Training and Development

Learning & Development Programme

As part of the Department’s commitment to improving training and development provision for staff, we have created a programme of workshops, courses and information sessions open to all Department of Oncology staff. The aim of the programme is to provide opportunities for members of the department to take advantage of courses and workshops that will enhance their professional development and attend sessions that will provide useful information. We will aim to run events once per month and many will be short lunchtime sessions. Further details of upcoming sessions can be found on the Seminars and Events page.

Oncology Postdoctoral Network

The Oncology Postdoctoral Network (OPN) is a young member-driven organisation within the Department of Oncology that aims to provide a unique voice for postdoctoral researchers. Since the postdocs in the department are distributed across different buildings, the network aims to provide a platform for postdoctoral representation in the Department of Oncology. Updates on departmental business is provided by the postdoc representative who attends Group Leader meetings, chaired by the Head of Department.

The OPN goals primarily comprise:

  • Community building: promotion of regular meetings and creation of opportunities for the postdoctoral community to connect with each other and enhance their professional development and leadership skills. 
  • Resources networking: facilitation of the exchange of material and human resources, improving research productivity and departmental cohesion.
  • Career planning: organisation of the annual OPN Away Day and seminars to highlight different career options in science to help postdocs plan their careers


The Department is an active participant of the Mentoring Scheme for Postdoctoral and Early Career Researchers across the Medical Sciences Division. Researchers become part of peer mentoring circles which meet regularly with a senior mentor. Mentoring in this way aims to support their development by:

  • Encouraging self-reflection
  • Increasing networking opportunities through peer circles
  • Providing access to senior staff members outside of the researchers’ home department

The Department has both mentors and mentees participating in the scheme.

Personal Development Review (PDR)

The Department of Oncology’s Personal Development and Review (PDR) Scheme is in place for everyone who has completed their probationary period, whatever their role or grade, whether they work part-time or full-time or on fixed-term, permanent or open-ended contracts.

Participating in an annual PDR provides an excellent opportunity to receive, and give, feedback and enables staff to review their progress over the past year and to discuss what additional support they might need over the coming year to undertake their work. It also enables staff to understand how their work contributes to collective aims.

Where appropriate, staff can discuss further career plans and what support might be available from the Department or Central University to help them fulfil their goals.  

Returning Carers' Fund

The Returning Carers' Fund is a small-grants scheme to support women and men who have taken a break of at least six months for caring responsibilities to re-establish their research careers.

The scheme is open to all members of academic and research staff employed by the University, including those holding joint appointments, but excluding those who have achieved full professorial title or who hold statutory chairs. Those currently on leave can apply for support on their return to work.

The grants will pay for a range of activities, such as short-term administrative or research assistance, teaching buy-outs, conference attendance, visits of research collaborators and training in new research methods.

Researchers Toolkit

A new section on the divisional website, aimed at research staff, the Researchers' Toolkit (www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/resources), has been launched.  This project was initiated in response to feedback from researchers about the difficulty finding information on the resources and support available to them. This information tends to be scattered around a variety of university, divisional and departmental websites, making it confusing to find the correct and/or the most current version. These new webpages provide researchers with up-to-date lists of divisional and central resources and support services, and we hope that by providing information in this easy to browse format (and including an A-Z list), we can improve access to and awareness of these services.

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