Graduate Studies in Chemistry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

The Department, the MPLS Division, and the wider University offer skills training courses to support research students' development.  Gaining both research skills and transferable skills is important for one's future career (as well as for the research project itself). The UK Research Councils expect students to develop all the higher-level skills of the Vitae Researcher Development Statement.

This page is an up-to-date list of most of the skills training opportunities that may be of interest to Chemistry graduate students. Most courses are available for students to take during any year of their course. Some are part of the Graduate induction in year 1, while others are only offered (or recommended) for students in a particular year of study as shown below.

All students are expected to take part in skills training and keep an accurate record of the training they have done. This record will be assessed as part of the Transfer of Status and Confirmation of Status processes.

To help students decide which training courses to undertake, the Department and the MPLS Division recommends that students and their supervisors perform a Training Needs Analysis when starting their research project.

 

Skills Training Opportunities
 

 

Year 1

Year 2

Years 3+

Research Skills

Safety training
Library induction
IT courses
Research data management
Research integrity

   

Graduate lecture courses

Research facilities training:
- NMR training
- Mass spectrometry
- X-ray crystallography
- ESR spectroscopy
- Chemistry workshops

Advanced Data Analysis

Computational Chemistry Kitchen

Research Seminars

   

Transferable Skills

Internships

Careers training
Internships

Careers training
Entrepreneurship lectures

Sustainable energy
Postdoctoral Fellowships
Research Facilitation
Internships

MPLS researcher training courses

Teaching opportunities and training
Demonstrating opportunities and training
Outreach opportunities and training

Language training courses

 

 

A to Z of Training Opportunities

 

Careers training

The University Careers Service offers both resources and training opportunities to help students find employment and develop employability skills.

Many of the MPLS researcher training courses also focus on careers and employability.

 

Computational Chemistry Kitchen

Comp Chem Kitchen is a regular get together for people using and developing computational methods to tackle problems in chemistry, biochemistry and drug discovery. We will focus on cheminformatics, computational chemistry, and molecular modelling, but will also include to neighboring areas in materials and bioinformatics.

We’re keen to encourage people involved with coding and methods development. Our hope is that we will share best practices, even code snippets and software tools, and avoid re-inventing wheels.

More details on the CCK website.

 

Data analysis

Dr. D. S. Sivia gives an eight-lecture course on Data analysis, based on his book Data Analysis: a Bayesian tutorial. The lectures take place at 11am on Fridays of Michaelmas Term, in the ICL lecture theatre. 

The course synopsis is available here.

 

Demonstrating opportunities and training

Many graduate students work as demonstrators in the undergraduate Teaching Laboratories. The Department will be introducing a new undergraduate practical course for the 2018-19 academic year, and opportunities for demonstrating will be advertised nearer the time.

 

Chemistry workshops

The ICL Electronics workshop and all the PTCL workshops run an Open Day as part of the Graduate Induction (Tuesday 3rd October, 2pm-4pm). All students are welcome to attend, to see what facilities are available and the kinds of work that can be carried out.

 

Entrepreneurship Lectures

MPLS this year will be running a course on Scientific Entrepreneurship, given by a former post-doc in the Department. The course is an introduction to start-up companies, spin-outs, and how to commercialise research. See the course webpage here.

 

ESR spectroscopy training

An ESR induction session is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Thursday 5th October, 3.40pm, ICL Lecture theatre). It will explain how the instruments can be accessed and the training that is required to use them. There will be an opportunity to sign-up for introductory training sessions.

The ESR facility has a website explaining what is available.

 

Graduate lecture courses

Students can attend lecture courses offered by the Chemistry department and other University departments. The whole list of available courses in the University is advertised on WebLearn and students are asked to sign up via WebLearn if they wish to attend a course.

Students are also welcome to attend undergraduate lectures in Chemistry. There are some more advanced-level courses that may be of particular interest:

Supplementary subjects in Chemical Crystallography, Aromatic and Heterocyclic Chemistry, and Quantum Chemistry
3rd-year option courses

 

Internships

The Research Facilitation team keeps an up-to-date list of internships and secondment opportunities that may be of interest to DPhil students.

 

IT courses

The University IT Services provide a large number of online and classroom-based training courses, including training in MS Office. You can sign up to their mailing list to receive details of upcoming courses.

A 12-hour MATLAB course is provided by the IT Learning Centre Team. Students and postgrads receive a 50% discount on the cost.

Videos of Nick Trefethen's course, Scientific Computing for DPhil Students, can be viewed here.

High-performance computing training is offered by the Advanced Research Computing service.

 

Language training

The University Language Centre provides assessed and non-assessed courses in 12 modern languages. These are very popular; registration for the year opens on Monday 2nd October at 9.00am.

The Language Centre also offers English for Academic Studies courses, to help non-native speakers improve their academic writing and communication. Again, early registration is advised.

 

Library induction

Library inductions are held near the beginning of Michaelmas Term as part of the Graduate Induction. Students are advised to attend.

 

Mass spectrometry training

A compulsory mass spectrometry induction session is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Thursday 5th October, 2.00pm, ICL Lecture theatre). It is essential that anyone wishing to make use of the MS facilities attend this induction session. Sign-up sheets will be available for walk-up MS training (held on 6th and 9th October).

