The Vitae RDF Planner for researcher developers, HR specialists, careers advisors and trainers

Research Development Framework Planner

How to get the best from the RDF Planner for your researchers

The RDF Planner has been designed to enable researchers to pro-actively and independently manage their professional development and evaluation has shown that researchers value the Planner as a resource. Researcher developers and those responsible for researcher development have a key role to play in the introduction and promotion of the Planner and can offer valuable support and encouragement in the way the Planner is integrated with institutional programmes and activities. 

Evidence from our evaluation shows that researchers really value face to face activities, one-to-one meetings, induction events, RDF workshops, training sessions to incorporate the RDF and RDF Planner, lunchtime sessions, departmental contacts and specifically targeted cohort groups. Below are some ideas and suggestions to get you started.  

Successful introduction

  • Hold an event or workshop to launch the RDF Planner to ensure maximum engagement. Invite PIs, supervisors and research managers as well as researchers - their awareness and support can be influential on researcher behaviour. Included in your Planner package are a number of resources and activities for a launch event that you can use
  • Ensure your organisation’s resources and courses are added to the RDF Planner before the launch if possible so you can demonstrate where they can be found
  • Promote the Planner through online and other communications channels as a new opportunity and new resource available
  • Highlight the Planner’s flexibility for researchers to use however they want to.

Maintaining engagement  

  • Provide regular informal contact opportunities, for example bulletins, buddy groups, meetings
  • Emphasise the notion of ‘dipping in’ regularly rather than working with the RDF in its entirety.
  • The RDF lenses and RDF cards are useful resources to encourage engagement
  • Demonstrate quick ways to add evidence whilst on the move and how the Planner can be used as a storage area
  • Ensure your organisational resources continue to be added to the Planner, and circulate updates

Tips for promoting the RDF Planner more widely

  • Get senior management buy-in to provide visible high level support
  • Evaluate usage regularly and make use of data for further planning
  • Link the Planner with another requirement, e.g. preparation for review meetings
  • Use personal relationships and networks to promote the Planner face-to-face
  • Introduce the Planner to supervisors and research leaders

What researchers say about the importance of contact and support when being introduced to and whilst using the RDF Planner:

“a seminar or workshop would have been more beneficial than email-only introduction”

“an individual one-to-one session with a career advisor or line manager could be very useful to have feedback and suggestions on the skills that need more attention.”

“A few reminders to update the RDF Planner would have motivated me to continue updating.”

“I’d like a training session to discuss the different examples, importance of RDF and its benefits”

“guidance on most efficient ways to use it, examples of completed or in progress RDF Planners to see how other people use it.”