Roberts training


'Roberts training' is now an integral part of doing a doctorate in the UK.
Do people find it useful?
Most/ least useful/njoyable courses you've been on?
Anyet peeves?
What sort of things count towards 'Roberts days' in your university apart from provided transferable skills training?
What are the most creative things people have done?
what would you like to see?



uhhm what? i havent heard of this ever....


Hi Tennie, do u mean the Gareth Robert's report? If so, I quickly read the text but actually I can't say what it implies and how it is put into prctice in academic life...


I think I know what you mean. My uni dept recently got Roberts funding for a series of training courses dealing with conflict management & self-assertiveness, developing teams, and communication and influencing. I found all three courses enjoyable and a great deal of fun. I learnt alot about myself, and about my research colleagues, as well as how people interact within a team, etc. I would like to see further training courses on networking.


I have no idea whether Roberts funding was used for them or not, but my uni has always provided training for transferrable skills for doctoral students anyway. We have never had 'Roberts days'. I was sent a recent call for ideas from my research dept for them to apply for Roberts funding, but myself and several colleagues were surprised at how limited and uninspired the range of suggestions outlined in the Roberts documentation were, hence a severe lack of enthusiasm and very poor response from both students and staff. It is difficult to imagine any 'creative ideas' being forthcoming within the narrow parameters provided.

So do you work for them in some capacity?


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TennieV is referring to what we all commonly know as 'transferable skills courses'. I'm also not sure that the courses I have attended are in fact funded via 'Roberts money'. Only students funded by Research Councils must attending 'Roberts training' (which I think its two weeks a year, and involves going on those GradSchool type courses) - so it's not necessarily an integral part of doing a doctorate in the UK.

Some of the courses I've been on are quite good - but most are very rudimentary and padded out with an awful lot of psychobabble. The general intention of the courses is to obtain transferable skills to make students more market to industry as well as general academic training (eg how to complete a PhD), but the courses are usually taught by academics who have carved-out a career in running these courses, and rarely do they have any industry experience.


Is this a survey, TennieV?


I suspect TennieV is the same Tennie V from Vitae, so may be sourcing opinions for Vitae? ;-)
I have to say, I've not heard of 'Roberts Training' but again, a range of courses/workshops have been provided by my Uni on a range of topics - some more useful than others. :-)



yes, Tennie from Vitae. It would be really useful for me to know what people doing doctorates actually thought about transferable skills training. People I've spoken to referred to the time they have spent doing this sort of training as 'Roberts days', which is why I used the term, but obviously it's not used the same at all universities.

Thanks to those who've already answered! keep comments coming; the good, the bad and the funny....


I just felt that general transferable skills had limited value if you want to pursue a research-orientated career in academia post-doc, as I want to. I know that cv writing skills etc are important, but after that, then what, if you want to stay in HE rather than transfer to another sector? I felt that specialist training such as how to write successful funding proposals for certain subject areas would be much more useful than generalist skills, particularly given the current economic and HE situation in the UK, but that didn't fit the Roberts remit, I was told.