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Overview of the PGI training

The Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science training is an integral part of our ambition to build a future generation of measurement experts. Training developed by NPL’s scientists and engineers and training partners, is free to all PGI students i.e. any postgraduate student working in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory, and therefore assigned an NPL co-supervisor.

The methodology behind our training provision is to establish various sources of knowledge and expertise are available and to ensure that students discuss their training needs with their NPL co-supervisors at the earliest point in their PhD.  Some supervisors require students to develop significant practical skills and use of specialist metrology equipment, whilst others will require students complete compulsory e-learning modules in addition to data analysis tools or other professional skills courses. The training is tailored to suit individual projects, and our Training Framework document highlights four main categories which are critical to a successful PhD.

Please note that credit values for each of the NPL courses have been suggested by our strategic partners, the University of Strathclyde and University of Surrey. These are provided only as a guide to higher education institutes who should allocate credits according to their own criteria. If you have any queries, please contact us.

Download the Training Framework

Contact the PGI team

The measurement and uncertainty training sessions were useful in encouraging me to consider where sources of error may be in my own research, and helped me tackle those issues.

Student feedback on NPL e-learning courses

’The mix of technical, commercial awareness, and soft skills courses that [the PGI] is offering the students are great, please continue doing so to help the students.

Supervisor feedback on PGI training


Range of skills


Our Fundamentals of Metrology Programme provides students with advanced training in measurement, from its history and origins of measurement standards through to the redefinition of the SI units, now all based on fundamental constants. Training also includes e-learning modules and training on instrumentation and sensors as well as critical measurement software training.


Communication training covers a multitude of topics from presentation skills to effective writing habits. Workshops on how to communicate research effectively and online communication are also offered. Public speaking for scientists is available on demand.



Research training develops core skills crucial for high-quality research. Training is delivered by associated partners is available for key scientific software and instruments students might need to utilise. Specific topics include:scientific writing, introduction to intellectual property, data integrity and reproducibility. Supervision Charter training is also included  for students and co-supervisors.


During their time with NPL, students acquire a range of transferable skills suitable for application outside research environments. As well as many different networking and career development sessions, we offer courses such as: chairing a scientific conference, event organisation and effective project management. For students in their final year, we run workshops to develop CV writing and interviewing skills.

Why do students sign up for training at NPL?

PGI students are required to attend core training, this is a fundamental part of their engagement with NPL and exposes them to critical metrology concepts and thinking.  Students based in universities across the UK can access this training either in person or on-line. 

Our training will help: 

  • Improve decision-making skills and independent thinking
  • Increase confidence in applying measurement solutions
  • Develop analytical thinking through a measurement approach
  • Understand real-world measurement challenges
  • Appreciate and understand uncertainty and risk
  • Build the PGI cohort with shared training opportunities
  • Network across the many institutions that make up the PGI

’Very informative session to somebody who is in their first year of PhD studies.

Student comment on our scientific writing course

I now have a better understanding of managing and interpolating data which will help me apply better practices.

Student comment on our data integrity training

Our training networks

The PGI works closely with other academic networks to ensure strong links and resources are available for PGI students, particularly:


PostGraduate Institute Conference

The PGI organises an annual conference to highlight the brilliant work of its students and other early career scientists and engineers. The conference is a unique collaboration between industry, NPL and academia, and provides a platform for postgraduate researchers to showcase their research.

PGI students often view the conference as a training opportunity, choosing to demonstrate their communication skills by presenting their research to their peer group, invited industry partners, academics and policymakers. As the conference is organised by a small group of PGI student volunteers, the event itself offers training opportunities. Each year, students can volunteer to join the conference committee, gain valuable event management experience and help bring the event to life.

How to access training

PGI members

The annual calendar of PGI training events are detailed in a monthly email to the PGI mailing list and in the PGI Information Portal, which is available to all PGI students.  If you are a PGI student or supervisor and would like to receive this email please contact us at

Contact the PGI team

Non-PGI members

Training packages can also be made available to academic, industry and non-PGI audiences. Examples of this include training delivered to Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and other funded postgraduate researchers. Topics have covered:  Data Science, Quantum metrology, Nuclear metrology and bespoke packages for the nuclear industry.

Member's area - PGI information portal