Researcher Development for Research Students and Post-Docs

This section provides information for research students and post-docs within DPMMS and DAMTP that relate specifically to Researcher Development. Both Departments strongly value personal and professional development, and actively seek to support individuals to develop skills beyond research alone. There are plenty of opportunities both within the Departments, Faculty, University and Colleges to develop existing skills or to cultivate new ones.

Queries about Researcher Development may be directed to researcherdevelopment@maths.cam.ac.uk

Many activities, both formal and informal, count as Researcher Development. Examples of activites can be found on the back page of the Researcher Development Log template (see below for details).


Researcher Development Log

All research students and post-docs within DPMMS and DAMTP are required to submit a personal researcher development log at the end of Easter term each year. RD logs should be submitted to the Graduate Office (C0.15). First year PhD students are required to submit this at the same time as their 3rd term registration report.

The Departments are required to keep a record of RD activities both for the University, the School and certain funding bodies. We need this information to make sure that individuals are developing their skills, to report back to those that fund the activities we run, and to help plan future activities. It is therefore vital that all students and post-docs submit their RD log on time, and provide a full and accurate account of the activities they have undertaken. It is recommended that students start the RD log at an early stage, and keep an evolving record of all activities undertaken. A typical student is expected to spend no less than 10 working days per year engaging in such activities.


Researcher Development Programme

A range of courses and workshops are held at CMS each year in liaison with the School of Physical Sciences and the Researcher Development Programme. Many of the sessions run at CMS may also be run at different locations across the University at different times. Information on courses and workshops both at CMS and at different locations is available via the central booking system.

Students are advised that places on these courses are in high demand. Early booking is essential.


Supervision Training

The Faculty, in liaison with the Researcher Development Programme, provides supervision training workshops each year for graduate students and those who have not supervised before. This training is mandatory for anyone wishing to undertake undergraduate supervision.

Several workshops are held at CMS specifically for members of DAMTP and DPMMS. Sessions are limited to 25 places. Early booking is advised.


Language Training

Students wishing to undertake language training can apply to the School Language Training Fund using an online application form. Prior to completing the form you must ascertain whether your College will fully or partially cover the cost of language training. In addition the form will ask you to provide details of your supervisor and department, the course you wish to take, the provider, and the reason you wish to avail of the training – whether it is to support a short-term study objective or long-term career goal.

Once submitted and approved, the School’s Researcher Developer will sanction the funding, and you will receive confirmation to say that you can book the course of your choosing. Evaluation is already built into the University’s language training, but the School will require feedback if external courses are used and details will be provided on how to do this.

You will be required to book and pay for the training upfront. You will be reimbursed by your Department. A claim for reimbursement should be submitted to the Graduate Office.


DAMTP coordinated activities

DAMTP coordinates a number of workshops and opportunities in liaison with others, such as the Millennium Maths Project (MMP). Events are open to all PhD students and post-docs within DPMMS and DAMTP. Details of upcoming events will be added to this website and circulated via email:

Applications Toolkit: Applying for Fellowships (Last held 21 May 2014)

Alumni in Industry and Research Laboratories (Next event will be on 21 June)

This event is aimed at giving current graduate students and post-docs a flavour of what type of careers they might pursue, other than academic careers. The event will comprise a series of talks from mathematics alumni, followed by panel discussion. The event is primarily aimed at PhDs and Post-docs, but Part III and MPhil students will be very welcome.

  • Event programme (To follow)

Mathematics and Science Writing (Next events 19 June 2018 and 28 June 2018)

There will be two transferable skills training workshops. They are designed to help you develop your ability to write clearly and engagingly about mathematics and science for non-specialist audiences. The writing skills this course focuses on developing are useful for public engagement, such as writing magazine and newspaper articles, and can also help you when wirting other types of material aimed at diverse audiences, such as funding applications. The workshops will be highly interactive, incorporating practical exercices, group discussion, and formative feedback and critique of writing produced.

  • Writing workshop - Tuesday 19 June 2018, 2pm - 4pm

This session will help you to identify the key ideas within your research that you wish to communicate, and then develop your understanding of how to use a mixture of conceptual approaches, examples and analogies to explain complex mathematical ideas to an audience with no specialist mathematical or scientific knowledge. The workshop is designed to be very practical, with the aim that you’ll come away with at least an opening and closing paragraph, and an outline for a piece of work. Participants are asked to prepare for the workshop by identifying an idea they would like to work on.

  • Editing workshop - Thursday 28 June 2018, 2pm - 4pm

    This session will aim to develop a finished piece of writing, focussing on editing and finessing a piece participants have already drafted (for those also attending the writing workshop, this can build on the piece you worked on in the writing workshop). The workshop will involve practical exercises that can be used to improve a piece of writing. The workshop will include time to work individually and in groups redrafting existing work. The aim is to come to the workshop with a draft, and leave the workshop with a finished piece of writing.

How to book:

Thanks to generous funding from the University of Cambridge Researcher Development Programme, postgraduate students and early career researchers have the opportunity to attend this short course free of charge.

Participants are welcome to book either a single workshop (you can book for either the first writing workshop or the second editing workshop as standalone training sessions) or to attend both the workshops as a full short course.

For full details, and to book places, please see

https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/researcher-development-mathematics-and-science-writing-course
(Raven login required)


DPMMS coordinated activities

DPMMS provides opportunities for students to take an active role in the life of CMS by enabling them to take on responsibility for the running of certain activities. Some of these activities are coordinated in conjunction with the Cambridge University Graduate Mathematics Society (CUGMS). Opportunities are open to all PhD students and post-docs within DPMMS and DAMTP. Details can be found on the CUGMS website:

Supervision Good Practice Workshop (Last held 22 January 2016)

A workshop on Supervision Good Practice for anyone who has supervised for at least one year. The workshop was focussed around supervising students with Asperger's Syndrome, but included many opportunities to discuss general good practice and different approaches to supervisions as well. We have found that thinking about what is good for people with Asperger's Syndrome or other disabilities can also be good for all students. And we can all learn from each other's experiences and approaches to supervisions and teaching.

Mental Health Awareness Course (Last held 3rd March 2016)

As doing a PhD can at times become very stressful and have some impact on emotional and mental health in you or others around you, a half day introductory mental health awareness course was available to all PhDs and Post-Docs.


Millennium Mathematics Project (MMP)

The Millennium Mathematics Project (MMP) is a maths education and outreach initiative for ages 3 to 19 and the general public. MMP offers a range of workshops and opportunities that are open to research students and post-docs. Event information will be circulated via email. More information about MMP can be found on their website:

MMP also work as part of STIMULUS, offering training and co-ordinating placements in local primary or secondary schools or sixth-form colleges for postgraduate students and early-career postdocs to act as voluntary classroom assistants helping with Maths, Science, Technology or ICT classes.


Public Engagement

The University's Public Engagement team offer a number of training courses aimed at research staff and students, such as:

Further information on public engagment training, volunteering and events is available from the University's website:


Smith-Knight and Rayleigh-Knight Prizes

Eligible students are encouraged to submit an essay for the Smith-Knight and Rayleigh-Knight contests.  Essays are not part of any formal assessment process, but offer an excellent opportunity to gain experience of writing up your work in a clear and coherent manner.


Other Resources