Developing as a researcher

Successful researchers think carefully and strategically about their skills, objectives and the areas in which they need to develop. Your university is likely to encourage, or even require, you to engage in processes such as a training needs analysis and personal development planning. These processes are designed to identify where your development needs are and to help you to address them. An overview of these core processes is described in this section:

Training needs analysis

A key part of your development as a researcher is to identify the training you require to enhance your capabilities as a researcher. The first stage of this process is often known as a training needs analysis (TNA) and will commonly be supported by a formal process using forms and meetings with your supervisor. Once you have completed this thinking you will be able to create a professional development plan detailing the training and development opportunities you need.

  • preparing for one-on-one reviews with your supervisor or careers advisor where you will be discussing your professional or career development
  • prioritising the most appropriate formal and informal development opportunities provided by the institution
  • considering skills and experiences that will enhance your prospects of success in particular careers.

Your training needs analysis can be informed by a self-audit, but it will also help to involve your supervisor and your peers. Ask your supervisor and peers to help you identify the level of the skills required to undertake your project and associated activities. No-one can be successful in all aspects of being researcher, so you will benefit most by concentrating in excelling in competencies that are core to your research and future career plans.