The Research Councils' Graduate Schools Programme (RCGSP) has won a National Training Award for "exceptionally effective training," and to help them celebrate they'd like to trace people who have been involved in the programme since its inception in 1968.

The award scheme is run by the Department for Education and Employment and is part of its drive to promote lifelong learning. The 5-day Graduate Schools are geared to the specific career and personal development needs of PhD students. Janet Metcalfe, programme co-ordinator, says the award is "external validation of what we're doing within the postgraduate market." Winning shows that "it doesn't get much better than this," she suggests.

The RCGSP wants to share its success with past students--more than 30,000 of them! "If you attended one of these courses during your PhD, we would like to hear from you," says Janet. "Can you remember your course, what did you get out of it, are you still in touch with other attendees?" she asks. Next Wave readers, or perhaps their supervisors, who have memories to share can contact Janet by e-mail. Case histories from across the years will be published on the alumni part of the Grad Schools Web site, and it's possible that an interactive event will be organised, "where students from previous years can pass their wisdom down to those who have just been on a course," Janet explains.

The current crop of PhD students can benefit from the Grad Schools by applying for a place online. The programme of courses for 2001 has just been launched and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Places on the £500 course are free to Research Council sponsored students in their 2nd or 3rd year. Students funded from other sources should not despair however--there's still time to enter Next Wave's great competition to win a place on a 2001 Graduate School. Click here for details.

Graduate School dates can also be found on Next Wave's European Events Calendar.