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PhD students residential training at Cumberland Lodge

89% of attendees from 2016 would definitely recommend the event and average rating of the training is 4 out of 5! (2017 cohort)

Each year the department sends new first year PhD students and MRes students, including many from the department's CDTs in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems (with Cambridge) and Material Characterisation (with Imperial College London) for a 2 day residential training session at Cumberland Lodge, a beautiful, historic conference centre in the heart of the Great Park, Windsor.

Feedback from the students is that this is an overwhelmingly positive experience at the start of their research studies. Students really welcome the opportunity to meet the other students in their cohort and they found a session on Improving presentation skills by using techniques from theatre to be outstanding. Students also enjoyed unwinding by exploring the Great Park and socialising in the bar during the evening. Other highlights of the programme included a discussion about research ethics.

Some selected comments from the feedback surveys of the last two years:

"I also very much enjoyed the ethics/moral maze, as they really achieved their goal of getting us to seriously think about integrity in research”

“I think it is a great way to get to know the other PhDs as well as improve on skills that will be required throughout our careers”

“All in all, I felt the workshops were brilliant with the highlight being the presentation workshop. Besides this, the social aspect of the trip I feel is what I gained most from the weekend. We were given the chance to get to know each other in a less formal setting and meet students from other disciplines.”

"Very useful to meet new friends and build a good professional network. Really useful courses and well organised."

"Thoroughly enjoyed it - every aspect!"

"The ethics session was brilliant. Thought provoking and indeed raised a lot of questions about how I would act in those difficult situations. I think the fact that we are still having such discussions and being reminded of its importance is valuable indeed."

"This cohort will be together for the next four years, helping each other out, so it was great to meet people and have the free time in the evenings and the afternoon to chat casually and get to know one another. The rest of the sessions were great, Engaging, well presented, and pitched at the right level for us. Simply fabulous...It was a fantastic event, and I would recommend it in a heart beat."

This really was a great opportunity for students to meet their peers and some of the department's staff, and to pick up some invaluable information and advice and looks set to be run again next year!