Life as a postgraduate researcher

Two people talking at a PhD opportunities symposium.

Conferences attendance and presentation

During your PhD study you will be expected to present at the Faculty Postgraduate Symposium.

This is an annual event during which all postgraduate researchers in the Faculty come together to showcase their research through a selection of flash presentations, posters and talks which are assessed by a panel of postdoctoral researchers and academic staff.

There will also be a number of opportunities to present your research at conferences across the University with postgraduate researchers from other Faculties; such as the Doctoral College Showcase, Doctoral College Research Nights and Early Careers Researcher Symposia.

In addition to the University of Leeds conferences you will also attend external conferences.

It is expected that all of our postgraduate researchers will attend at least one conference abroad throughout their period of doctoral study and there is funding available to support this as attending conferences is identified as a key opportunity for development for our postgraduate researchers.


A number of opportunities will exist during your PhD study to gain teaching experience.

Many of our postgraduate researchers undertake demonstrating and invigilating duties during their PhD. These opportunities allow you to lead a small group of undergraduate or taught Masters students in lab practical sessions under the supervision of the module leader.

Training is provided to all of our PGR demonstrators. In addition, many of our postgraduate researchers will help to supervisor undergraduate final year research projects.

Training and development

There is a wide training programme available through the University Training unit, Organisational Development & Professional Learning, relating to a variety of different skills across personal effectiveness, research governance, engagement and knowledge.

Through your PhD programme you may also be required to attend ethical, statistical and unconscious bias training. 

Depending on your funding body you may also attend additional training as a cohort across institutions.

Seminars and guest speakers

There is a large seminar programme within the Faculty which runs across the Schools of Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biomedical Sciences.

You will be expected to attend at least 10 seminars a year; some of which may be relevant to your research project and some which may be of interest to you as a researcher widening your knowledge and skills.

Seminars are given by both academic staff within the University as well as guest speakers.

Many of our PGR students are involved in organising seminars and inviting guest speakers, as well as organising informal networking events.

Student representatives

Each year up to five postgraduate researchers within the Faculty volunteer as student representatives.

Our student reps serve the Faculty Graduate School Committee; discussing important issues relating to their study and providing feedback on behalf of their peers.

The student reps are also responsible for organising social and networking activities such as the fortnightly coffee morning, induction week quiz and social event for new students and end of term socials.