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Department of Computer Science and Technology


Researcher Development pertains to generic skills rather than those focused on your specific research topic. The department 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.

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 also mandatory for research students in their second and third years. It is optional but strongly recommended for research students in their fourth 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 and as the Postgraduate Education Office records all units attended and RDP courses on Inkpath, you will be able to download a log of courses you have attended. 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 Postgraduate 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
  • Researcher Development tally sheet for other activities such as committees, forums, Teaching Framework activities (CPGS and PhD students only)

Research Skills Programme and Researcher Development Record Log book

Please note that the RD Log 'book' exists in a virtual form. You will be able to log any completed sessions via the RSP Moodle page (link below). Here you will also find the most up-to-date list of RSP units available to pick up, including a link to the university's RD programme and the Wednesday seminars page.

Enrol for units via Moodle

Submitting the Record 'Log' book

There is no maximum to the number of RSP units students may take but we do expect all students registered for the PhD in years 2 and 3 to attend a minimum of eight sessions which run throughout the academic year at various times and on various days throughout all three terms. The sessions are optional for post-docs and RAs.

CPGS and MPhil students will need to complete CU0-CU5 core (CU) units as well as pick up a minimum of seven optional units (OU) and attend a minimum of 6 Wednesday seminars. At some point in your PhD studies, we would also like you to complete CU6: ‘Understanding Unconscious Bias’ and CU7: ‘Equality & Diversity Essentials’ units which are vital, for example, if you get involved with supervising undergraduate students. A log of what you have completed will be part of the first-year assessment and should be submitted together with your first-year report. The Record Log will be considered when making recommendations to the Degree Committee to register a student for the PhD Degree.

CPGS students who passed the M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science do not have to take the five core units. Instead, they should pick up a minimum of twelve units from the optional units offered, and/or audit taught master's level courses such as MPhil in ACS modules, or courses offered by the CPPD, or a foreign language.

All other registered research students (year 2, 3, and 4) submit the Record Log Book on 30 June (or closest Friday) regardless of the date of commencement. Both PhD and CPGS students will receive a timely reminder around the end of May to enter any completed sessions eligible for RD onto the RSP Moodle page. Once the deadline for doing this has passed, the Postgraduate Education Office will perform a bulk download. It is therefore important that you do not miss this deadline. 

Other short courses that may count towards the RSP optional units are listed on the Cambridge University Skills Portal and the CPPD Postgraduate Development Programme.

Foreign languages

The department also helps to support students wishing to take up foreign languages and has arranged that research students may join courses run by the Department of Engineering's Centre for Languages and Inter-Communication (CLIC). They offer training in the following languages:

  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Chinese

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

If you have completed no fewer sessions and activities during the year than expected, please email with the reasons for this. Though given the very wide range of activities that can count as a research skill, we are sure you will be able to log something.

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

Wednesday seminars

All research students and all M.Phil students are expected to attend the Wednesday Seminars given throughout Michaelmas, Lent and Easter Term. See the RSP Moodle page for a link to the Wednesday seminars’ page listing any past and upcoming talks and the link for logging any seminars you have completed.

The tally sheet

Every research student is also issued annually with a Researcher Development tally 'sheet' via Moodle of their activities outside their research work or research placements. Do not include the time taken in preparation of conference or workshop papers as this is part of your research. The activities recorded are in addition to the Research Skills Programme.

The tally sheet records hours of Teaching Framework activities such as supervisions, demonstrating and ticking, as well as the formal roles on committees and societies (for example, secretary, treasurer or chair), making posters for open days, outreach for schools, and being the secretary to the Postgraduate Students' Forum. The list is certainly not exhaustive. If in doubt, it is better to include an item than to omit it. These are kept by the department and are important when considering students' applications for additional departmental funding. With effect from August 2023, students and their supervisors will also receive a copy of the tally sheet.


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


Teaching Framework: Undergraduate or taught postgraduate Supervising/project supervision/demonstrating/ticking/devising and running an RSP unit Helping with Part III/MPhil/CPGS induction events Training and acting as a first aider
Being an active member of the Postgraduate Students Forum or the Staff Student Consultative Forum (SSCOF) Being an active member of the Women@CL Helping to organize a conference
Getting involved with Outreach - schools and Oxbridge Conferences Being an active member of the Graduate Union or CUSU Training and acting as a fire warden
Training and acting as a health and safety officer, performing risk assessments (RAs) Getting involved with STIMULUS Helping with the Postgraduate Open Day
Being an active member of the various College committees and sports clubs

Helping to organize the departmental social events

Preparing posters for Open Days