Implementing the Researcher Development Framework
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Implementing the Researcher Development Framework



A joint Vitae NW & YNE Hub good practice workshop held in Manchester on 26/05/2011. Slides are from the introductory session. More information about this event can be found at

A joint Vitae NW & YNE Hub good practice workshop held in Manchester on 26/05/2011. Slides are from the introductory session. More information about this event can be found at



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  • Comes out of JSS and initiative of Policy Forum 2008 Precursor projects at Glasgow Caledonia and Manchester Universities Empirical data from analysis of semi-structured interviews with > 100 experienced researchers Phenomenographic method – Gerlese Akerlind – Individuals experience the same phenonemena differently – we only have a partial perspective – such as being a researcher. But if we obtain sufficient perspectives we may get an idea about the whole. Not pre-defined, but by contrasting the data looking for the similarities and differences in what people have to say about a phenonemena. For us, this approach resulted in over 1,000 characteristics and variants being identified: – For example: a number of people said it was important to be able to analyse data as a researcher we noted that as a characteristic, but a few also said it was important to be able to analyse other peoples data not just your own, so we noted that as a variant. The resulting information was organised and re-organised (or clustered) into areas that seemed most appropriate. Much debate over this and the order of things. The project started with 9 main areas and, after much discussion and deliberation, finished with 4. Much debate over ‘clusters’ and ‘order’
  • What wasn’t mentioned – specialist groups came into their own. What wasn’t mentioned – equally noticeable Enterprise, Collaboration & teamwork, Public engagement, Income generation as opposed to grant applications Global perspective, New technologies and research areas, Ethics, health & safety Enterprise – not even mentioned as a characteristic: be interesting to run survey in 10 years time. Collaboration and teamwork - Teamwork - no mention of this although managing individual relationships was viewed as significant by the interviewees. The use of new technology to promote research presence. Internationalism = absent. We drew on the sector and a range of stakeholders to help plug the gaps and give us their perspective. RCUK, Beacons for PE, RIN, careers – employers at the end. Consultation – Sept 2010 Feedback from individuals and project group and advisory group. Expert panel – who validated the RDF. Some given the whole RDF others a Domain - interviewed closely about. Minor tweaks – but all could identify themselves in it. Sector wide view = extremely powerful. Not just what an individual supervisor or PI says is important for a research career – but what the sector says is – based on the professions’ view. May not all be relevant at any one time – but it probably will be relevant in one way or another over time
  • Key characteristics include: Having a passion for and curiosity for research area – Use knowledge innovatively and imaginatively Disciplinary differences were neither marked nor significant IN the Research – RDF drawing them out. Outstanding people keep on trying - they don’t give up, they deal with rejection and keep applying, submitting etc. Able to make links within and beyond academia to non-academic, PERSEVRE The characteristics of an outstanding performer appear to be the opposite of those associated with a PGR - i.e. broad range of intellectual focus, interdisciplinary NOT IN RDF - Underperformers – unable to apply knowledge in innovative way, possess an overly narrow focus, ‘terror of rejection’, lack confidence, lack a coherent career plan – never complete things, always talking about them but not actually bringing them to fruition, unable to balance teaching, research and admin etc. Two kinds of researchers linked – but it is not about knowledge per se rather how it is used.
  • JSS was one dimensional – this is 3D. Richness, depth, flexibility. Assist individuals, at all stages, with their professional development – i.e. from new researchers to those with Global renown Development framework: knowledge, behaviours and attitudes appropriate for the profession Ethics, integrity, academic writing & publications, enthusiasm, self–confidence and perseverance. Passion and drive not so critical if you are a dentist Shift from ‘training and skills’ to ‘development’ and implies a shift from ‘measuring’ to ‘evidencing’ (personal view) Challenges: Large and scary! Prone to the pitfalls of ‘Perception’ ‘ data’, ‘ethics’, ‘experiment’ Resist the temptation of ‘Phasing’ Can’t measure enthusiasm or creativity Only useful if you want to stay in academia… Audience – who is it for? different perspectives emerge from stakeholders with different purposes for RDF

Implementing the Researcher Development Framework Implementing the Researcher Development Framework Presentation Transcript

