Our bespoke #Cauldron training programme aims to extend the students’ academic enhancement in the interlinked areas of Scientific Cohesion, Research and Creativity Skills, Social and Societal Challenges, and Innovation. A particular feature of #Cauldron is the mixing of students from different years, and across laboratories which encourages cross-disciplinary idea generation.

#Cauldron draws on the Vitae Researcher Development framework, implementing the Research Concordat of the UK Research Councils informed by the recommendations of the Roberts report “Set for Success”.

#Cauldron comprises cohort-wide and elective activities including guest speakers, seminars, skills sessions, tours, retreats and informal discussions. Students select a training portfolio following a development needs analysis to achieve specific training outcomes aligned with their interests.


Year one

Students study a range of mandatory and optional Masters level courses, supplemented by practical experience in the form of small projects. Training also addresses current issues in Robotics, and Proposal /Paper/Report Writing. A software carpentry boot camp provides support for project and practical work throughout the programme.


Year Two - Creativity

Cohort-wide training focuses on Research and Creativity Skills based on the EPSRC initiative Creativity@Home.

Specific research and public engagement skills training is provided throughout the year by academic development teams at both universities.


Year Three - Roboethics

Students participate in a bespoke training programme on the topic of Morals and the Machine.

Electives, using the Scottish Crucible format, address broader societal issues, including policy making, international competitiveness, environmental challenges, and public engagement with science.


Year Four - Innovation

Students attend the Enterprising Researcher Summer School at Heriot-Watt University. Additional training via industrial placements offers students an industry focused experience. A small budget is available to support students successful in winning a place on an Entrepreneurship Development Programme.

Mentoring is offered as appropriate for the post-PhD phase of students’ careers.