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Chartered Status

Chartered Chemist of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Chartered Biologist of the Royal Society of Biology
Chartered Physicist of the Institute of Physics


The Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills
for Postdoctoral Researchers

Course code: TCHA-F1PH


Typical course structure

Structure of the certificate

Advanced Researcher CH959 (30 CATS)


3 Optional Modules (worth 10 CATS each)

Post Doctoral Researchers: CChem, CBiol, CPhys

1. Introduction

The University of Warwick has established an accredited Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science for postdoctoral researchers. The requirements of the certificate are designed to develop the key skills necessary for such staff to proceed to the next stage of a scientific career in academia, industry or other sectors. The skills required map onto those required for the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Chartered Chemist, Royal Society of Biology (RSB) Chartered Biologist and the Institute of Physics (IOP) Chartered Physicist qualification. The purpose of this document is to explore this further with the aim of having completion of the certificate making a scientist who is a member of the RSC, RSB or IOP directly eligible for chartered status.

2. Staff structure

Staff eligible to register on TCHA-F1PH must have completed a PhD and be employed as a postdoctoral researcher. To use TCHA-F1PH to qualify for Chartered status, the researcher must also be a full member of the relevant learned society (RSC, RSB or IOP).

3.Training and development activities

The Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science (PGCTSS) for Postdoctoral Researchers (course code: TCHA-F1PH)

Being a postdoctoral researcher marks the transition point from being a student to being an established scientist. We have developed a Postgraduate certificate in transferable skills in science to help postdoctoral scientists gain the skills needed to progress in their careers, whichever sector they work in. These skills map onto the requirements for Chartered status as outlined below.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science (PGCTSS) for Postdoctoral Researchers (course code: TCHA-F1PH) is a 60 CATS certificate composed of a number of modules that help the scientist to identify and gain core skills for a career in science. The advantage of a formal qualification is that it provides a flexible structure for career development that will enable the scientist to prove to the Learned Societies and to future employers that they have acquired relevant skills. It also provides a structure that the researcher can use to facilitate a mentor-mentee relationship with the line manager or other senior colleague.

The main aims of the PGCTSS are

  • To increase research effectiveness by developing research related skills
  • To prepare researchers for future roles as senior scientists and team leaders
  • To develop the skills to allow the researcher to exercise responsibility for, and leadership of, their postdoctoral research and exploring these skills in a variety of settings.

The main module of the PGCTSS (CH959, 30 CATS) is one where the researcher works with their nominated mentor in their own time at their own pace (Table 1). To complete the certificate, the researcher must also complete 3 x 10 CATS optional modules.

For scientists who have achieved the status of being a Member of the learned society, TCHA-F1PH can be used to demonstrate the required professional attributes for Chartered status. The tasks of CH959 are listed in Table 1 together with an indication of the dominant Chartered Attributes onto which they map. Please note that to obtain chartered status all the relevant attributes have to be fulfilled, this might dictate the choice of optional modules and tasks for your learned society.

To complete the course the researcher is required to assemble a portfolio of evidence to indicate that each component of their selected modules has been completed.

For CChem, at least one task for each of the A to E attributes must be completed. This may either be from CH959 (30 CATS version) or from an optional module. The components of TCHA-F1PH have been designed to enable postdoctoral researchers to progress in their careers by moving to positions of scientific leadership. It therefore includes A to E attributes required for progression to CChem status. In general TCHA-F1PH requires the researcher to have achieved a level of scientific and professional maturity at least as high as that required for CChem with an additional emphasis on research skills.

4. Mentoring and support networks

Postdoctoral researchers will nominate one or more mentors. For some aspects of the Certificate their academic line manager may be most appropriate, whereas for other aspects someone not involved in their line management may be preferred

5. Assessment procedures

Each module is assessed in a number of component parts as pass or fail. In the latter case a ‘resit’ is possible to ensure the researcher masters the skills and can describe their own competence. The Certificate has an examination board which includes an external examiner who reviews all submitted work and its assessment.

6. Quality Assurance

The quality assurance of TCHA-F1PH occurs via the University of Warwick mechanisms for assuring quality of its qualifications. In practice this means periodic reviews and the examination board’s annual meeting following a detailed audit of each cohort of students by the external examiner who is appointed by the University Senate.

7. Scope of the accreditation

It is assumed that the postdoctoral researcher has successfully completed a PhD which has included aspects of technical and transferable skills training. The additional requirements of TCHA-F1PH ensure the researcher achieves advanced competence both technically (though this is only assessed indirectly via assessment of communication, leadership, project management and reporting skills) and generically. The norm is that TCHA-F1PH will take two years to complete though in exceptional circumstances it could take 1 year. Slower progression is also possible depending on the researcher’s source of funding. It is therefore anticipated that researchers who complete TCHA-F1PH and are full members of the relevant learned society will gain Chartered status.

8. Management of the scheme

The scheme will be managed jointly by the RSB, RSC, IOP and the University of Warwick via the Chair and secretary of the Examination board who will maintain a list of researchers working towards F1PH. This will be communicated to the learned societies on request.

9. Role of the learned societies in the scheme

The learned societies will review TCHA-F1PH regularly to see whether it is still fit for purpose. This may be remotely, or by attendance at the examination board or informally by meeting with researchers engaged in the programme.

Information about Chartered Biologist status

RSB logo

  CBiol and RSci attributes mapping

Information about Chartered Chemist status

RSC logo

  CChem and RSci attributes mapping

Information about Chartered Physicist status

IOP logo

  CPhys and RSci attributes mapping