Every year, Cumberland Lodge delivers two, highly renowned residential conferences for students based at universities across the UK.
PhD students participating in a Life Beyond the PhD conference at Cumberland Lodge

Since our earliest days, in the aftermath of World War II, we have been equipping and inspiring students and young people to tackle the causes and effects of social division, and to reflect on how their academic work and careers might help to promote progress towards more peaceful, open and inclusive societies. 

Life Beyond the PhD

Our sought-after ‘Life Beyond the PhD’ conference takes place over five days in August, bringing together doctoral students and early-career researchers, from a wide range of disciplines, to foster collaboration, develop their public engagement skills, and explore the value and potential of academic research.

This interdisciplinary conference has been taking place at Cumberland Lodge since 2009, offering an inclusive and inspiring environment for planning and preparing future careers, and a supportive forum for the exchange of ideas. Over the years, hundreds of people have participated, from well over 100 higher-education institutions, across the UK, and the support networks established have proved to be invaluable to many.

With input from a range of guest speakers and facilitators, our programme explores: 

  • The potential for academic research and skills to support social progress
  • Collaborative and interdisciplinary ways of working
  • Skills required for successfully engaging stakeholders with new research, including writing, public speaking and digital media.

This conference opens for applications in the spring. Details are published on the 'What's On' section of our website and shared with graduate schools throughout the UK. Many universities offer competitive application rounds to secure funding to attend this conference. Please enquire with your graduate school office, to see whether this support is available to you.

If you have any questions about this conference, please contact us at

Commonwealth & International Student Christmas conference

This annual conference is our longest-standing tradition and has been held every year since 1947.

Every December, we extend a warm welcome to students from all over the world who are currently studying in the UK, to engage in a programme of thought-provoking and inspiring seminars and workshops, to meet others who are studying away from home, and to experience a traditional British Christmas.

The first Christmas gathering of international students at Cumberland Lodge was in 1947, a few weeks after King George VI had granted us the use of the Lodge for our educational work.

We offer an interdisciplinary programme to inspire discussions on key themes from our annual series, supported by guest speakers and facilitators. In recent years, these have included representatives from Streetwise Opera, Pan Intercultural Arts, Creating Meaning, and the diversity and inclusion consultancy Trustlab, and speakers such as the writer and stand-up comedian AL Kennedy, and the photographer Bill Knight OBE.

Our conference programme also includes:

  • A Christmas carol service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, close to Cumberland Lodge
  • A guided winter trail through Windsor Great Park
  • A traditional Christmas dinner, including a visit from Father Christmas
  • Evening games and entertainment.

Room-share accommodation at Cumberland Lodge, and all meals, are provided.

Details of this conference are released in the late summer or early autumn, on the ‘What’s On’ pages of this website, with information about how to buy tickets.

How to take part

To find out more about participating in, or contributing to the programmes for our student conferences, please contact our Programme team at, or call 01784 497781.