Implementing the Researcher Development Framework


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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

    1. 1. Implementing the Researcher Development Framework A joint Vitae NW & YNE Hub good practice workshop
    2. 2. 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
    3. 3. An introduction to the Researcher Development Framework Dr Vivien Hodges Vitae®, © 2011 The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited
    4. 4. Vitae vision and aims <ul><li>For the UK to be world-class in supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Build human capital by influencing the development and implementation of effective policy relating to researcher development </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance higher education provision to train and develop researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Empower researchers to make an impact in their careers </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence the impact of professional and career development support for researchers </li></ul>
    5. 5. Researcher development in context <ul><li>The UK is committed to the development of world-class researchers. </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers are critical to economic success </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers’ careers span a wider variety of employment sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Strong UK commitment to researcher development </li></ul>
    6. 6. Researcher Development Framework <ul><li>The professional development framework to realise the potential of researchers </li></ul>
    7. 7. The RDF <ul><li>Major new approach to researcher development </li></ul><ul><li>Builds the UK research base </li></ul><ul><li>Develops world-class researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances the personal, professional and career development of researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Developed through UK-wide interviews with successful researchers in a range of disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Led by Vitae in collaboration with the HE sector and other stakeholders </li></ul>
    8. 8. The RDF <ul><li>Framework of the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Enables self-assessment of strengths and areas for further development </li></ul><ul><li>Common framework across institutions in the UK </li></ul><ul><li>Universal language for communicating researcher capabilities </li></ul>
    9. 9. The RDS <ul><li>The Researcher Development Statement (RDS) is the strategic statement of the RDF: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>for policy makers and research organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>endorsed by >30 stakeholders including the Research Councils, QAA and the funding councils </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an evolution of the Research Councils’ Joint Skills Statement (JSS) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The RDS and RDF together provide: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>strategic statement (RDS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>operational framework (RDF) </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Using the RDF and RDS <ul><li>Researchers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>identify strengths and priorities for professional and career development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Managers and supervisors of researchers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fundamental to planning researcher development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staff supporting researchers in HEIs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>underpins strategies for researcher development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Policy makers, employers and other stakeholders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>realising researchers’ potential for all sectors of the economy and society </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>4 domains </li></ul><ul><li>12 sub-domains </li></ul><ul><li>63 descriptors </li></ul>
    12. 12. 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.’
    13. 13. Links and resources <ul><li>RDF: </li></ul><ul><li>RDS: </li></ul><ul><li>RDF profiles: </li></ul><ul><li>RDF professional development planner: </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: [email_address] </li></ul>
    14. 14. Development and validation Dr Julie Reeves
    15. 15. Development <ul><li>The Core of RDF determined by profession </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews with > 100 researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Representative sample: range of experiences, institution types, geographical context, disciplines and demographics </li></ul><ul><li>Phenomenographic method </li></ul><ul><li>Results: > 1000 characteristics and variants, clustered into common groups </li></ul>
    16. 16. Refinement & validation <ul><li>Core - refined and informed by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialist groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Validation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>End result = Sector Wide view </li></ul>
    17. 17. Interesting findings <ul><li>Personal effectiveness not disciplinary differences </li></ul><ul><li>Passion and curiosity </li></ul><ul><li>Not what you know, but what you do with it that counts - ‘at some point everyone is an expert in the subject’ (Professor - Arts) </li></ul><ul><li>Opposite of a PGR? - broad focus, ‘thick skinned’, able to transcend discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Underperformers (not in RDF): overly-narrow focus, lack of confidence, career plan, ‘terror of rejection’, unable to balance demands of role, lack of deliverables </li></ul>
    18. 18. Unique features - USPs <ul><ul><li>Lot of choice! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Core of RDF is what the profession identified as important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Richness, depth, flexibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Development framework’ - designed by researchers for researchers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shift from ‘training & skills’ to ‘development’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflects whole sector’s view - stands as whole piece </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Information and resources Dr Emma Gillaspy
    20. 20. RDF/RDS
    21. 21. Project background <ul><li>Background to the project </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation process </li></ul><ul><li>Project team members </li></ul><ul><li>Advisory group members </li></ul><ul><li>Research projects, literature reviews, methodology, presentation slides </li></ul>
    22. 22. Stakeholder groups <ul><li>Specific information for organisations and individuals about how the framework will be used. </li></ul><ul><li>Policy makers and other stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Staff in HEIs with a remit for researcher development </li></ul><ul><li>Supervisors, principal investigators </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Employers </li></ul>
    23. 23. Glossary & FAQs
    24. 24. Implementation examples
    25. 25. Introductory materials
    26. 26. Graphics
    27. 27. Researcher profiles
    28. 28. Professional Development Planner
    29. 29. Future developments <ul><li>Highlighting RDS release to HEI PVC and HR </li></ul><ul><li>Vitae training resources updated to include mapping to the RDF </li></ul><ul><li>Key messages leaflets for stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>More examples of RDF use by HEIs </li></ul><ul><li>RDF background paper </li></ul><ul><li>RDF lenses and associated methodology </li></ul>
    30. 30. Resources for researchers <ul><li>Examples of professional development planner including action plans </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated RDF webpages for researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development planning support </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher employability guide highlighting how the skills that employers want can be mapped to the RDF </li></ul>
    31. 31. Image FlickrID: 姒儿喵喵