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Professional Development Opportunities for Research Students

One of the strategic priorities in the Trinity College Dublin Strategic Plan 2020-2025 is “to ensure the distinctive character of postgraduate education as a holistic concept in which doctoral students receive a diversity of cutting-edge skills training to complement their research.”

Doctoral candidates are expected to excel in their specific research area and are encouraged to acquire a diverse range of skills, including research specific, generic, and transversal skills. These skills will enable them to pursue various career paths, both within academia and beyond.

The Supervisor, along with the wider University, plays a crucial role in supporting the student's development of a wide-ranging skill set. The supervisor's main task is to guide and mentor the student throughout their advanced research project, aiming to promote excellence in research design, practice, and achievements.

The University is responsibile for supporting the supervisor-student relationship and providing the student with additional institutional support and services. These resources assist the student in developing transversal professional skills and establishing a more comprehensive development profile.

Irish Universities Association (IUA) Doctoral Skills Statement

The IUA Doctoral Skills Statement, Third Edition (2021) outlines the desired learning outcomes and skill sets that doctoral graduates will have acquired during their doctoral study.It examines a number of areas including research skills, communication, entrepreneurship and innovation, digital literacy, and personal and professional development.

The statement defines the role of universities as developing a “solid training and supervisory framework, so as to support PhD candidates towards qualification in research excellence, but within a framework of career planning”.

The HEIs have a responsibility to equip their doctoral graduates with a range of transferable research skills, which may vary depending on the student’s experiential learning, disciplinary and professional development needs. The institution should provide guidelines, resources and tools to help doctoral students succeed in their research and prepare them for a successful career in their chosen field. The skills include:

  1. Research skills
  2. Ethics and social understanding skills
  3. Personal effectiveness transferable skills
  4. Team-working and leadership skills
  5. Communication skills
  6. Entrepreneurship and innovation skills

Postgraduate Skills Development Opportunities

There is a broad range of development opportunities offered to research students across College and you can familiarise yourself with the upcoming training opportunities by vising the pages listed below:

Professional Development Planning

In preparation for their annual review, students are encouraged to self-reflect and complete a skills audit (using Careers and Employability Skills Audit Tool or PMRP Skills Audit) to identify research and professional goals for achieving before the next annual review meeting.

At the review and confirmation meetings students will be asked by their Thesis Committee to detail the progress in developing their research and professional development goals as identified in their Professional Development Plan (using Careers and Employability Reflective PDF or PMRP Personal Development Plan templates).


If you have any questions please contact the Administrative Officer in Graduate Studies or check for answers on our FAQ page.