Computer Laboratory

Researcher Development

Transferable skills are more generic than those associated with your specific research topic. The Computer Laboratory trusts that students will develop their existing skills and will pick up new ones not only in their first year but throughout their studies and beyond. To this end, the Researcher Development Team in conjunction with the Advanced Taught Courses Management Committee have launched a new Research Skills Programme for 2015-2016.

The Research Skills Programme (RSP) is a mandatory element for the M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science and for the Certificate of Postgraduate Studies in Computer Science. It is optional but strongly recommended for research students for their second and third years, and may be of interest to post-docs and research assistants as well. A full record of RSP units will be useful for you in maintaining an accurate CV. It is also helpful that when the department makes bids to the University for funds for Researcher Development, it can demonstrate a good take-up of initiatives the Researcher Development Team and the Graduate Students Forum suggest. Most importantly, Research Skills forms part of the CPGS examination process under Regulations, and successful completion of the first-year RSP is required for continuation to registration for the PhD Degree.

There are two parts to keeping your record:

  • Research Skills Programme and Researcher Development Record Log book to record attendance and completion of units within the department's Research Skills Programme
  • Research Skills tally sheet for other activities such as committees, forums, undergraduate supervisions

Research Skills Programme and Researcher Development Record Log book

With effect from Michaelmas 2015, all research students, research assistants and post-docs, will be issued with a Research Skills Programme and Researcher Development Record Log book. All research students who are registered for the PhD will be expected to pick up units from:

There is no maximum to the number of RSP units students may take but we do expect all registered students to attend a minimum of eight sessions which run throughout the academic year on Monday and Thursday afternoons from 14:00. The sessions are optional for post-docs and RAs.

CPGS students will need to complete all the core units (CU) as well as pick up a minimum of eight optional units (OU) and submit their record log booklet with their first-year report.

CPGS students who completed the M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science do not have to take the core units but should pick up a minimum of twelve units from the optional units offered and/or a selection of taught and assessed courses such as MPhil modules or foreign languages.

Submitting the Record Log book

CPGS students submit their Record Log with their first-year report and thesis proposal on 30 June (or corresponding date for other admission dates). The Record Log will be considered when making recommendations to the Degree Committee to register a student for the PhD Degree.

All other registered research students (year 2, 3, and 4) submit the Record Log Book on 31 July (or closest Friday) regardless of the date of commencement.

The tally sheet

Every research student is also issued annually with a Researcher Development tally sheet of his or her activities outside their research work or the RSP. The tally sheet records hours of activities such as taught courses/projects supervised, demonstrating, courses offered by the CPPD, committees, making posters and schools' outreach. These are kept by the department and are important when considering students' applications for additional funding.

Examples of researcher development skills which could be included on the tally sheet are:

health and safety; risk assessment induction first aid
literature searching and library skills intellectual property managing your supervisor
research and project planning and management research ethics IT skills
Graduate Students Forum Women@CL Staff Student Consultative Forum
CUSU Graduate Union College committees and sports clubs
Supervising/demonstrating presentations within or outside Cambridge preparation of posters, reports, papers etc.
Open Day participation outreach STIMULUS
Happy Hour team Helping at a conference or workshop GRADschool

The above list is certainly not exhaustive - if in doubt, it is better to include an item than to omit it.

Other short courses are listed on the Cambridge University Skills Portal and the CPPD Graduate Development Programme.

The Computer Laboratory also supports students wishing to take up foreign languages and has arranged that research students may join courses run by the Department of Engineering Language Unit. Students may choose to take classes (RSP code OU30) in the following languages at beginners, intermediate or advanced levels:

  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Chinese

Further details may be found at the Language Unit web pages. Language courses offered by the University's Language Centre (Italian, for example) may also be supported on a case-by-case basis.

The Computer Laboratory supports first-year research students who wish to attend the MSR Summer School.

Even if you have done nothing during the year, please return the form and booklet to the Graduate Education Manager, but given the very wide range of activities that can count as a researcher skill we are sure you will be able to log something.

No information which identifies an individual will be supplied outside the University.