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Research Skills Development Course (RSD) - 35th edition

Curso de Desenvolvimento de Competências Académicas [Research Skills Development - RSD]


Course description

This is a residential course (four days/three nights).

The Research Skills Development (RSD) course is designed to cover the key transferable skills needed by early stage PhD researchers.

The course has been designed to be challenging, involving and memorable. There are several diverse elements which cover the varying aspects of the PhD experience. This course offers the opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary team, examine your impact on group dynamics, receive peer feedback on your performance (within a team) and get to know researchers from various departments and campuses. The students are encouraged to participate fully during the course and be prepared to be involved in both indoor and outdoor activities and to discuss their own experiences to date.

They will have an opportunity to provide feedback at the end of the three days as well as comments and suggestions regarding the course. 


Communication (individual and group presentation skills); 
Team working (group roles, team dynamics, impact upon others);
Creativity (techniques and application); 
Managing and understanding the PhD process (planning, problem-solving);
Interdisciplinary collaboration (communicating science in a broader context, negotiation, decision making).
Learning outcomes
The primary purpose of the course is to enhance both the personal and research effectiveness of participants.
The focus is on experiential learning achieved by a series of challenging group exercises.
It is also a chance to get away from your normal working environment, meet people from other disciplines and have fun!
By the end of the Curricular Unit the students will be able to demonstrate personal and research effectiveness skills.


Early stage PhD students at Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (preferential)


Please check the calendar for new editions. 



  1st day 2nd day 3rd day 4th day
8 am   Beginning of the 2nd day Beginning of the 3rd day Beginning of the 4th day

4.30 pm

4.45 pm

Bus from Campolide

Bus from Caparica


End of the course

Bus from Arrábida

7 pm Beginning of the course      
11 pm End of the 1st day End of the 2nd day End of the 3rd day  



2 ECTS (4 days and 3 nights)

Activities Number of Hours
Plenary sessions 8

Group Work (the different roles of the elements of the group, group dynamics);

Communication (individual and group communication skills, communication impact)

Creativity (techniques and exercises)

PhD process (planning and problem solving)

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Self-study (readings and exercises) 18
Network opportunities 6
Total 56

Note: The RSD course, bus transport, accomodation and meals are free of charge for PhD students of Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

Students are accommodated in double rooms.



Course Coordinator

Roberto Henriques (NOVA IMS)

Alexandra Dias Santos (External)
Elsa Caetano (NOVA Doctoral School)
Guilherme Victorino (NOVA IMS)
Joana Marques (NOVA Doctoral School)
João Cordeiro (ENSP)
Roberto Henriques (NOVA IMS)


A brief written report about the course focusing on three main take home messages you would like to point out and also explaining the reasons of your choice (1 page max.) 


Bridget Juniper, Elaine Walsh, Alan Richardson & Bernard Morley (2012) A new approach to evaluating the well-being of PhD research students, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 37:5, 563-576, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2011.555816
Elaine Walsh (2011) Publishing from your PhD: negotiating a crowded jungle, Studies in Higher Education, 36:8, 1003-1005, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2011.643072
Garrido, M. V., & M. P. (Eds.). (2016). Manual de Competências Académicas : Da adaptação à universidade à competência académica. Lisboa: Edições Sílabo. Access part of the book (in portuguese):
Rugg, G. and Petre, M. (2004) (first edition) The unwritten rules of PhD research. Open University Press UK.

De Bono, E. (1972) PO: a device for successful thinking. New York: Simon and Schuster.
De Bono, E. (1995) Serious creativity. The Journal for Quality and Participation. 18. 12 – 18. Team
Elaine Walsh, Katie Anders, Sally Hancock & Liz Elvidge (2013) Reclaiming creativity in the era of impact: exploring ideas about creative research in science and engineering, Studies in Higher Education, 38:9, 1259-1273, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2011.620091

Team Dynamics:
Tuckman, B. (1965) Development sequence in small groups. Psychology Bulletin. 63. 384 – 389.
Tuckman, B. and Jensen, M.A.C (1977) Stages of small group development revisited. Group Organisation Studies. 2. 384 – 389.

Note: The Learning Journal will be delivered on paper during the course so that the students may follow the different topics and take notes. Previous reading is not required.