The University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast have field skills at the heart of their academic offering – taking advantage of their unique geographical locations. A suite of bespoke interdisciplinary and QUADRAT research theme-specific field courses are integral to the QUADRAT training experience. These have been designed to broaden students’ skill base and build confidence outwith your direct discipline.

Between University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast there are over fifty systems-wide integrated skills training courses available. The majority are delivered on-site but, where a student is located with a QUADRAT CASE partner, distance and blended learning approaches will be put in place.

QUADRAT delivers advanced skills training in experimental design, data measurement (field and lab), data management, and subsequently data analysis and visualisation through bespoke and residential annual advanced skills courses. These capitalise on both QUADRAT partner expertise in quantitative analysis and modelling and combined research infrastructures, field teaching facilities and ongoing research projects to provide hands-on, intensive training.

Each QUADRAT student has access to placements, internships or other relevant work experience, ranging from one to three months duration. These are based at a non-HEI partner and may be governmental or regulatory, research or commercial.

The internships give the opportunity for our students to develop a well-rounded skillset, gain valuable work-based experience and allow the application of the broad skills acquired and developed during their QUADRAT studentship. It also helps students to understand their research in a wider context, and consider new career ideas.

Both the University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast have an active science outreach programme operating at all levels and are engaged in local, national and international science dissemination events. QUADRAT students benefit from a range of platforms and support available on engaging the public with their research.

The Graduate School at Queen’s University Belfast is a Chartered Management Institute accrediting centre. This allows QUADRAT research students to complete a level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership which helps give the authority and skills to translate research, external drivers and organisational strategy into transformative change.

This high profile engagement and showcase event brings together students, supervisory staff and representatives from partners. It allows our students to consider the broader relevance of their work and added value that can be gained from considering the wider sociological, economic and political contexts of their research.

QUADRAT students belong to mentoring groups where members of older cohorts provide advice and support to new students. Students receive training to support peer-to-peer networking skills development.

This equips students with innovation and translation skills. A blended learning course delivers background on setting up a company, how to seek funding and what key skills are required, supplemented by coaching encompassing enhanced knowledge of intellectual property, company governance controls, budgeting and financial planning, and sales and marketing.

I-SEE (Individualised self-assessment to enhance employability) – a bespoke online resource developed to help identify individuals’ strengths and training needs – allows identification of areas for employability skills enhancement. Tailored feedback and signposting to self-study opportunities as well as mock interviews promote skills development.

The course allows students to gain a genuine employability advantage.

Opportunities to engage with sector, policy and business leaders, careers and employability support and skills development is also provided through the respective Graduate Schools.

Multidisciplinarity is central to QUADRAT and embedded within our research and training structures. QUADRAT partners have a proven track record of leading on high-profile multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary research.

This combined expertise and experience ensures the QUADRAT training programme provides opportunities for students to be trained by internationally recognised research leaders in ecology, evolutionary biology, ecophysiology, palaeoecology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, genetics, biogeochemistry, computer science, environmental change, land-use, modelling, immunology, geomorphology, hydrology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, mathematics, engineering, geochemical cycling, geobiology, GIS, remote sensing, geophysics, petrophysics, structural geology, landscape evolution, social sciences and modelling.

A major focus of the QUADRAT core and systems-wide integrated skills training are the cohort building and peer-to-peer activities that ensure students operate within a socially cohesive team that spans all sites, years and disciplines, and that our students have affiliation with the QUADRAT-DTP rather than just their individual institutes.

QUADRAT-DTP students also benefit from interaction with a diverse community of PhD students in both University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast, which includes the BBSRC EastBio DTP, NERC CDT in Oil and Gas, Leverhulme CDT in Sustainable Production of Chemicals and Materials, the Aurora Universities Network, and research pooling initiatives such as Marine Alliance of Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS), Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES), and Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA).

Existing long-term research projects in Assynt, Kielder, Fair Isle, Strangford Lough, Mendarte (Canada), Mull, Islay, Eynhallow and Rathlin Island may also provide opportunities for skills development and experience.