In an era when universities are now charging record fees and research staff are expected to demonstrate ‘impact’, it has never been so important for researchers to be effective communicators.
GradTrain workshops enable Graduate Schools to fulfil their Researcher Development Programme by providing fun, pertinent and interactive workshops all led by an experienced academic. We inspire researchers to think differently, imaginatively and ambitiously about their work and its relevance in contemporary society.
GradTrain is committed to ensuring that the next generation of academics and PGRs can compete with the best in the world.


Presentation skills for PGRs


PGRs can make as much of an impact from what they say as what they write whether it be through teaching, conferences or job presentations. Public speaking is therefore a crucial skill for PGRs and early career academics. Working with a skilled actor and an academic, this workshop will take participants through the process of how to write and deliver a speech. In the first session you will cover how to structure a speech, the use of appropriate language and imagery, audio-visual aids and how to master the Q&A. In the second session, we will focus on your performance. Drawing on acting techniques, participants will discover how to improve their diction, resonance, range and articulation as well as relaxation and breathing techniques to calm nerves. This workshop is designed for all disciplines and those at the beginning stages of their PhD to early career academics.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats)

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Public Speaking for Non-Native speakers

This one-day course is specifically designed for those researchers for whom English is not their first language and who desire greater confidence in their public speaking. Co-run by an academic and a professional actor, the course is divided into two sessions: firstly, we will look at the differences between written and spoken English, formal and informal styles, use of humour and illustration as well as how to construct a presentation. In the second session, we focus on performance: how to control nerves, release tension and improve diction, rhythm, articulation and pronunciation. It is not about ‘anglicising’ your accent, but personalising your style and delivery. We can also cater this class for those of particular language groups with bilingual instructors in French, German, Portuguese and Mandarin.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats)

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Mastering ‘The Crit’

For art, design and architectural students, even a passing mention of the ‘crit’ can send them into a blind panic, yet it remains a crucial part of the design and artistic process. This one-day course is specifically designed for art and design students who wish to enhance their ‘crit’ abilities. Co-run by an academic and a professional actor, students will be taken through how to prepare their design projects; how to make their internalised creative thinking ‘public’ to students, tutors and professionals, the best methods (visuals, ‘walk through’, etc.), the difference in preparation between the ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ crit, how to fit their presentation around the particular ethos and ‘crit culture’ of their institution and finally, how to answer questions on content. Participants will also work with an actor to hone their performance; they will learn how to control nerves, release tension in the body, strength the voice and improve articulation, pronunciation, diction. A mock ‘crit’ is performed at the end of the day with questions and queries from the audience. All participants receive individual feedback, a video recording of their presentation and a resources pack.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats)

Broadcasting your Research

Are you looking to increase your media profile? Do you stumble and fumble when in front of a camera? Are you protective about your research wary of handing over all your hard work to some enquiring TV researcher? This one-day media training course is designed for academics of all disciplines who are interested in engaging with broadcast media at all levels.

The contrasting worlds of academia  (slow moving and nuanced)  and the media (fast-paced, generalised) do not often sit comfortably, this seek to bridge that gap, helping PGRS understand how they can make an impact while maintaining the integrity of their research. We are unique in that our trainers have experience of both worlds: our media training is led by an award winning ex-Sky News producer who is currently undertaking a PhD and an established academic who has contributed to documentaries on BBC News and Radio 4 and is a regular commentator on Sky News.  

Our one-day intensive interactive workshop begins with a breakdown of how PGRs can pitch work, connect research with news stories, how a TV/radio recording studio works, advice on clothes, voice, camera and microphone techniques as well as pay expectations and how to build long-lasting relationships. Each participant is given two-takes at short TV interviews and all take part in a mock radio roundtable discussion programme. Participants will be talked through the necessary language necessary for TV and radio – short sentences, ‘intimate’ voice and how to use examples and narrative. All individuals receive a copy of their video interviews and feedback as well as a course pack “Media training for Academics”.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats but is restricted to 12 participants)

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Dr Entrepreneur!

All academics are engaged in original research, but have you thought about turning it into a business? This one-day workshop run by an entrepreneur and an academic is designed to help researchers transform an idea into a profit-making enterprise. We will cover how to pitch to investors, possible streams of government funding as well as advice on how to put together a three-year business plan as well as access to a network of mentors. All participants will be expected to prepare a pitch and deliver it in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ scenario.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats)



The Art of Networking and Social Media

This half-day course guides academics and researchers through the tricky process of networking both on-line and face-to-face. We cover conference etiquette (home and abroad), how to approach investors and people in the media as well as how to make the most of those university business cards. We also look at how to enhance a researcher’s ‘net-rep’ and social networking skills through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and blogging.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats)

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Teaching for PGRs

This one-day course is designed for those PGRs and early career researchers who wish to pursue an academic career.  We will look at course construction (both BA and MA level), lecturing style, e-learning, seminar and tutoring technique as well as ethical practice and coping with academic bureaucracy. The second half we will focus on job applications and how to pitch your research and courses to a potential employer. Delivered by an academic, this course will equip participants with the right tools so that they feel confident in the lecture hall.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats)

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Stop the Press! Journalism for PGRs

This course is designed introduce researchers to the world of journalism both print and on-line formats. Participants will be led through how to pitch a piece, build up contacts, approach journalists and generate news interest around their research. Participants will be familiarised with what to expect in terms of pay, editing and communication particularly in respect to giving interviews with journalists. As much emphasis will be put on on-line media platforms (such as The Conversation) and medium size publications (trade and local press), as well as traditional broadsheet national and international press.  Researchers will also receive guidance on how to adapt their academic style for publication. Students will be asked to prepare a 200 word imaginary article pitch for a publication of their choice, on which individual feedback will be given. Each participant will generate a media strategy for their research project. All participants receive a resources pack on completing the course.

(This course is available in 2hr, 1/2 day and 1 day formats but is restricted to 12 participants)


If you would like tailored individual training on any of the above courses, please contact us.