The Grantham Scholars training programme

The Grantham Scholars training programme has been designed to help you become an expert activist around seven core themes. As a Grantham Scholar, you are funded for three months more than most other PhD students, to give you time to develop these skills.

Grantham Scholars are ambassadors for sustainability at the University of Sheffield. You will be able to play an active role in the Grantham Centre, engage with the outside world on sustainability matters and take public roles as activists in sustainability causes. Throughout your PhD, you will meet visitors to the Grantham Centre who come from policy, industry and academic backgrounds, to learn how sustainability ideas are created, developed and implemented by research institutions, businesses and governments.

Your supervisors will lead the subject-specific training that you need to complete your PhD project, on the way to becoming an expert in your field. The following training is led by the Grantham Centre team, working closely with your supervisors, to give you the skills to become a sustainability advocate. Some training activities are required, others are optional. Our goal is to offer you a unique PhD experience, a range of interesting opportunities and a valuable set of skills that you can use in your career.

Research Skills

Early on in your PhD, we’ll introduce you to life as a postgraduate research student. These talks and activities will give you strategies for critically assessing existing research, developing good writing habits, interacting with your supervisor and building a successful career in academia or elsewhere.

Example training: Getting The Most From Your PhD

Interdisciplinary Working

To put the challenges of sustainability in a meaningful context, you’ll get to know how different kinds of researchers work. Grantham Scholars meet weekly to discuss research papers from different branches of academia. You’ll also learn about the research methods your colleagues use, and be an active participant in interdisciplinary networking events, including our annual symposium.

Example training: Methods@Sheffield, Sustainable Futures Symposium

Policy Engagement

Working with policymakers is essential to putting sustainability research into practice. Experts from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Politics will teach you how lawmaking works, and how researchers can influence it. You will also meet with visitors from political organisations.

Example training: Parliamentary Impact and Engagement

Business, Industry and Enterprise

Businesses can be key drivers of sustainable innovations, and Grantham Scholars get lots of opportunities to interact with industry. Work experience and mentoring can help you learn how the business world works, and how you can shape it. We also run visits so you can see how companies put sustainability into practice.

Example training: Mentoring

Public Engagement

Sustainability affects everyone, and it is the duty of researchers to share their expertise so that challenges can be understood and met. All Grantham Scholars get involved in organising public talks and debates, and we’ll encourage you host stalls at festivals, run sessions in schools, and take other opportunities to share the messages of sustainability with the world.

Example training: Seminar Series, Outreach

Media and Digital Engagement

The media can be a powerful tool for communicating research. Experienced University of Sheffield press officers teach Grantham Scholars how to work with journalists, and you can take the dissemination of ideas into your own hands by learning the fundamentals of video production. This is underpinned by an intensive training course to help you become an effective all-round communicator.

Example training: Communicate with Confidence, Working With Journalists


A goal of the Grantham Scholar training programme is to empower PhD students to become leaders who can steer the future in a sustainable direction. You can build up core leadership skills by supervising student research, or by taking on representation roles in the Grantham Centre. Our student-led Grantham Leadership Project is a chance to create a campaign around a cause you believe in.

Example training: Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience, Grantham Leadership Project