Vitae National Programmes

Every year Vitae runs a national programme of courses and events for doctoral researchers and research staff. These courses are open to all researchers and have previously been funded by the Research Councils as part of the Vitae programme.  

The Research Councils continue to fund Vitae, but the new contract, from January 2013, does not include central funding of places on GRADschools or other courses. 

Research organisations are expected to encourage and support researchers in developing their career options and that the provision of professional and transferable skills will form a fundamental part of doctoral training. Universities have flexibility in the use of research training grants and are expected to draw on these to cover the costs of providing professional development opportunities appropriate for the individual postgraduate researchers whose training is funded through that grant. In June RCUK unveiled its Statement of Expectations for Doctoral Training, which sets out common principles for the support of all Research Council-funded students. 


Vitae continue to provide a programme of high quality courses for postgraduate researchers and research staff and can advise on costs, which will vary with length and type of course. More information is available at There is also a range of resources developed by and for researchers, most of which are freely available through the Vitae website. 



PhD Potential: Peer-2-Peer Coaching Taster for Staff Supporting Researchers


A very snowy Birmingham played host to the SWW and Midlands Hub Peer2Peer Coaching Taster workshop last week. Participants from Exeter to Glasgow traveled to the Midlands to learn more about the programme which emerged from work by the Vitae coaching project group (established as an outcome from Vitae Connections2 event -November 2010). Jeff Gill and Will Medd, who have written the programme, were on hand to lead the participants through a series of taster activities and answer questions about the programme and how it has run at Lancaster University and at the University of Manchester.

*Objectives and outcomes of the Peer-2-Peer Coaching Skills Programme

The Peer-2-Peer Coaching Skills Programme has been designed to provide postgraduate researchers with core coaching skills and techniques to enable them to thrive in their doctorate while developing skills for the future. The emphasis of the programme is in enabling PGRs to use coaching skills in relationship with their peers as well as self-coaching.

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • apply coaching skills to support the performance and development of individual PGRs
  • train PGRs in peer coaching skills to enable better peer support
  • enable PGRs to self-coach in areas identified from the Vitae Researcher Development Framework

The key outcomes will be:

  • PGRs with core coaching skills that they can use to support their peers
  • PGRS with core self-coaching skills that they can apply to their PhDs performance and the development of their employability skills
  • PGRS with enhanced employability through the coaching skills learnt
  • PGRS able to maximise their learning from other training programmes

Who the programme is for?

The programme has been designed specifically for PGRs (though is adaptable to Contract Researchers). Any PGR who could improve some aspect of what they are doing or experiencing, or who wants to get more out of their work can benefit from the programme. PGRs could bring issues around wanting to improve specific skills sets (e.g. time management, presentations), improving particular areas of performance (e.g. writing, publishing), or around personal and professional development (e.g. leadership qualities, work-life balance).

*Extract from PhD Potential: Peer-2-peer coaching skills programme. Programme Leader and Facilitator Manual © 2012 The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited.

If you were unable to attend this taster session, but would like to know more about the PhD Potential: Peer2Peer Coaching resources please contact or for further information.