Background to the RDF and CIRCLE

“The RDF is a very important tool” Dr Johnny Ogunji, Ebonyi State University

The CIRCLE institutional strengthening programme aimed to build capacity in 29 institutions from 9 different Sub-Saharan African countries to support the career support of researchers with enhanced institutional provision.

The Institutional Strengthening Programme had two distinct but related aims, which were underpinned by the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF):

  1. Enhancing professional development support for early career academic staff
    Through a series of development opportunities and activities mapped to the RDF
  2. Developing a stronger institutional framework for supporting research, both in general and with reference to climate change. Using the RDF as a foundation for supporting researchers.

During the CIRCLE ISP institutions recorded key achievements:

  • Increased quality and quantity of training and support offered to early career researchers
  • Specific research training
  • Inclusion of fellows in their IPS Implementation group
  • Introduced or strengthened policies on career and professional development

Alongside this 15 institutions introduce institutional mentoring schemes and 8 new training programmes were produced collaboratively

Future proofing the researcher community: Delivering Institutional Strengthening Programmes

The RDF underpinned all of these activities by allowing those devising them to consider the aims and objectives of each activity and how these related to the RDF and at what phase (level) of the RDF.

As a result of the CIRCLE ISP, Africa based research institutions have strengthened capacity to support and enhance the career progression of research staff early in their careers especially in the following areas:

  • Capacity to support career and professional development planning for research staff, including training and awareness raising of the importance of developing researchers
  • Provision of academic mentoring for early career researchers 

Throughout the whole programme, the RDF was used as a foundational framework on both strategic and operational levels.