Kent Graduate School

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The Researcher Development Framework (RDF)



The Research Councils UK (RCUK) undertake an important role in setting standards and identifying best practice in research training. RCUK have welcomed the publication of the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) as a reference document that sets out the knowledge, behaviours and attitudes of effective and highly skilled researchers. It will assist in supporting and promoting the enhancement of the quality of research training and the employability of early stage researchers. The RDF is a tool for promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education. The Researcher Development Statement (RDS) is a reference document which describes the domains, sub-domains and descriptors of the full framework. The descriptors are structured in four domains and twelve sub-domains, encompassing the knowledge, intellectual abilities, techniques and professional standards to do research, as well as the personal qualities, knowledge and skills to work with others and ensure the wider impact of research. Each of the sixty-three descriptors contains between three to five phases, representing distinct stages of development or levels of performance within that descriptor.

The purpose of this statement is to give a common view of the skills and experience of a typical research student thereby providing universities with a clear and consistent message aimed at helping them to ensure that all research training was of the highest standard, across all disciplines. It is not the intention of this document to provide assessment criteria for research training. If you would like a copy of the full framework you can download a PDF from Vitae (non-Kent website).

RDF domains and descriptors

The Graduate School does not seek to cover all aspect of the RDF with regard to training, as it is recognised that some of the areas below will be provided at a school level.






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Last Updated: 08/09/2016