Year 3: Professional Training

Year 3 comprises the following basic elements:

  1. Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS; mandatory)
  2. Residential Student Retreat (Transferable skills; mandatory)
  3. Advanced core bioscience skills (optional)


Please note: Following a decision by the EASTBIO Management Group on 29 August 2018, failure to attend EASTBIO mandatory training without proper notification as to the reasons for it, communicated to supervisor(s) and the EASTBIO administrator may entail a financial penalty to recover costs incurred by EASTBIO DTP and partner institutions. The penalty will take the form of a reduction to the student RTSG for the following year to the sum of £100 per one-day training events (thematic group meetings and transferable skills workshops) and £250 for the third-year Firbush Student Retreat; see our Cancellation Policy at the 2018-19 Student Handbook.

Click on each heading, above, for further details.

Poster session - Dundee, EASTBIO 2019 Symposium

Click on the image on the right for a training overview. The training calendar 2018-2019 for all cohorts will be published here shortly.

In year 3, you will be undertaking your PIPS, which you will have planned and prepared for in the first two years of your study. For more details, visit the PIPS page here.

The third year is kept mostly free from other mandatory training events, with the exception of students invited to share their unique PIPS experiences with fellow EASTBIO students, at the PIPS Q&A event (Dundee, 12 February 2019) and the Symposium on Bioscience Research (Dundee, 13-4 June 2019).

2 EASTBIO Residential Student Retreat: Firbush, 10-12 April 2019 (this event is mandatory for third-year students; students from other cohorts are welcome to join)

About the event

EASTBIO provides funding and support to student representatives to organise a 3rd-year Student Retreat at the Firbush Point Outdoor Centre, located on the south shore of Loch Tay near Killin. The retreat gives students ample chance to relax via a range of outdoor activities, as well as the opportunity to discuss research, future career plans and staying in touch with us after graduation. 

This year, the schedule included a workshop on 'Project management, motivation and prioritisation', delivered by Dr Joanna Young, although the much anticipated talk by Dr Omar Alfituri (EASTBIO alumni, 2014 cohort) was cancelled. There will be a Ceilidh dance, a science puz quiz and plenty of free time and optional activities.

Retreat shedule

Declaration form
(to be completed by all attendees and handed in to Reception upon arrival)

Information (what to bring - what to expect)

Aberdeen to Firbush (return trip):

  • Departure from the Zoology Building car park (old Aberdeen campus) at 8:30
  • Pick up at Dundee train station ~10:00

Edinburgh to Firbush (return trip):

  • Departure from Swan’s Building, King’s Building at 9:00

Both coaches will depart from Firbush Point on 12 April, ~12:15 pm.

Please aim to be on time as the coaches were instructed not to wait for more than 5 minutes on the departure times.

St Andrews-based students are to contact EASTBIO regarding their travel arrangements.

What did students say about the Retreat in previous years...


"Doing the outdoor activities was great bonding and also a refreshing change from day to day life.
The presentations from past Eastbio students. It's always good to be given advice from someone who has been through the same thing."
"It was good to discuss research and other aspects of PhD life with other students and the invited postdocs in an informal setting."
"I liked that we could choose group activities that we all wanted to do independently and different groups could do several different things at once, and if there was nothing available we could go off independently."
"Very small group, it might have been more beneficial if more of the cohort attended."
"The retreat was really good and it was nice to catch up with fellow eastbio students. It's a shame not more people came though and I think perhaps if they were made to pay a deposit less people would have dropped out. I think it was really beneficial and hopefully the next cohort will be more willing to participate."



"Doing the outdoor activities was great bonding and also a refreshing change from day to day life."
"The balance of activities and discussion of future research early career was good. Activities enabled a good environment to talk to other students, where before there has not been much time to interact during training. Good time of year to hold the event also."
"[I enjoyed] the presentations from past Eastbio students. It's always good to be given advice from someone who has been through the same thing

Past events:

2018 Student Retreat
The 2018 Retreat was organised by the following student reps who acted by liaising with the entire cohort regarding ideas about activities at the Retreat:

Emily Parr (University of Edinburgh)
Jacob Hargreaves (University of Aberdeen)

Retreat 2018 Schedule.

Third-year students at the Student Retreat, Firbush 11 April 2018

Photos from the 2018 Student Retreat

2017 Student Retreat
The 2017 retreat was organised by:

Omar Alfituri (University of Edinburgh)
James Clugston (University of Edinburgh)
Leili Soo (University of Aberdeen)


Photos from the 2017 event

2016 Student Retreat

In 2016, the Student Retreat, organised by the third-year student reps, took place from the 1st to the 3rd of February, with a number of outdoors and social activities.

Third year EASTBIO students at the Firbush Centre (1-3 February 2016)