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Training and development

An image to illustrate research support with The Open University.

The Graduate School Network (GSN) is the portal for training materials and resources to support the training and development of research students. We will send you details of how to access the GSN when you register. You will be able to find events relative to you training and development needs on the Doctoral Online Research Information System (DORIS) you will also be send details of how to access DORIS when you register.

Research-skills training and development

The University provides general research-skills training, and development events designed to complement the subject-specific and project-related training provided by academic units and disciplines. These cover topics such as carrying out a literature review and preparing for your viva. 

Our research-career development programme combines training aimed at researchers early on in their careers, with targeted training for research students. In fact, the distinction between these groups is often blurred. Thus, our training provision is wide ranging and offers considerable benefit to the student experience.

Our researcher development programme is open to all full and part-time research students, and combines targeted training for those in the first half of their PhDs, with events aimed at later-stage PhD students and early-career researchers. Thus, our training provision is wide-ranging and adds considerable value to the student experience.

Our training aligns with the Vitae Researcher Development Framework. Details can be found on their website.

Additional support

You will normally join an established research group. This ensures that you will be placed within an appropriate, supportive environment from which to build and establish your identity as an independent researcher.

All research students have access to The Open University’s GSN. Through this website you will be able to access information and resources to help you during your Research Degree. The GSN contains a rich and growing library of research-skills development materials and resources and you will be able to access to face-to-face and online training sessions, workshops and seminars through DORIS.
The GSN also contains help and guidance relating to other university services available to students such as the OU Library, Careers Service and The Open University Students Association.
As an OU Research Student you will also have access to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework Planner Tool within DORIS to help you plan and keep a portfolio of your professional development.

Social media

The Graduate School has its own Facebook page The Open University - Graduate School. Please ‘like’ our page, enjoy our posts and get involved in our community by contributing and initiating discussions.

Induction and methods conference

There is an annual induction conference and reception in October, which is mandatory for new students. It gives you an opportunity to meet and get to know other new students and to meet the University’s research community. Each faculty also holds an induction into their own research community.

The October conference is followed by a methods conference in March, designed to contribute to the overall skills training you need to successfully complete your research degree. It provides another opportunity to extend your networks with other research students.

Careers advice

You can get advice on career development via the OU Careers Advisory Service.

The OU Library on the Walton Hall campus also has careers information, including books and other material for reference, for loan or to take away.

Research and Academic Strategy (RAS) manage student internships, both within the OU and in partnership with industry, and through the Knowledge Exchange Scheme. Both provide opportunities for research students to develop commercial skills and to contribute to The Open University’s relationships with industrial partners.

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, send us an email or call +44 (0)1908 654882.