Training opportunities

Students on our PhD programmes are expected to attend training courses in transferable and general research skills such as:

  • Health and safety training
  • Graduate lecture series (approx 40 lectures by Sanger and European Bioinformatics Institute Faculty)
  • Basic Unix
  • Perl programming
  • Bioinformatics courses and workshops
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Basic and applied statistics
  • Ethics in research workshops
  • Presentation skills
  • Scientific writing skills
  • Communication and public engagement workshop
SCAMPS 2008 committee.

SCAMPS 2008 committee. [Markus Brosch, Sanger Institute]


A wide range of computer courses are also run on site for which students are eligible. As members of the University of Cambridge, students have access to lecture courses run by University departments, courses run by the Graduate School of Life Sciences and to University facilities such as the library and the careers service. There is also an excellent library on site at the Institute.

There is a fortnightly journal club which all students, except those in their final year, are expected to attend, and students are expected to participate in the programme of journal clubs and research talks within their own research division.

There is a very active academic seminar programme on site. Also all students have the opportunity to meet and have informal discussions over lunch with speakers in our Distinguished Lecture Series. In addition, relevant seminar programmes within the University are widely advertised, and students are encouraged to attend.

Poster viewing session at SCAMPS 2008.

Poster viewing session at SCAMPS 2008. [Markus Brosch, Sanger Institute]


All students have the opportunity to present their work regularly to their group. Approximately half way through their research, students have to present their work at a PhD Student Presentations Day. In the final year, once students have submitted their thesis, they are required to present their work at a Sanger Institute seminar. In addition, students are encouraged to present their work at both national and international scientific meetings, and we provide up to £1000 per year to enable them to attend such meetings.

Students at the Institute are encouraged to organise their own events such as the EBI-Sanger Cambridge PhD Symposium (eSCAMPS). This meeting brings together students from the whole Cambridge area and gives them the opportunity to present their work to their peers and a number of world renowned keynote speakers. Organising such a meeting (liaising with speakers, seeking sponsorship, managing logistical arrangements etc) allows the students involved to develop their networking, communication and management skills. The first eSCAMPS led to two of the students writing an article which was published in Nature Reviews Genetics: Tomazou, E.M., and Powell, G.T. (2007). Look who's talking too: graduates developing skills through communication. Nature Reviews. Genetics 8, 724-726.

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