Coventry accredited for PhD students’ training

Coventry University research centre becomes first to receive prestigious accreditation for the training it gives to science PhD students

The university’s Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences (SELS) has been awarded Royal Society of Biology accreditation for its doctoral training, making Coventry the only university in the country to hold this accolade.

The accreditation recognises the way SELS’s doctoral training centre gives extra support to its PhD students, who carry out research on topics including antibiotic resistance, obesity and ageing.

The training aims to improve these students’ transferable skills to help make them more employable once they have completed their PhD studies. It has helped improve students’ lab skills by running one-week summer and winter schools to develop their use of different scientific techniques, ranging from how to take blood to how to stain cells to look for particular proteins.

It also develops students’ team-working, time management, critical evaluation and data analysis skills as well as their understanding of ethics and health and safety.

These are increasingly competitive and demanding times in academia and industry and it’s very important for us to be really forward-thinking and innovative when it comes to preparing our research students for life after their PhD

The accreditation, which has to be renewed every three years, means SELS’s PhD students will receive fast-track membership to become a chartered biologist with the Royal Society of Biology.

The centre’s PhD programme is the only one in the world to offer this, and means graduates just have to complete one year in industry before they receive the chartered qualification, rather than the usual two years. SELS’s academic director Professor Derek Renshaw, worked with Dr Heather Sears, the university’s programme manager for doctoral training, on acquiring the accreditation.

Prof Renshaw said: “These are increasingly competitive and demanding times in academia and industry and it’s very important for us to be really forward-thinking and innovative when it comes to preparing our research students for life after their PhD. It’s about making sure they are adaptable, have the correct skills to enable them to excel in their chosen careers.”

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