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The Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is structured into four domains covering the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of researchers. It sets out the wide-ranging knowledge, intellectual abilities, techniques and professional standards expected to do research, as well as the personal qualities, knowledge and skills to work with others and ensure the wider impact of research. Within each of the domains there are three sub-domains and associated descriptors.

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) can help you:

  • Explore all the aspects of being a researcher
  • Identify your strengths
  • Prioritise areas for professional development
  • Write a plan, then monitor progress and success
  • Have productive discussions with others, e.g. your supervisor, PI, careers advisor or other professional development provider
  • Look for formal and informal development opportunities
  • Prepare for one-to-one progress reviews, appraisals or career development conversations with your research manager or mentor.

Further Information

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Visit the website to find out more information behind the Researcher Development Framework


The Research Councils UK (RCUK) recommend research students undertake the equivalent of at least 10 ten days of development activities each year and part-time students are expected to undertake the equivalent of at least 5 days. Engaging with the development opportunities available, will enable you to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Be a more effective researcher
  • Build networks

Alongside our programme you should also complement your learning with other forms of development such as College and/or School discipline specific workshops, research seminars, attendance and participation at conferences, public engagement activities and researcher events offered at the University and beyond.

You should keep an accurate record of all of your activities as they will form part of your annual review meetings. You can use the PGR Development Programme training checklist (insert link) to help record these and we are also able to produce a Transcript of Training & Development of all of the workshops you attend within our programme.

A variety of knowledge, behaviours and attributes are key to a successful career. Success means different things to different people. It’s up to you to decide what your priorities are, how you need to develop and how that can be achieved.

For further information visit the Research Councils UK website