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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 via RDLog, since October 2017 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

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 the Research Skills Programme:

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 throughoput the academic year at various times and on verious days thorughout all three terms. The sessions are optional for post-docs and RAs.

CPGS students will need to complete all the 5 core units (CU) as well as pick up a minimum of seven optional units (OU) and submit their record log booklet with their first-year report.

CPGS students who passed the M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science do not have to take the five core units. 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

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 30 June (or closest Friday) regardless of the date of commencement.

Wednesday seminars

All research students and all M.Phil students are expected to attend the Wednesday Seminars given throughout Michaelmas Term. A section in your Research Skills logbook is dedicated to your record of the seminars, and those things you would like to investigates further.

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 Graduate 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:

health and safety; risk assessment induction first aid
literature searching and library skills being assertive managing your supervisor
research and project planning and management research ethics IT skills
Postgraduate Students Forum Women@CL Staff Student Consultative Forum
CUSU Graduate Union College committees and sports clubs
Supervising/demonstrating/ticking presentations within or outside Cambridge preparation of posters, reports, papers etc.
Open Day participation outreach STIMULUS
Happy Hour team helping organise conference 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). Those students who took examinations in a language in 2019-20 may choose to continue their training (RSP code OU30) at a more advanced level:

  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Chinese

We will endeavour to open the programme to other research students in 2021-22. 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.

Even if you have done nothing during the year, please return the form and booklet to the Postgraduate 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.