Internal Proficio courses

Proficio provides you with the resources to attain the highest levels of research skills, plan your research degree effectively and tackle challenges common to researchers. Proficio courses offer you the opportunity to develop skills and articulate them to both academic and non-academic audiences confidently and effectively. The courses also enable you to network with other postgraduate research students.

Transferable skills for employability are critical for research degree postgraduates, as they enable you to work effectively within industry, within a range of organisations, 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 become a successful researcher.

Our courses

We’ve mapped all of our Essex Proficio courses to the Vitae Research Development Framework (RDF) – an internationally recognised framework that depicts the interlocking skills required by successful researchers. The RDF aims to help you understand the knowledge, behaviours and attitudes expected of effective and highly skilled researchers.

The RDF has 4 domains, and 12 sub domains, as listed below. Each sub domain is linked to our Proficio booking portal, where the appropriate courses for that subdomain can be booked. Additional courses are added throughout the year, so please check back regularly to see what’s available: 

Knowledge and intellectual abilities

Knowledge base (A1)

Subject knowledge and Research methods, theoretical knowledge, practical application, Information seeking, Information literacy and management, Languages, Academic literacy and numeracy

Cognitive abilities (A2)

Analysing, Synthesising, Critical thinking, Evaluating, Problem solving

Creativity (A3)

Inquiring mind, Intellectual insight, Innovation, Argument construction, Intellectual risk

Personal effectiveness

Personal qualities (B1)

Enthusiasm, Perseverance, Integrity, Self-confidence, Self-reflection, Responsibility

Self-management (B2) 

Preparation and prioritisation, Commitment to research, Time management, Responsiveness to change, Work-life balance 

Professional and career development (B3) 

Career management, Continuing professional development, Responsiveness to opportunities, Networking, Reputation and esteem

Research governance and organisation

Professional conduct (C1)

Health and safety, Ethics, principles and sustainability, Legal requirements, IPR and copyright, Respect and confidentiality, Attribution and co-authorship, Appropriate practice

Research management (C2)

Research strategy, Project planning and delivery, Risk management

Finance, funding and resources (C3)

Income and funding generation, Financial management, Infrastructure and resources

Engagement, influence and impact

Working with others (D1)

Collegiality, Team working, People management, Supervision, Mentoring, Influence and leadership, Collaboration, Equality and diversity

Communication and dissemination (D2)

Communication methods, Communication media, Publication

Engagement and impact (D3)

Teaching, Public engagement, Enterprise, Policy, Society and culture, Global citizenship

Essential Training

We’ve created a suite introductions which we consider essential for postgraduate researchers joining the University of Essex. Here you will find webinars and structured interviews that will get you started on your research training journey and direct you towards relevant further information and courses. We strongly recommend you participate in our induction to the ‘essentials’, ideally during the first year of your studies. These courses are free, and pre-recorded, so you can undertake this orientation training at a time that suits you.

Understanding the requirements for the postgraduate research degree

This conversation with Laura Ruddick, Senior Manager of the Postgraduate Research Education Team guides viewers through the basics of the PGR degree process. Laura introduces the ‘PGR lifecycle’ from registration to the viva examination. It explains the importance of milestones, the Supervisory Panel process, and when a change to the pattern of study might be appropriate. This video also provides information on the regulations and policies that guide the awarding of postgraduate research degrees, and funding through Doctoral Training Partnerships.

The importance of research training through PROFICIO

This video explains the importance of research training for the contemporary researcher and how the University of Essex funds training through its innovative Proficio scheme. This conversation with Andrew McCarthy, Manager in the Postgraduate Education Team and Jenny Wilders, Postgraduate Education Officer, details how students receive their Proficio funding and how they can spend it on courses relevant to their training needs. This guide highlights the offer of external courses and funding to support conference attendance. 

Completing the Training Needs Analysis: where to find the support you need

An introduction to the Training Needs Analysis questionnaire that all postgraduate researchers are required to undertake at the start of their studies. This interview with Anne Kavanagh, Postgraduate Education Development Officer, walks the viewer through the purpose of the Training Needs Analysis and how the results signpost recommended training courses, bespoke to each user. This conversation also highlights the wide range of training courses on offer to postgraduate research students, the importance of transferrable skills, and how to record and regularly update your research training plan.

Scholarly Communications and Research Support Services

This conversation with Hannah Pyman, working on Scholarly Communications and Research Support, details the wealth of support offered by the University of Essex Library for our postgraduate students. Hannah introduces us to Essex’s flagship Newcomers training events and highlights the rich offer of courses open to PGR students and early career researchers. This interview also covers the excellent training and publishing opportunities at the Essex Student Journal and initiates the discussion about Open Science/Access. You will also find out more information about our innovative Time to Write retreats for PGR students.

Looking after your wellbeing and mental health as a researcher

This is an introduction to SWIS, the University of Essex’s Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Services. In conversation with Lorna Gadd, Wellbeing Assessment Manager, and Shirley Dow, Inclusion Officer, we find out more about the range of mental health, wellbeing and disability support options provided and how to find the right one to suit your needs. Lorna and Shirley emphasise that users of the services do not need to wait until crisis and affirm the high level of confidentiality provided. The video also lets us know what to do if we encounter problematic treatment or have concerns about someone else’s welfare.

Student representation and voice

A conversation with the Students Union which foregrounds the advice and support services the SU deliver, as well as the ways in which they actively represent students in the University. In this interview we discuss the kinds of practical advice and support that the SU offer on issues such as housing, finances and immigration regulations. We also highlight how the SU can advocate for students when there are academic disputes or in appeals processes and how this process works for postgraduate research students. This conversation also informs viewers about the mechanisms for PGRs to make their voices heard, to petition for changes and to offer new solutions – including information on how to become a representative yourself. 

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