In terms of developing skills and experience, further study is considered to be most beneficial. The scientific and research skills acquired whilst studying for a PhD are viewed as appropriate basic training for more senior research positions. However, increasingly PhD researchers are also expected to possess a whole range of additional non-technical skills.
Vitae runs courses for research staff on various areas including career management, how to be an effective researcher and leadership development. Advice on issues such as supervisor management, academic careers, writing up and CVs can also be found on their website.
Although supported by their employers, research scientists need to manage their own development to ensure they keep up to date with new techniques, skills and innovations. Research Councils UK and other relevant institutes offer support for continued professional development (CPD), running courses and events. It is also possible to acquire membership status of relevant institutes. For example, the Society of Biology offers members designatory letters (FIBiol, MIBiol) or awards chartered biologist status (CBiol).
Jobs in industry tend to be accompanied by structured training programmes that may include completing placements in different functions of the organisation, working with a mentor or buddy and drawing up personal development plans with line managers.
All researchers involved in laboratory work are required to participate in training on health and safety and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). This training may include risk assessment workshops and control of substances hazardous to health regulations (COSHH) training.
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