The UL Researcher Development Programme gives postdoctoral researchers an opportunity to enhance their skills in key areas identified by Vitae as essential in building excellence within the research community. These form the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). The framework is structured into four domains 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. These are:
Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities. The knowledge, intellectual abilities and techniques to do research
Domain B: Personal effectiveness. The personal qualities and approach to be an effective researcher
Domain C: Research governance and organization. Knowledge of the professional standards and requirements to do research
Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact. The knowledge and skills to work with others to ensure the wider impact of research
The UL Researcher Development Programme consists of a suite or training programmes and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions where researchers can learn the skills that they need to excel on their projects and enable them to forge their own successful careers. There are 3 parts to the programme:
- Participants complete the Career Planner including a skills assessment where they look at their strengths and weaknesses as a researcher.
- They then choose 10 training sessions (1 credit per session). Most of these have a duration of half a day. They also attend any of the ‘lunch and learn sessions’ (3 sessions equals 1 credit)
- While on programme they complete an e-portfolio which is a live document on the training they have attended and the impact it has had both on them personally and on their work as a researcher.
Once all of the above are complete, portfolios are submitted to HR for review. Successful candidates will receive a digital badge which outlines all of the training received. This can be added to websites, LinkedIn CV’s and other media.
Benefits to Researchers of the RDP
The programme builds essential leadership and management skills that are known to enhance researchers research output and career prospects, whether they chose to remain in academia or move into other areas of employment. These include:
- Resilience and independent working
- Communication skills
- Networking and influencing skills
- Project Management
- Personal development
- Strategic career planning
- Time management
- Writing and publishing skills
As well as the above, researchers on the programme get an opportunity to meet postdocs from other faculties, increasing their network and opportunities for collaboration.