Launched in 2009, our annual ‘Life Beyond the PhD’ conference is a unique celebration of postgraduate research culture in the UK.
Held over five days at the end of August, at Cumberland Lodge, the residential conference invites PhD students and early career researchers to share their experiences, take part in training, and explore the value of doctoral research, both inside and outside of academia, in an inclusive and supportive environment.
Participants have the opportunity to network with one another, to share their research and aspirations, to explore collaborative and interdisciplinary ways of working, and to present to a diverse, non expert audience.
They also participate in workshops on communication, grant and job application writing, and public engagement.
Over the last decade, hundreds of students and early career researchers from well over 100 different higher education institutions in the UK have participated in the event, and the support networks established have proved to be invaluable to many.
What former participants have to say
‘The time spent at this conference was invaluable. I honed my interview skills, chatted to other PhD students, and generally spent my time in an atmosphere that was the opposite of the isolation so often experienced as part of the PhD process. I cannot recommend this conference enough, the experience has been vital at the start of my third year – I have left the conference raring to go, not only to complete my PhD, but to see what comes after that.’ - Hayley Evans, PhD Student at the University of Kent (attended Life Beyond the PhD 2017)
'I feel energised and inspired! It was timely and I feel very encouraged. The Cumberland lodge environment was beautiful and serene. Moreover, it was an intense five days of training, where I learnt a lot from the various speaker and my peers. I also developed new friendships and new networks, which is of importance, since the PhD journey tends to be lonely and isolated.' - Anonymous participant feedback from Life Beyond the PhD 2018
'Attending the Life Beyond the PhD conference at Cumberland Lodge gave me the opportunity to step away from my research for a few days, and meet some truly amazing people.' - Alexander Blower, PhD student in the Education Department at the University of Wolverhampton (attended Life Beyond the PhD 2016)
'Cumberland Lodge provided an opportunity for me to enter into discussions with, and discover the views of, other students from a variety of diverse backgrounds. The opportunity to participate in discussions and to explore common concerns with others has allowed me to reflect on my research and see it from a different perspective, which I hope will enrich the project. I arrived at Cumberland Lodge tired and stressed with worries, concerns, and questions. I left with a renewed sense of self confidence, increased self-awareness, a deeper love of my research area, new friendships and the promise of collaborating on an interdisciplinary paper with fellow PhD students whom I would never have met had I not attended the conference.' - Liz Charalambous, registered nurse, and PhD student at the University of Nottingham (attended Life Beyond the PhD 2017)
How to take part
We launch our annual Life Beyond the PhD conference in the Spring each year, and details are published on our What's On webpages and shared with graduate schools throughout the UK.
To find out more about the conference, contact our Education team on 01784 497781.