Researcher Development

Individual development support

Identifying your individual development needs

The University is a subscribing member of Vitae, the UK organisation dedicated to the professional and career development of researchers. The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) identifies the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers. You will find guidance on how you can use the Vitae Researcher Development Framework to identify your individual development needs. To support career progression, Vitae has developed an on-line Professional Development Planning (PDP) programme. 

Alternatively, The University of Kent Researcher Development Assessment (RDA) is an online self-assessment tool that helps you review your current mix of skills and identify skills you may need to develop to progress your career. Completion of the RDA is compulsory for all new PhD students and its completion is a condition of the PhD probation review. For all other research staff the RDA is an optional resource.  If you are a post-doctoral researcher who would like to complete the RDA please contact the Postgraduate Development Coordinator.  

The Vitae RDF Planner is a web based application which organisations and individuals can use to map professional development using the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF).  Researchers can use the RDF Planner for professional development, to identify strengths, action plan, review achievements and create a portfolio of evidence. The University is not currently subscribed to the RDF planner and encourages use of the Kent Researcher Development Assessment.  If you judge that the RDF Planner would be a valuable tool in your career development, please discuss this with your manager then contact us for further information.

Reflect, Plan, Develop (RPD)
You can use any of the tools above to inform a discussion with your research manager or as part of your RPD (University review or `appraisal’ process), Research Plan or Personal Development Plan. Once you have agreed a development or training plan - through this website you can identify researcher development provision to meet those needs. Where there is a cost, grants are available, by application, to support your training. 


The University offers an extensive individual mentoring programme. Learning & Development facilitate mentoring workshops, co-ordinate the University mentoring network and offer a mentoring workshop specifically for researchers. For information about mentoring for researchers please contact us.

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Gaining experience outside HE

Internships and professional placements can be suitable for researchers at all career-stages, on an academic track or for those exploring opportunities outside academia. They provide the opportunity to gain experience with commercially-driven, not-for-profit or public-funded organisations. This experience can help you develop your professional skills and to broaden your career options.

Vitae provide information on the benefits of internships and professional placements for researchers and resources on placements and internships outside academia and researcher-business interaction.

Please talk to your manager about placement or secondment opportunities that may be available through your School or contact us if you have suggestions for a placement or secondment.

Also see the information on Careers and Employability.

Professional registration and CPD
If you are a member of a Professional Institute - and have an enquiry about accessing their CPD processes that cannot be addressed through your School, Centre or Unit - please contact us.


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Last Updated: 05/08/2015