The Faculty of Biological Sciences provides a broad programme of skills training and professional development for postgraduate students and postdoctoral staff. During your time at Leeds we aim to help you further both your research and transferable skills; provision is designed to reflect the demands you will face during your current project and the wider sphere of research careers.

As an early career researcher in the Faculty of Biological Sciences you will work on your research project and be encouraged to take up the opportunities to develop skills in other areas. We have a very strong professional development programme specifically designed for you. The programme is designed to develop

  • essential research skills
  • networking skills
  • creative thinking
  • commercial awareness
  • innovation
  • employment in different sectors

A key research council recently described our programme as ‘extremely impressive.’ We know that you need to develop a whole range of skills to be successful in research, but we are also mindful of what you might like to pursue after you have completed your PhD.

We have worked closely with past students and academics to understand what will really help you to progress. Some elements are compulsory, others are available for you to choose from. All workshops are relevant to people carrying out research in Biological Sciences.

We run a series of workshops to support our students. Some examples are below:

Getting your paper written and published

A leading research professor helps participants to understand how to successfully write a paper for publication. You will have ideas about how to structure, self-edit and submit your paper for publication.

Networking at conferences

During your time as a PhD student, you will be expected to attend a conference. This workshop will help you make the most of an important event like this for example presenting your work, meeting and influencing people who might help in a future career.

Creative thinking for Problem Solving

There is always a point during a PhD when people need a little help to move forward. This session gives you some tools to assist this process and help you succeed.

Consultancy workshop

Some people consider the idea of using their skills to become a consultant when they graduate. We invite people from organisations to present a problem that they are dealing with. Participants work on these issues and present them back to the client in a real scenario.

Working in Industry

A pharmaceutical industry representative comes to run a real scenario which allows participants to get a feel for what it is like to work in industry. Participants have to make decisions based on issues that arise in a large pharma and see how research is carried out in an industrial setting.

Transfer Viva

As part of your PhD, you will be required to pass a transfer viva to allow you to upgrade. Two senior progression tutors will help guide you through what to expect and how to prepare for this process.

Protecting your ideas

An ex-PhD student, who is now a senior partner in patent law in a leading law firm comes back to talk about the different options for protecting intellectual property in Biological Sciences.

Asking questions in Biology

The question "what is scientific knowledge?" is an important one, and one that wraps up many big issues that increasingly are becoming germane to following a scientific career. This workshop acts as a discussion forum to try and help early career researchers orient themselves to some of the nuances of scientific knowledge in our current social and political environment.

Careers Days

We run a number of talks, covering careers in academia, law, industry, NHS and publishing to name a few. We also run workshops on CVs, application forms and preparing for interview.

Specialist courses

Statistics courses, handling digital images, Word for thesis writing, advanced Excel, mass spectrometry.

Pathway to Impact

Impact is a key part of a researcher’s career development. This workshop helps researchers take their work forward into society - to make an impact.

Every year we hold a Postgraduate Symposium, which allows PhD students from the Faculty of Biological Sciences to experience a scientific conference and to showcase their research. The University of Leeds is one of very few establishments in the country to offer this cross-disciplinary event, which is a great opportunity to network and meet colleagues in different research areas.

The entire faculty is invited to the symposium, where second years present posters showcasing their research across the wide spectrum of disciplines within the Faculty of Biological Sciences. Final years are invited to deliver a presentation which, along with the poster sessions, is formally assessed with the opportunity to win a prize at the end of the event.

The symposium is an invaluable learning experience which is structured to mirror a real scientific conference. Students and academic staff exchange feedback and offer advice, whilst learning about how best to present their findings and research.

Annual Digital Photography Competition

In addition to showcasing students’ work, there is a digital image competition for both staff and students. The images are judged by an official, as well as a people’s vote and this year’s competition was won by Timothy Munsey (Ghost crab) and James Dachtler (Neuronal connections in the mouse brain).