Lenses on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework

Research Development Framework RDF domainsLenses on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) focus on knowledge, behaviours and attributes that are developed or acquired through, or used in, the broader contexts of being a researcher.  
Looking at professional development through a lens can help researchers strengthen their academic profile or prepare for transition into a new area of work.

Researchers can use lenses to:

  • Focus on a particular area of expertise they wish to develop
  • Recognise how their knowledge, behaviours and attributes can be used in  a variety of different contexts
  • Provide evidence of the transferability of knowledge, behaviours and attributes in a CV, in job applications and at interviews
  • Explore how the Vitae Researcher Development Framework relates to other professional frameworks and vice versa. How the knowledge, behaviours and attributes developed as a researcher can help achieve recognition from professional bodies

Those responsible for professional development or supervision of researchers can use lenses to:

  • encourage researchers to engage in activities such as enterprise, public engagement or teaching by illustrating how these contribute towards their professional development as a researcher
  • develop leadership potential, help researchers get started in research or settle into a new research community
  • enable researchers to recognise the learning they have acquired in other contexts and highlight the transferability of their  knowledge, behaviours and attributes
  • help researchers to consider personal goals in different contexts
  • strategically align training and development towards different areas of expertise; for example improving levels of public engagement by researchers; supporting leadership development.

The lenses

Employability lens

This lens highlights key competencies that employers look for when recruiting researchers to enhance their business. It focuses on the key knowledge, behaviours and attributes of researchers that can be applied or acquired working outside higher education research, as identified by a wide range of employers.

In the development of this lens, Vitae brought together published research into the skills that are most frequently desired by employers, and consultations with professional organisations and employers who have an interest in researchers’ employability.

Engineering lens  

This lens is for researchers in engineering and technology who aspire to achieve Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. It provides a bridge between the Vitae Researcher Development Framework and the competence and commitment standard for CEng status that is set out in UK-SPEC, published by the UK Engineering Council.

The engineering lens has been developed by Vitae and the Engineering Council. The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession, responsible for setting and maintaining internationally recognised standards of professional competence and ethics, and holding the Registers of professionally qualified engineers and technologists.

Enterprise lens 

This lens suggests how researchers’ potential for enterprise can be unlocked. With the growing pressures of a complex and uncertain world, enterprising researchers are vital to maximise the benefits gained from excellent research. The lens focuses on the knowledge, behaviour and attitudes that can be developed or acquired through, or used in, entrepreneurial activities.
The enterprise lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework has been developed with Research Councils UK (RCUK) and through consultation with Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK), the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE) and other key organisations working in the area of enterprise.

Getting started in research lens

This lens is for those in the first few months of their doctoral research. It focuses on the knowledge, behaviours and attributes required to start out in research and to begin developing as a researcher. The lens has also been incorporated into the RDF Planner.

Information Literacy lens 

In our increasingly information-based and information-filled society, information literacy is vital to finding, analysing and evaluating  data, undertaking literature searches, publishing and communicating ideas and findings to others. Put simply, information literacy is now fundamental to the whole business of research – and talking about it. This lens will help you get up to speed and stay there.

The information literacy lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework and the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy has been developed by the Research Information Network (RIN), SCONUL and members of the Working Group on Information-Handling.

Intrapreneurship lens

As the global research environment becomes more competitive, being one of researchers who drive and create internal change within universities and research institutes is an important and attractive aim. Understanding and developing  intrapreneurial skills will also enhance your employment options in organisations outside higher education. Read our report: Discovering innovation and intrapreneurship in researcher development.

The intrapreneurship lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework was developed by Vitae, based on the research conducted through a collaborative project with eight UK higher education institutions (Durham University, University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Strathclyde, University of Surrey, University of Warwick and Queen Mary, University of London).

Knowledge Exchange lens

This lens highlights the importance of knowledge exchange in the
professional development of researchers. The AURIL/Jisc Professional
Development Framework for Business and Community Engagement
has been reviewed in the development of this lens. The lens provides an
overview of the key knowledge, behaviours and attributes typically
developed by researchers that can be acquired through or used in
knowledge exchange activities.

The lens draws from a range of expertise and experience including the AURIL/Jisc Professional Development Framework for Business and Community Engagement, and through consultation with universities and other key organisations working in the area of knowledge exchange.

Leadership lens  

Leadership is about making things happen, inspiring and bringing others with you and seeing the bigger picture. Employers both inside and outside research institutions are looking for individuals with research skills but also for those who can demonstrate leadership potential. If you want to enhance your prospects, this lens identifies for you the key knowledge, behaviour and attitudes that will help you find and make the most of  opportunities to practice and demonstrate leadership.

The leadership lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework has been developed by Vitae and the Research Staff Development Advisory Group (ReSDAG) in consultation with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and other individuals and organisations with an interest in leadership.

Public engagement lens 

The ability to engage with the public is an increasingly important part of being a successful researcher Most researchers relish opportunities to talk about their research and are very aware of the increasing requirement of funders and research assessments to be able to demonstrate its impact. This lens highlights how researchers can develop confidence and expertise in participating in public engagement activities.  

The lens was developed in collaboration with the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). The NCCPE seeks to support universities to embed engagement into their work and to support researchers to develop their engagement skills. They have produced a wide range of useful resources for culture change and public engagement, accessible on their website.

Teaching lens

Teaching is an intrinsic and important part of most academic careers, and researchers applying for academic posts are increasingly expected to have some teaching experience, understanding and training. This lens maps the Vitae Researcher Development Framework to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching in higher education. It shows how the expertise, knowledge and values that are required for teaching in higher education and articulated in the UKPSF can be transferred from your broad researcher experiences, and further developed.

The teaching lens on the Researcher Development Framework and the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) has been developed by Vitae in consultation with the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Staff and Education Development Association (SEDA), the Heads of Education Development Group (HEDG) and researcher developers from a range of higher education institutions.

Researcher mobility lens

Being mobile and internationally connected is important in the research environment today, however there are a number of obstacles that researchers need to overcome when choosing to move to a new research environment. Amongst the obstacles to international mobility cultural differences are the most invisible and not the easiest to overcome as they are based on material factors, which differ from other matters like getting a visa or a place to stay. This lens has been developed to focus on the knowledge, behaviours and attributes that researchers can use in an international context to improve their effectiveness in a new research environment.

The researcher mobility lens has been developed by Vitae and universities and research institutions from 8 European countries through the ImpactE project, a EURAXESS FP7 project with a specific focus on the successful professional and social integration of researchers into a new environment.

Developing a new lens

Vitae continues to develop RDF lenses to illustrate other aspects of being a researcher and welcomes suggestions for new lenses and collaborative lens development. To protect and maintain the integrity of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and the Researcher Development Statement (RDS) and to ensure a consistent approach to the development of lenses on the RDF, anyone wishing to create a lens on the RDF should seek permission from Vitae, and must adhere to the RDF conditions of use.

Please with enquiries regarding the development of a lens on the RDF.