Development Opportunities

MASTS Core activities

A number of core activities are organised by MASTS which specifically support the development of competencies and attributes of a professional marine science researcher. These are provided by the MASTS partners and other external organisations and are offered in addition to the professional development for researchers organised by MASTS partner universities. The number of credits allocated to an activity varies depending on the scope of the activity, the level of engagement and evidence of achievement. Find out more below.

Activities can also be seen on the events list here

You may also like to investigate what activities our partner institution Graduate Schools and Researcher Professional Development websites are offering. Relevant links can be found here.

Return to MASTS PG Cert homepage.


Credits: 1-3

Duration: 1-3 days

The MASTS Annual Science Meeting (ASM) takes place in Autumn each year and is the largest marine science specific conference in the UK, attracting academics from the MASTS community, from the UK and internationally. Through a series of plenary talks, presentations, workshops, debates, e-posters and displays, the ASM also offers an opportunity to present your research and to engage with business, industry, government, agencies and Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) working in marine science and technology.

Participating PGRs who present a paper, e-poster, workshop contribution or other activity can include these in their PG Cert credit collection. The number of credits awarded depends on the type and level of your engagement.

By the end of the ASM, participants will have:

  • Presented your research to a wide audience of national and international delegates interested in marine science and technology
  • Engaged with stakeholders working in marine research, technology and related fields, and improved your understanding of their research needs and the relevance of your own research
  • Contributed to the development of the MASTS community, its research, reputation and impact.

Registration fees apply for this event, but reductions are available for students willing to assist at the event. Contact Emma Defew for details.


Credits: 1-3

Duration: 3 days

This is MASTS' annual residential event specifically for Postgraduate researchers who are members of the MASTS Graduate School. The three-day programme includes presentations, interactive workshops, training and social activities, designed to develop skills, build professional and social networks within the MASTS community and externally, and to introduce a variety of stakeholders and research end users, bringing new perspectives to your research. 

By the end of the workshop, participants will have:

  • Engaged in skills training workshops and activities (these change each year), to enhance personal and professional development
  • Been introduced to the work of stakeholders in marine research, technology and related fields, from academia, business, industry, government and conservation sectors
  • Developed professional and social networks with colleagues and other postgraduate researchers
  • Heard about career pathways

A limited number of places may be available to students who are not members of the MASTS Graduate School. Contact Emma Defew for details.

Credits: variable

Duration: variable

MASTS encourages PGRs to engage in activities outside of their PhD through an internship, employment or research placement. Durations may vary depending on specifics but will ideally be between 1-6 months. This can include work related to your own research or not, with an organisation other than your university or in another sector (e.g. government, business, industry, non-PhD related research). European and international mobility is encouraged. Postgraduates are given a chance to work on a project with organisations seeking to deliver to targets and objectives, and thus gain experience of other professional environments and applications of research.

MASTS can offer guidance and support to set up an internship but encourages you to make contact with people and organisation to facilitate the opportunity that is best for you and will forge a strong relationship between you and the internship provider. Some funding may be made available from MASTS centrally but all students are encouraged to seek full funding to undertake these activities, for example, from an employer or business.

By the end of the internship, participants could have:

  • Experience writing proposals/ applications to secure funding
  • Experience of a professional/ business environment
  • Developed enhance understanding of business and other stakeholder needs and relationships with research
  • Greater knowledge of professional standards and delivery to objectives/deadlines in a professional setting
  • Broader horizons regarding career possibilities
  • Improved networks


Credits: 1+

Duration: 0.5-1 day (varying)

PGRs should be able to understand how research is translated into policy and operational management, and have a broad understanding of key legislation, policy and governance relevant to their discipline and marine science more broadly. Working with Scottish Natural Heritage, Marine Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and others, MASTS provides workshops to highlight the activities of these organisations and allow PGRs to experience policy implementation and operational practice. Details of new events and activities coming on line though the year are available here.

Credits: 1+

Duration: 0.5-1 day (varying)

Each of the three MASTS Themes supports a number of Forums that target a specific research area/challenge. PGRs are encouraged to contribute activity to the Forums, to discuss their own work and that of others, and to develop their own research knowledge and skills. Activities could include, for example, developing novel research to address challenges for business, industry, regulators, environmental managers, etc.; contributing to a government policy advice document; industry consultation; other applied activity; membership of a Forum Steering Group; or a development of a collaborative funding proposal.

Through contribution, participants may have:

  • Contributed to knowledge exchange within the Forums
  • Contributed to the development and progress of a national, regional and sectorally relevant strategic research agenda and associated activities
  • Developed greater understanding of the Forum’s interactions with funding bodies, Government and other stakeholders, including its role in the provision of impartial advice

Credits: 1-3

Duration: 1-5 days (varying)

Over the coming year many of the Forums will organise workshops and events that offer practical training to MASTS PGRs. Please look out for emails about these events and watch here for details of other up-coming events.


Credits: 1-2 (further credits may be achieved through participation in the activity, if funding is successful)

Duration: variable

MASTS offers a number of funding opportunities to PGR students, encouraging applications to broaden research activities and experiences, encourage travel and attendance at external conferences and workshops. These include the Postdoctoral and Early Career Researcher exchange (PECRE grants) amongst others. Find out more. Postgraduates may also seek funding from other sources which could be included in this activity.

On completion of a funding proposal/ application, the participant will have:

  • Greater understanding of the specific funders’ requirements, criteria and expectations and how to meet these
  • Experience in succinct academic writing to achieve funding
  • Developed their research planning skills
  • Developed a research budget and project plan

If your funding application is successful, on completion of the research you will also gain experience of:

  • Delivering research, working to a project plan and timescale
  • Research budget management
  • Creating research outputs from practical research
  • Reporting research and project outputs to meet funder requirements

Credits: 1-3 (further credits may be allocated for competition and submission of a manuscript)

The Writing Retreat is specifically for PGRs who are ready to start writing a manuscript for publication and have data analysis completed. We will take a small group of students out of their normal working environment, to give you the space and focus to work on a manuscript. The Writing Retreat last 5 days and provides you with an intensive writing experience with peer support from colleagues who are undertaking the same task. By the end of the workshop, participants will have:

  • Fully engaged with academic writing for publication
  • A first draft of a manuscript
  • Shared skills and experiences with others, receiving support in return, and benefitted from academic discussion with peers
  • Experience of defending your research and conclusions