Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Supporting cohort proposals

Advice for those writing proposals for cohort training grants and details of how we support doctoral training partnership, centres and networks.

Doctoral training through cohorts has become an important source of studentship income from major research funders. The UK and European Research Councils are driving the move to train doctoral researchers collaboratively with UK and international partners, both academic and commercial. Charity and trust funders including Wellcome and Leverhulme are also engaged and at the University of Edinburgh we have a good track record of attracting this funding of this nature.

The IAD is part of a wider support network designed to help you conceive and develop stronger proposals and to deliver excellent training to researchers.

Preparing a proposal

We will work with you from the earliest stages of proposal development to identify the right strategies:

  • for building a strong cohort of researchers
  • for managing complex networks
  • to develop innovative, collaborative researchers

We will help you to present a coherent and inventive training strategy which demonstrates how researchers will be equipped to meet the demands of cohort-based research and will graduate from their networks with enhanced employability and a collaborative approach.

Individual funders will also have particular stipulations for additional training and development. We can help you decide how best to provide these - by building on existing good practice or developing something new. These additional opportunities will include some of the following:

  • Advanced training in research methods and topics
  • Interdisciplinary research training
  • Secondments to non-academic partners
  • Work placements unrelated to doctoral research
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Membership of a strong cohort of research peers and leaders
  • Robust career plans, developed with academic supervisors
  • Student-led research training and collaborations
  • Best practice in the development of generic and professional skills development, often with a focus on public engagement and enterprise skills.

Support after funding has been secured

Once funded, we can help you to deliver the training to your researchers either directly or using our network of experienced facilitators and trainers. We can also help you to design an evaluation strategy that will help you to demonstrate to the funder the impact of the training.

To learn more about our approach contact:

Research staff and principal investigator (PI) support

Contact details

Guidance and resources

We have the following guidance available to help you.

  • Career Development Planning – a guide for supervisors working with ESRs (Early Stage Researchers)
  • Developing a Transferable Skills Strategy – an overview of our process for collaborating with you to develop a stronger proposal
  • Tailored Training for an ITN – descriptions of the courses that we have designed to meet the training needs of researchers on Innovative Training Networks

The guidance is available on our wiki - EASE log-in required.