The ARIES system of whole-cohort training builds a networked group of scientists working across NERC’s science remit, and across the Partnership. We focus our training into a few residential events which both enables you to focus on your research for longer periods, and provides a space in which you can gain some distance from your PhD and reflect on how things are going with the support of your peers.

ARIES cohort training is delivered to all its PGRs in a series of mandatory events, which are compulsory for all DTP-funded and DTP-associated PGRs. PGRs will only be excused under exceptional circumstances and you must complete and submit the Request for Non-Participation in Mandatory Training at least one calendar month prior to the event. The dates of DTP training are advertised well in advance of the event, and PGRs and supervisors are expected, as far as possible, to arrange the work of the PhD project (and PGRs’ personal commitments) around these dates. Unauthorised non-attendance at DTP training events (or non-engagement with the DTP’s reporting mechanisms) can lead to sanctions against PGR and supervisor.

You can view or subscribe to the ARIES calendar of events, and a table of events is provided below. Please note that while there may be some changes to the programme due to unforeseen circumstances, it is important that you consult this list and the ARIES handbook when making choices of other training to take – otherwise you may duplicate training that will be delivered through our cohort events.

Mandatory Training Timetable

Reporting and the TNA

You will identify your own training needs using the ARIES Training Needs Assessment (TNA) system, the mechanism by which you can regularly assess your own progress and goals with the support and advice of your supervisor(s) and the ARIES Training and Progression Panel (TPP). The TNA gives you a useful framework to reflect on your skills as a researcher, set your goals for the future, and build a portfolio of evidence that you can draw on for progress review meetings during your doctorate, and in future job applications.

You will have responsibility for tracking your training and development, and we encourage you to discuss your TNAs with your supervisors(s), both informally and as part of your formal progress review meetings. The TNA is your tool and will help you think carefully about where you want to be at the end of your PhD (and beyond), and how you can get there. The TNA is based on the Vitae RDF Planner:

TNAs are an essential part of an ARIES PhD and offer the chance to stop, take stock, and make plans for the coming year and beyond. We expect that ARIES PGRs will make this assessment five times during their studentship:

Year 1 | December 15th | ARIES Initial TNA Form | ARIES TNA Domains

Year 1, 2, 3 & 4 | June 15th | ARIES Continuing TNA

Year 1
First look: within 6 weeks of starting your PhD.
Submission to ARIES: 15 December
You should complete the ARIES Initial TNA form early during your PhD and discuss at your Initial Supervisory Meeting/Board (usually in first 6 weeks).
Revise your TNA according to their comments and ask your supervisor to sign and comment.
You can revisit the form before the ARIES Residential Induction and submit to ARIES.
Submission to ARIES: 15 June
The ARIES Continuing TNA and confirmation that you have produced a literature review & PhD research proposal
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Submission to ARIES: 15 June each year
Annual Report & ARIES Continuing TNA and confirmation that you have submitted the required written work as part of your annual review process

The TNA should be undertaken as an integral part of formal progress review meetings, which usually take place within this time-frame. ARIES will impose an annual deadline for the return of Continuing TNA forms, but will be flexible as far as reasonably possible for part-time PGRs.

If you are away on fieldwork, or your supervisor will be away, you will need to submit your TNA in advance of the given deadline. Sanctions will be applied where TNAs are not submitted on time.

ARIES PGRs are required to submit written work as required by their department of registration, even if this is optional, and will be asked to confirm this submission as part of the TNA process.