The Vitae RDF Planner for institutions

 Research Development Framework Planner

The benefits of the RDF Planner to your institution

Evidence from the evaluation of a large scale pilot study in the UK shows that using the RDF Planner encourages both research staff and doctoral researchers to think more about their professional development planning and to set aspirational goals. A number of specific other benefits include: 

  • Demonstrating your organisation’s commitment to researcher development
  • Encouraging researchers to take responsibility for their own development and to record their achievements
  • Enabling researchers to have better developmental conversations with their supervisors or research team leaders
  • Providing a single storage space for researchers to record professional development
  • A repository for evidence in a variety of formats
  • Pointing researchers directly to your courses and resources
  • Monitoring researcher activity levels through a straightforward interface
  • Generating reports for benchmarking, training needs anaylsis and policy development

View our RDF Planner researcher tutorial

View our RDF Planner administrator tutorial

How to maximise the benefits

Once you have subscribed to the RDF Planner, there are two stages to maximising the benefits for your organisation; a carefully planned introduction followed by ongoing institutional support for Planner use. Visible senior management and support is important.

Information and practical strategies for successful introduction are included in our guidance materials, but there are a number of other ways in which institutions can make sure their investment in the RDF Planner, and their researchers’ time investment, has a significant effect:

  • Linking to the professional development opportunities for researchers offered by you
  • Branding the RDF Planner with your organisation’s logos
  • Raising supervisor and PI awareness so RDF Planner use can be encouraged in face to face situations, e.g annual reviews
  • Monitoring researchers' engagement with professional development planning
  • Embedding RDF Planner in Codes of Practice
  • Promoting the RDF Planner as the institution’s preferred professional development tool.

The RDF Planner package for institutions

No technical set-up or maintenance work is required from organisations or their IT teams. Vitae (through its parent organisation CRAC) provides a full hosting service for the Vitae RDF Planner with all data being securely backed up on a regular basis in accordance with good practice.

The RDF Planner is an intuitive, easy to use tool, and within the RDF Planner package there are a number of resources, help guides, videos and screencasts available to both administrators and researchers to set up and use the Planner.  

Subscribing organisations have access to the RDF Planner community of practice for sharing advice and practice, for example on how to engage researchers with professional development planning, to manage resources and to make best use of the RDF Planner.

RDF subscription models

There are a number of subscription models that can be explored with us when you are looking to subscribe to the RDF Planner. We want to find the model that best suits your needs. For example, some organisations have chosen to offer the Planner to all their researchers, whilst some have opted to subscribe only for a defined cohort, such as first year doctoral candidates or those on a particular programme. Others subscribe as part of a network of partnership organisations and some are offering the RDF Planner to include those in their international campuses. We would be delighted to have a conversation with you to ensure your needs are met. Please to arrange a suitable time for a discussion.

An organisational subscription is based on the size of the cohort of researchers you wish to use the system. This allows you to align the use of the RDF Planner to your long-term researcher development strategy either by starting with all researchers, targetting specific cohorts, or increasing cohort size over time. You can increase and decease your subscription cohort at any point. In addition, all subscribing organisations pay a one-off charge in the first year to:

  • set up the account for your organisation
  • benefit from the dedicated support given to your Planner administrator(s) by the Vitae team.

The annual subscription then provides ongoing access to a help desk, system maintenance and updates, data hosting, storage and security.

As the examples below show, in most cases as the number of researchers in your cohort increases, the subscription rate per researcher decreases. A cohort can be any identifiable group of researchers, for example all researchers in the organisation, doctoral candidates by year or discipline, research staff, research groups and so on. The cohort may include users from a number of organisations, where there is, for instance, collaborative research or a doctoral training centre. Subscription rates are in bands according to the number of researchers in each cohort.

For more information please   or telephone 01223 460277 (UK), +441223 460277 (international).

Example subscriptions: UK institutions

Cohort sizeSet-up

Total payable
Year 1 

Total payable from year 2 onwards
Institution A 50 £550 £1,750
(inc. £550 set-up)
Institution B 1000 £550 £6,550
(inc. £550 set-up)

NB. All the above figures are excluding VAT and are for guidance only. Vitae members benefit from a 10% discount on Planner subscriptions.

Example subscriptions: international institutions

Cohort sizeSet-up (inc. RDF licence)Total payable year 1 Total payable year 2 and following years
Institution A 50 £1,550  £3,000
(inc. set-up and licence) 
Institution B 1000 £1,550 £9,000 (inc set-up and licence) £7,450

NB. All the above figures are excluding VAT and are for guidance only. Vitae members benefit from a 10% discount on Planner subscriptions.

Individual subscriptions

Researchers can subscribe on an individual basis to the RDF Planner for £24 per year, however with this subscription they will not get the added value of an institutional subscription.

Conditions of use

Conditions of use for the Vitae Researcher Development Framework 

Conditions of use for the Vitae RDF Planner