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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 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
  • Research Skills tally sheet for other activities such as committees, forums, undergraduate supervisions

Research Skills Programme and Researcher Development Record Log book

Please note that the RD Log book currently only 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

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 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 a selection of taught and assessed courses such as MPhil modules, courses offered by the CPPD or foreign languages.

Submitting the Record 'Log' book

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. 

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 of his or her activities outside their research work and in addition to the RSP. The tally sheet records hours of activities such as supervisions, demonstrating, courses offered by the CPPD, committees, making posters, schools' outreach, and being the secretary to the Postgraduate Students' Forum. These are kept by the department and are important when considering students' applications for additional departmental funding.

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

Training and acting as a health and safety officer, performing risk assessments Helping with Part III/MPhil/CPGS induction Training and acting as a first aider
Being an active member of the Postgraduate Students Forum Being an active member of the Women@CL Being an active member of the Staff Student Consultative Forum (SSCoF)
Being an active member of the CUSU Being an active member of the Graduate Union Being an active member of the various College committees and sports clubs
Supervising/demonstrating/ticking Giving presentations within or outside of Cambridge Preparing posters, reports, papers etc.
Helping with the Postgraduate Open Day Getting involved with outreach Getting involved with STIMULUS
Helping to organise the departmental Happy Hour Helping to organise a conference Getting involved with 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 Postgraduate Development Programme.

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 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.

If you have completed no or less sessions 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 researcher skill, we are sure you will be able to log something.

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