  • Implementing the Researcher Development Framework A joint Vitae NW & YNE Hub good practice workshop
  • Programme 11:00-11:20 12:30-14:00 16:00-17:00 Image FlickrID: University of Exeter Image FlickrID: mickeysucks Image FlickrID: .Imelda 10:00 About the Researcher Development Framework 11:20 What are the issues, challenges and opportunities in implementing the RDF? 11:50 & 14:00 Parallel discussion sessions 14:40 Finding solutions 15:50 Moving forward
  • An introduction to the Researcher Development Framework Dr Vivien Hodges Vitae®, © 2011 The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited
  • Vitae vision and aims
    • For the UK to be world-class in supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers
    • Build human capital by influencing the development and implementation of effective policy relating to researcher development
    • Enhance higher education provision to train and develop researchers
    • Empower researchers to make an impact in their careers
    • Evidence the impact of professional and career development support for researchers
  • Researcher development in context
    • The UK is committed to the development of world-class researchers.
    • Researchers are critical to economic success
    • Researchers’ careers span a wider variety of employment sectors
    • Strong UK commitment to researcher development
  • Researcher Development Framework
    • The professional development framework to realise the potential of researchers
  • The RDF
    • Major new approach to researcher development
    • Builds the UK research base
    • Develops world-class researchers
    • Enhances the personal, professional and career development of researchers
    • Developed through UK-wide interviews with successful researchers in a range of disciplines
    • Led by Vitae in collaboration with the HE sector and other stakeholders
  • The RDF
    • Framework of the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers
    • Enables self-assessment of strengths and areas for further development
    • Common framework across institutions in the UK
    • Universal language for communicating researcher capabilities
  • The RDS
    • The Researcher Development Statement (RDS) is the strategic statement of the RDF:
      • for policy makers and research organisations
      • endorsed by >30 stakeholders including the Research Councils, QAA and the funding councils
      • an evolution of the Research Councils’ Joint Skills Statement (JSS)
    • The RDS and RDF together provide:
      • strategic statement (RDS)
      • operational framework (RDF)
  • Using the RDF and RDS
    • Researchers:
      • identify strengths and priorities for professional and career development
    • Managers and supervisors of researchers
      • fundamental to planning researcher development
    • Staff supporting researchers in HEIs
      • underpins strategies for researcher development
    • Policy makers, employers and other stakeholders
      • realising researchers’ potential for all sectors of the economy and society
    • 4 domains
    • 12 sub-domains
    • 63 descriptors
  • Researcher feedback ‘ It put career development back into the forefront of my mind as it can often slip back when you’re engaged in what you’re doing day to day.’ ‘ The RDF will encourage me to be more proactive about my career development as it provides me with a framework (list of milestones).’ ‘ It was very good for me to reflect. I realised that nothing is stopping me but myself. The sky is the limit.’ ‘ I’ve always thought of myself as being quite ambitious, driven and focussed on what I want, but the framework made me realise I can have a much larger vision.’
  • Links and resources
    • RDF:
    • RDS:
    • RDF profiles:
    • RDF professional development planner:
    • Contact: [email_address]
  • Development and validation Dr Julie Reeves
  • Development
    • The Core of RDF determined by profession
    • Semi-structured interviews with > 100 researchers
    • Representative sample: range of experiences, institution types, geographical context, disciplines and demographics
    • Phenomenographic method
    • Results: > 1000 characteristics and variants, clustered into common groups
  • Refinement & validation
    • Core - refined and informed by
      • Literature survey
      • Specialist groups
      • Consultations
      • Feedback
      • Validation
    • End result = Sector Wide view
  • Interesting findings
    • Personal effectiveness not disciplinary differences
    • Passion and curiosity
    • Not what you know, but what you do with it that counts - ‘at some point everyone is an expert in the subject’ (Professor - Arts)
    • Opposite of a PGR? - broad focus, ‘thick skinned’, able to transcend discipline
    • Underperformers (not in RDF): overly-narrow focus, lack of confidence, career plan, ‘terror of rejection’, unable to balance demands of role, lack of deliverables
  • Unique features - USPs
      • Lot of choice!
      • Core of RDF is what the profession identified as important
      • Richness, depth, flexibility
      • ‘ Development framework’ - designed by researchers for researchers
      • Shift from ‘training & skills’ to ‘development’
      • Reflects whole sector’s view - stands as whole piece
  • Information and resources Dr Emma Gillaspy
  • Project background
    • Background to the project
    • Consultation process
    • Project team members
    • Advisory group members
    • Research projects, literature reviews, methodology, presentation slides
  • Stakeholder groups
    • Specific information for organisations and individuals about how the framework will be used.
    • Policy makers and other stakeholders
    • Staff in HEIs with a remit for researcher development
    • Supervisors, principal investigators
    • Researchers
    • Employers
  • Glossary & FAQs
  • Implementation examples
  • Introductory materials
  • Graphics
  • Researcher profiles
  • Professional Development Planner
  • Future developments
    • Highlighting RDS release to HEI PVC and HR
    • Vitae training resources updated to include mapping to the RDF
    • Key messages leaflets for stakeholders
    • More examples of RDF use by HEIs
    • RDF background paper
    • RDF lenses and associated methodology
  • Resources for researchers
    • Examples of professional development planner including action plans
    • Dedicated RDF webpages for researchers
    • Professional development planning support
    • Researcher employability guide highlighting how the skills that employers want can be mapped to the RDF
  • Image FlickrID: 姒儿喵喵