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GRADskills wins national award

Professor Alan Miller (left) and Dr Ruth Neiland accept their award from Dr Iain Cameron, Head of the RCUK Research Careers & Diversity Unit.

An innovative programme for researchers at the University of St Andrews has won a national award.

Described by judges of the Times Higher Awards 2007 as `vital and unusual’, GRADskills has been selected as the UK’s best generic skills development programme for university researchers in the early stages of their careers.

The University beat off stiff competition from other finalists in the `Outstanding support for early-careers researchers’ category, including the Universities of Edinburgh and Newcastle.

Professor Alan Miller, Vice Principal (Research), who heads up St Andrews’ GRADskills strategy, said, “We are delighted to have been given this national recognition just two years after the programme was launched.”

Funded by Research Councils UK, GRADskills aims to help PhD Students and Postdoctoral Fellows increase their employability by enhancing their personal, professional and career management skills. It runs workshops and courses throughout the year, culminating in an annual `Research Futures’ conference, this year attended by some 300 researchers.

GRADskills Director, Dr Ruth Neiland said, “Our success pays tribute to the efforts of many colleagues inside and outside of the University who have contributed their expertise to the delivery of our programme.”

One of the award judges, Dr Alison Hodge, director of QinetiQ University Partnerships, and Chair of CBI’s Inter-Company Academic Relations Group, said of the decision, “St Andrews aims to develop the skills of PhD students and research staff through an annual Research Futures conference, using a mix of speakers from a wide range of organisations. The distinctive feature was the extensive use of highly relevant and important external speakers. Exposure to such networks at this early career stage is vital and unusual.”

The award was announced at the annual dinner in London and is published in this week’s THES (out today).   As part of the award the University was also presented with a framed photograph of the late Sir Gareth Roberts, whose influential 2002 “Robert’s Report”, SET for Success, led to the establishment of enhanced training and development opportunities for early stage researchers across the UK’s universities.

Last year, the University was named top university for its `Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’, while this year’s shortlist included St Andrews under the `Best student experience’ category.

ENDS

For further information visit: www.st-andrews.ac.uk/GRADskills

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  THES Gradskills winner 061207
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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