me to complete extensive language training in preparation for fieldwork in Latin America. It has also allowed me to attend conferences at other universities where I presented my work and made useful contacts with other researchers.”
Olivia Arigho-Stiles PhD sociology

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I unlock my Proficio funding?

As a postgraduate research student, you will be automatically registered on the Proficio system. You will need to complete the Training Needs Analysis training on Moodle in order to unlock your Proficio funding account. 

What can I use my funding on?

Proficio funding is intended to be spent on training and professional development for research students, including a mixture of internal Proficio courses, external courses and conferences which will contribute to the completion of your research degree. However, there are also some non-traditional forms of training which you can request to be covered by Proficio. 

Proficio doesn't cover research visits, software, thesis printing, publishing or proofreading expenses, or your tuition fees.

How do I book my place on a Proficio course?

Use the Proficio booking portal, you can search courses by selecting a category of courses or you can apply various filters and keywords, or simply view all courses to have a browse. To book, click on the link, you will need to select the relevant fee band and once you are at the checkout click on the button to pay from your Proficio funding account. 

What if I can't find the course I need on Proficio?

As research students have very individual training needs, you can make requests to use your Proficio funding for external courses. To make your funding request, you will need to complete an approval form, you can find out more information here.