"Our most urgent need is for help in updating the learning materials for our Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice, where they touch on qualitative work," says Debrah Harding, director of standards and policy at the MRS.

These were originally produced to a very tight timescale, she says, and the qualitative elements would benefit from being beefed up ­ a process which is being co-ordinated by the AQR's Philly Desai.

While the Certificate is geared towards year one of graduates entering the industry, the MRS's new Diploma is aimed at year three. This is scheduled for launch in 2003. "We have been discussing if and where existing AQR courses might fit into the professional development module of the Diploma with Philly," says Harding.

While candidates will have to do core modules, including a case study, there will also be room for optional modules such as those that the CIM provides. It has been suggested that if there is an enthusiasm within AQR to build such a module, which would be bigger and more detailed than anything that currently exists, then that could fit into the structure, too.

There is no pre-defined length for such a module, indeed the MRS is just building the big core modules at the moment, so time is on the AQR's side. Indeed, the Diploma is so flexible that if the AQR chooses to develop its own module it can be introduced at any time in the future ­ even though 2003 is the official launch date. This course is all about applied knowledge and analysis, and then building that knowledge into projects.

Training is moving into a new era. Volunteers for an Accreditation Sub-Committee to speed it on its way should phone AQR.