The UL Researcher Development Programme is a structured and comprehensive development programme for postdoctoral researchers (PD1 and PD2) aligned with the IUA Researcher Career Development and Employment Framework.


It provides postdoctoral researchers with the opportunity to develop and enhance their transferable skills and mobility for a variety of careers both in academia and beyond. The RDP is informed and guided by the ResearchComp: The European Competence Framework for Researchers (ResearchComp) is a tool to assess and develop researchers’ transferable skills and foster career development. The framework is structured in 7 competence areas covering the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of researchers. It sets out the wide-ranging knowledge, intellectual abilities, techniques and professional standards expected to do research, as well as the personal qualities, knowledge and skills to work with others and ensure the wider impact of research.

The competence areas are:

Cognitive abilities

  • Abstract thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Strategic thinking
  • Systemic thinking
  • Problem solving 
  • Creativity

Managing research

  • Mobilise resources
  • Manage Projects
  • Negotiate
  • Evaluate research
  • Promote open access publications

Work with others

  • Interact professionally
  • Develop networks 
  • Work in teams
  • Ensure wellbeing at work
  • Build mentor-mentee relationships
  • Promote inclusion & diversity

Making an impact

  • Participate in the publication process
  • Disseminate results to the research community
  • Teach in academic or vocational contexts
  • Communicate to the broad public
  • Increase the impact of Science on Policy and Society
  • Promote open innovation
  • Promote the transfer of knowledge

Managing research tools

  • Manage research data
  • Promote citizen science
  • Manage intellectual property rights
  • Operate open-source software



  • Manage personal professional development 
  • Show entrepreneurial spirit
  • Plan self-organisation
  • Cope with pressure

Doing research

  • Have disciplinary expertise
  • Perform scientific research
  • Conduct interdisciplinary research
  • Write research documents
  • Apply research ethics and integrity principles 


The UL Researcher Development Programme enables an individually tailored developmental journey. It consists of a suite or training programmes and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions where you as a researcher can learn the skills that you need to excel on your projects and enables you to forge your own successful career. On successful completion, you will receive your own unique digital badge, outlining all of the training received. This can be shared on your CV and social media to strengthen your professional profile.

3 steps to your Researcher Development Digital Badge:

1. Complete the Career Planner with your PI, including a skills assessment where you look at your strengths and weaknesses as a researcher.

2. Complete 5 CPD days. These CPD days must be completed as follows:

  • 3.5 days of face-to-face (live) training
  • 1 day of career planning activities with your manager. This can include mentoring, probation meetings and PDR meetings
  • 0.5 days of online training. LinkedIn Learning is available to all UL employees. See below for further details

3. While on the programme you must complete an e-portfolio which is a live document on the training you have attended and the impact it has had both personally and on your work as a researcher.

Once all of the above is complete, portfolios are submitted to HR for review. Successful candidates will receive a digital badge which outlines all of the training received.


Career Planner

Training Programmes


HR Research Logos