The MS facility has a website explaining what is available, including an eight-lecture Graduate MS course.

 

MPLS researcher training

The MPLS Division offers a very wide and comprehensive set of transferable skills courses. It is necessary to book these via the MPLS website.

 

NMR training

A compulsory NMR induction session is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Thursday 5th October, 2.30pm, ICL Lecture theatre). It is essential that anyone wishing to make use of the NMR facilities attend this induction session. Sign-up sheets will be available for walk-up NMR training (held on 6th and 9th October).

The NMR facility has a website explaining what is available, including an eight-lecture Graduate NMR course.

 

Outreach opportunities and training

Graduate students wishing to take part in, and be trained in, the Department's outreach and public engagement should contact outreach@chem.ox.ac.uk.

 

Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Research Facilitation team keeps an up-to-date list of upcoming postdoctoral Fellowships that may be of interest to DPhil students.

 

Research Facilitation

The Department has a research facilitation team that, amongst other things, publicises Fellowships and opportunities for career development, advertises and advises on research funding sources, and helps researchers to produce successful grant applications.

They hold drop in sessions on Tuesdays, from 10-11am, in their office in the ICL.

 

Research data management

Funding bodies require researchers to preserve research data for future access, and to make research data easily accessible to others. The University has a Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records which applies to all researchers. The researchdata.ox.ac.uk site explains what research data is, and how to comply with the University policy.

An online training course is available here.

 

Research integrity

Researchers have an duty to conduct their research honestly, carefully, and transparently.  Failure to adhere to these standards is known as scientific misconduct, which is a serious offence that may lead to disciplinary action.

The Graduate Induction day includes a session on Responsible Conduct of Research

The University has produced a research integrity checklist to help students and supervisors to comply with the University's policy on Academic Integrity.

All research students are advised to read the Research Integrity leaflet and must complete the online Research Integrity training course available on WebLearn, to ensure that they know what is expected of them as researchers.

Students may also wish to read On Being a Scientist, a short and freely-available book that introduces the ideas of responsible research.

Plagiarism is a particular example of scientific misconduct, which anyone writing scientific papers needs to be aware of. An online course explaining what plagiarism is, and how to avoid it, is available here.

 

Research seminars

 

Research seminars form an important part of your training, to ensure that you have a wide and general understanding of chemical research. Each Section has a regular seminar series, and you must attend at least your own Section's series.

Chemical Biology Seminars
Inorganic Chemistry Seminars
Organic Chemistry Seminars
Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Seminars

Other regular seminar series include the Soft Matter, Biomaterials and Interfaces Seminar Series and the Theoretical Chemistry Group Seminars. A longer list of seminars of potential interest to students in Chemistry is available here.

 

Safety training

All students must take part in safety training before starting work in the Department. In addition to this general training, some students will be required to undertake compulsory lectures run by the University Safety Office due to the nature of their research. Please check with your Supervisor if you need this training. Details of induction sessions are listed in the Scientific induction sessions document.

Detailed safety information is available on the intranet at safety.chem.ox.ac.uk

Sustainable energy

How can we fund Sustainable Energy? 19-22nd March 2018

Technological innovations alone will not deliver a sustainable energy future: the financing and politics of energy change creates significant obstacles and opportunities that must also be understood and addressed. This four-day programme has been designed to enable technical students with limited knowledge of economics and financial markets to understand the players and the drivers behind markets and other funding models for energy, carbon risk and disclosure in the developed and developing worlds.

Engaging directly with world-leading energy economists, UK policy makers, corporations, and energy finance and strategy-focused NGOs, students will leave this course equipped with a detailed understanding of the finance and politics of sustainable energy to complement their work in the development of new energy infrastructure and innovation.

This course is intended for students who are:

• interested in developing a deeper understanding how economics and politics are applied to technical innovations
• looking for engagement with leading academics and professionals working on sustainable energy future
• wanting an interactive learning experience to meet and network in an environment of interdisciplinary energy experts and economists

The course will be delivered by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment; a leading interdisciplinary academic hub focused upon teaching, research, and engagement with enterprise on climate change and long-term environmental sustainability. It will be delivered in partnership with ERM, a global environmental, health, safety, risk, social consulting business with significant relationships in oil & gas, mining, power and manufacturing industries. Part of the programme will include a ‘war-game’ that explores company decision making under energy transition scenarios.

Sign up at: https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/course-signup/rest/course/4D004D101403

 

 

Teaching opportunities and training

There are a number of teaching opportunities available to graduate students, particularly in teaching classes for Mathematics for Chemistry, Physics for Chemists, and the Quantum Chemistry Supplementary Subject. These opportunities are advertised around the end of Trinity Term for the following academic year, and students who are selected to teach receive frequent training.

The Oxford Learning Institute runs an assessed Developing Learning and Teaching programme, leading ultimately to a qualification, which graduate students may attend.

 

X-ray crystallography training

A short introduction to the Department's single-crystal X-ray service is held as part of the Graduate Induction (Thursday 5th October, 3.20pm, ICL Lecture theatre). This is followed by two 2.5 hour intensive training sessions: see the Scientific induction sessions document for more information.

The Chemical crystallography service has a website explaining what is available.