New framework for training and developing world-class researchers now trialled in Europe


The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) developed in the UK by Vitae with universities and research institutes, is now being trialled across Europe. The European Science Foundation (ESF) is funding a study to assess whether is it feasible to apply a generic ‘framework for the professional development of researchers' across Europe based on the Researcher Development Framework. The study will involve researchers from a range of disciplines in six countries across Europe.

The study forms part of an ESF Forum project to encourage continuous professional development for researchers to enhance their employability inside and outside academia.

Dr Janet Metcalfe, Chair and Head, Vitae said: "This is an excellent opportunity to further validate the Researcher Development Framework by trialling its applicability across Europe."

The Researcher Development Framework is a professional development framework for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in universities and research institutes. It articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers and encourages them to realise their potential through engaging in professional development. The Researcher Development Framework has been incorporated into a Professional Development Planner (PDP) for use by individual researchers.

The Researcher Development Framework underpins the Researcher Development Statement, which is part of the UK strategy to train and develop world-class researchers. It sets out the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of effective and highly skilled researchers for a wide range of careers.  The Researcher Development Statement replaces the Joint Skills Statement published by the Research Councils in 2001 and has been endorsed by key stakeholders in the UK, including Research Councils UK (RCUK).

Professor Rick Rylance, RCUK Champion for Research Careers said: "We are delighted to endorse the Researcher Development Statement. It is vital that we continue to support the career development of researchers to ensure that the impact they have on the economic and social wellbeing of the UK is truly felt. RCUK encourage research organisations to use the new Researcher Development Statement to underpin their professional development programmes for students."

The flagship initiative of the European Commission Europe 2020 Strategy is Innovation Union. This includes a focus on the training and development of researchers to ensure Europe maximises the investment in research and is able to translate outputs for economic and societal value. There is growing international interest in the Researcher Development Framework as a way of ensuring that Europe's researchers are able to contribute to the Innovation Union aspirations.