Towards a framework for research career development

Robert Bray (Centre for Academic Practice & Learning Enhancement (CAPLE), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Stuart Boon (Centre for Academic Practice & Learning Enhancement (CAPLE), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

International Journal for Researcher Development

ISSN: 2048-8696

Publication date: 11 November 2011



The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the use of a framework and planner for researcher development introduced into the United Kingdom in 2010 by Vitae: an organisation whose purpose is to support the development of UK researchers.


Qualitative and quantitative data from two cohorts participating in an accredited researcher development course designed and delivered by the Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement at the University of Strathclyde were analysed.


Participants reported that the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) personal development planner (PDP) was useful in facilitating career development. Most found it relatively easy to use once initial perceptions of the tool as being overly detailed and complex were overcome. In addition, some technical problems with the software were identified. There was great variation in the manner in which the RDF was used (for instance in the number of descriptors selected). Although use was highly individualised, the full range of descriptors was used between the course participants.

Practical implications

The results suggest that the RDF PD planner has great potential in supporting researcher development, provided certain specified conditions are met – in particular the need to ensure individualisation, support, and researcher ownership of the outcomes. Further evaluation is necessary.


This is the first report on the RDF PDP being used in a researcher development course.



Bray, R. and Boon, S. (2011), "Towards a framework for research career development", International Journal for Researcher Development, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 99-116.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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