The Training Programme

Our training progresses through four phases, developing from core skills to the specialised skills needed for individual student projects, while encouraging students to develop the broad scientific awareness and interdisciplinary skills needed to foster a multi-disciplinary approach to research problems.


In the foundation phase students undertake core training in quantitative, communication and computational skills, and gain an understanding of the challenges being addressed within the partnership, and the tools, technologies and expertise available to them. We encourage students to develop an ethos of lifelong learning and personal development, and in subsequent phases students continue to develop their skills and understanding through both project-specific knowledge acquisition and a structured training programme.


In the exploration phase students undertake two 12 week rotation projects and are encouraged to practise and develop interdisciplinary skills. They continue to develop these skills throughout their studies through participation in optional advanced courses and practice-led training groups (PTGs). PTGs provide focused, problem-, project-and practice-led training for small groups of students in order to support the development of high level skills. Cohort-based, interdisciplinary training and the opportunity to explore two projects in the first year supports students to become confident, flexible researchers who can tackle new challenges and develop and adopt new technologies.


At the heart of our training programme is the research phase in which students undertake a three year substantive doctoral research project. This plays a central role in developing their knowledge and understanding of their specific subject area and of the skills needed to work within it. Students are encouraged to develop a deep understanding and awareness of the wider context of their research and to engage with the wider community, both through the DTP’s professional skills, public engagement and enterprise training programmes, and through the 12 week internship they undertake between the end of the exploration phase and the completion of their degree. Our training model allows for flexibility in the timing of the internship to enable students to make best use of the opportunity it provides to develop their skills, career and interests.


In their final year students are supported in completing the requirements for their degree and in securing further employment. The main form of assessment for a DTP DPhil/PhD is a written thesis describing the research students have undertaken and demonstrating their knowledge of their field of work. This is formally assessed in a viva. Students are provided with specific training relating to preparation of their thesis and for the viva. They are also able to access training and advice via the DTP and Oxford University Careers Service in CV writing, job application and interview skills to assist them in applying for jobs. Students with interests in enterprise and entrepreneurship will be able to access a wide range of support and advice in taking their ideas forward. Students are encouraged to remain active members of the DTP alumni network and to maintain contact with the DTP and their fellow students as they continue in their careers.

 Phase 1:
Phase 2:
Phase 3:
Phase 4:
Researcher development aimsNumerate researchers able to work and communicate across disciplinesInterdisciplinary researchers with self-awareness and high level skillsFocused, engaged researchers aware of the broader context of researchIndependent researchers able to work in multiple fields
Months 1-3Months 4-12Months 13-42Months 43-48
Core SkillsQuantitative, statistical & computational skills
Data management
Scientific method
Project-led skills
Thesis & viva preparation
Strategic skills trainingFoundations in research technologies & systems approachesAdvanced training in interdisciplinary research skillsPractice-led training
Specialist training
Study groups
ResearchAwareness of the Grand Challenges in bioscience researchRotation projects Developing inter-disciplinary skillsDoctoral research Consolidating inter-disciplinary skillsFinish research Write and submit thesis
Communicating & collaboratingReading, writing & communicating
Team-based training
Project presentations
Narrative skills
Scientific writing
Teaching skills
Presentation skills
4th year conference
Career planning & developmentIntroduction to career planning & internshipsProject management
Training plan
Networking skills
Internship (12 weeks, timing flexible)
CV review
Interview skills
Engaging with industry, policy & societyIntroduction to public engagement, impact & technology transferEthics & the NC3RsPolicy workshop
Engagement & Enterprise
Impacts on industry, policy and society