Vitae Researcher Developer Professional Recognition Survey

Vitae Professional Recognition for researcher developers

Make a difference to the Researcher Development Community through your input into Vitae’s proposed Professional Recognition for Researcher Developers.

Deadline for survey completion: 16 February 2018

Vitae has been involved in the career and professional development of researchers for many years, gaining reputation as experts in this field. Vitae is currently exploring the feasibility of providing professional recognition for researcher development professionals including associate trainers and other university staff/professionals who have a role in developing researchers.

We would welcome input from the sector on the:

  • Proposed recognition model
  • Proposed recognition process and costs

Why is Vitae exploring recognition?

It has been widely recognised that within the researcher development profession roles, job descriptions, titles, responsibilities and development opportunities are many and varied. Researcher developers within our network have indicated that it would be helpful to be recognised for the competencies they have gained in their role to support them to advance in their careers.  Vitae is therefore exploring the feasibility of providing recognition for our community. Vitae plan to use the Vitae Career Framework for Researcher Developers (CFRD), established with sector consultation in 2012, to develop the criteria to achieve.

Benefits of the recognition

For researcher developers:

  • Authenticity and credibility – leading by example through demonstration of commitment to own CPD
  • Recognition and endorsement of competencies and skills to build reputation and esteem
  • Aspirational route for progression within role, or into other roles, through a clear development pathway
  • Distinguishing oneself in a competitive market
  • International recognition
  • Belong to a recognised network of fellows/community
  • Professionalisation of researcher development as a profession

For organisations:

  • Demonstrates commitment to professional identity of staff/researcher developers
  • Highlights competencies of researcher development in the organisation
  • Strengthens and builds provision through enhanced competencies of researcher developers

Proposed recognition model

There would be 3 categories of recognition available:

  • Researcher Developer Associate
  • Researcher Developer Fellow
  • Researcher Developer Senior Fellow

Researcher Developer Associate

  • As you progress in your role as a Researcher Developer, you will be developing your skills and knowledge. Associate status recognises your commitment to development and the effect this has had on how you work

Researcher Developer Fellow

  • As an experienced Researcher Developer you will have broad responsibility for researcher development and the impact of your own development reaches further as you influence a wide range of people through your role. You can apply for Fellowship if you can demonstrate how your own development has influenced within your organisation and helped others to develop themselves and their careers

Researcher Developer Senior Fellow

  • As a highly experienced Researcher Developer you will demonstrate leadership through development of organisational policy and strategy, fostering an inclusive culture, innovating in your organisation and contributing to national and international initiatives around Researcher Development. Senior Fellowship recognises your significant expertise and reputation within the Researcher Development profession

Fellowships would be awarded on the basis of a successful and effective demonstration of a range of elements within CFRD. In deciding which category of Fellowship to apply for at this stage in your career, you would need to review the models available and determine which of the three is most appropriate to your practice and professional experience. Draft models for each category are below in Table 1.

Table 1 Proposed recognition pathway for researcher developers


Researcher Developer


Researcher Developer


Researcher Developer

Senior Fellow

Proposed Career stage

New researcher

development practitioner

Established researcher development practitioner

Leader of researcher development

Proposed evidence to be submitted (using STAR)

Total of 12 elements to be evidenced at
CFRD Stage 1

All 4 elements from ‘Underpinning Knowledge’

1 element from each section

3 additional elements – from any section

Total of 14 elements to be evidenced at
CFRD Stage 2

All 4 elements from ‘Underpinning Knowledge’

1 element from each section

5 additional elements – from any section

Total of 16 elements to be evidenced at
CFRD Stage 3

All 4 elements from ‘Underpinning Knowledge’

1 element from each section

7 additional elements – from any section

Submission via Portfolio format

Applicants would provide:

  • A narrative piece stating the number of hours of CPD that has been undertaken over the last 2 years, in what format, including personal reflections on the benefit
  • A portfolio of short pieces of reflective evidence, using a template (proposed to use STAR), to demonstrate competency for a range of elements at the CFRD stage indicated within the desired recognition model
  • 2 professional referees

Assessment and recognition

  • Each portfolio would be assessed by a trained assessor who would make recommendations to Vitae
  • Vitae would review recommendations and provide recognition as appropriate
  • Researcher Developers who did not achieve recognition on first application would be able to resubmit
  • Renewal is proposed for every 3 years, to include a short 500 word piece on CPD activities during the fellowship period


Vitae would use a pool of trained assessors. Fellows and Senior Fellows would be eligible to train as internal assessors for researchers’ recognition to build a peer review assessment group.

Who would be eligible to apply?

Researcher developers at any stage of their career would be eligible to apply for recognition.  As above, Vitae has defined 3 categories of recognition to cover the range of roles within researcher development.

Researcher developers:

  • may be based in any part of the organisation, e.g. in a graduate school, HR, staff development, careers service, student support or an academic department
  • might coordinate, manage or deliver provision
  • might work on the policy and strategic aspects of researcher development
  • may be responsible for researcher development as part of a wider role in the organisation.


The cost to apply for recognition would either be on an individual basis, or would be per institution.

Next steps

To contribute your thoughts and have an impact on the design of Vitae’s Professional Recognition for researcher developers please complete our survey