Research and knowledge exchange

Researcher Development Framework

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a guide to your development as a professional researcher, enabling you to identify the strengths you already have and prioritise for personal and career development in the context of future career opportunities.

The information in the RDF has come from interviews with real researchers at different stages of their careers - real advice from real researchers.Diagram depicting the four domains of the Researcher Development Framework

Being a successful researcher involves many skills including communicating your work to others, being aware of its impact and being innovative and enterprising. The Researcher Development Framework can help you decide on priorities for your professional development, informing discussions with your principal investigator or research manager. The Researcher Development Framework enables you to consider the skills and experiences that will enhance your career prospects and articulate your capabilities to future employers.

The RDF summarises the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of effective and highly skilled researchers in a useful format. The RDF is structured into four domains, which encompass what researchers need to know:

  • to do research
  • to be effective in their approach to research
  • to be effective when working with others
  • to be effective in contributing to the wider environment

The Researcher Development Framework can be useful for:

  • Aiding self-reflection and to set yourself goals.
  • Choosing the most appropriate formal and informal development opportunities provided by your institution and looking for development opportunities outside of your research.
  • Preparing for one-to-one progress reviews, appraisals and career development conversations with your principal investigator, research manager or mentor.
  • Considering how your skills and experiences will enhance your career prospects.
  • Highlighting, articulating and evidencing the transferability of your skills in your CV, in job applications and at interviews.
Further information and Links

Vitae have produced a Researcher Development Framework Briefing for Research Staff [PDF 1.01MB], which provides an overview of the framework, ideas for how you can use it for your professional development and views from research staff who have used the framework.

Further information is also available through the Vitae Researcher Development Framework web pages.

Vitae logoVitae is an international programme led by the UK charity, Careers Research and Advisory Centre, working to enhance the potential of researchers.

Vitae's website has many useful resources including a professional development planning for researchers course. This online course, developed for researchers who want to make the most of opportunities and create new ones, covers all stages in the process.

All our staff and students get full access to the Vitae website and resources if you register with your Sussex email address.


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