Success criteria for training

In order to help judge NERC training activity, the NERC Postgraduate Training Allocation and Delivery Mechanisms Review recommended the introduction of success criteria for postgraduate training. Eighteen success criteria were recommended and six of these were deemed to be priority success criteria.

Six priority success criteria

  1. Research excellence: the training and training environment must include scientifically excellent and original research within NERC's remit.
  2. Training excellence: students are managed as a cohesive group and acquire both research and transferable skills. There is a strong and active community of students that are able - and encouraged - to integrate, work and learn together.
  3. Multidisciplinary training environments: training is embedded in multidisciplinary training environments to enrich the student experience and to encourage the knowledge-sharing and interconnectivity, which benefits research within the environmental sciences. This does not mean that individual PhD topics are required to be multidisciplinary.
  4. Excellent students: attracting the right student. NERC funding goes to the right or 'best-fit' student - the individual whose previous training, experience and skills best suit the type of training being undertaken.
  5. Quality assurance: NERC is assured, ahead of allocation and delivery of training, that providers will deliver excellent training in line with the agreed success criteria, and that it will be possible to evaluate the outcomes of the training.
  6. Produces success stories (demonstrates impact of investment): training produces tangible outcomes; impacts in the broadest sense.

The eighteen success criteria and the interactions between them can be seen in the diagram below:

Training success criteria diagram

Text description of the training success criteria diagram:

The success criteria are divided into three areas: Inputs/Design, which feed into Training, which feeds into Outcomes, which feeds back to Inputs/Design. Inputs/Design covers the following success criteria.

  • Flexibility in funding (length and loading)
  • Research excellence (a priority)
  • Ability to report and evaluate
  • Excellent students (a priority)
  • Value for money
  • Quality assurance (a priority)
  • Challenging and relevant projects
  • Ability to support focused and responsive awards

Training covers the following success criteria.

  • Training excellence (a priority)
  • Students well supported (personal / culture)
  • Training complete on time
  • Students have timely access to appropriate infrastructure (equipment / services / facilities)
  • Multidisciplinary training environments (a priority)
  • Generalist and specialist training needs of each student identified and delivered

Outcomes covers the following success criteria.

  • Employability
  • Skills for environment sector
  • Produces success stories (demonstrates impact of investment) (a priority)
  • Refreshing the research base

Further information regarding the success criteria is contained within the Summary Training Review and the Success Criteria Summary available in the 'Downloads' section on this page.