What is the Researcher Development Framework (RDF)?

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) by Vitae is a professional development tool. The RDF is based on extensive interviews with researchers and highlights key areas of development for academic and postgraduate researchers.

The RDF breaks down the core knowledge, behaviours, and attributes of successful researchers into four broad domains: Knowledge and intellectual abilities; Personal effectiveness; Research governance and organisation; and Engagement, influence, and impact. These areas are broken down further into subdomains and their constituent attributes to help you identify the specific skills you want to develop.

More detailed information about the RDF can be found on the Vitae RDF webpage.

The Researcher Development Framework domains. 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 organisation - The knowledge of the standards, requirements and professionalism to do research. Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact - The knowledge and skills to work with others and ensure the wider impact of research.

Why should I use the RDF?

The RDF enables postgraduate researchers to identify key areas by which they can enhance, refine, and develop skills necessary for their research and future career prospects.

Using the RDF’s core domains can help lead discussions with your supervisor about how best to develop in your academic and transferable skills. The framework can also make it easier to identify which GRADskills workshops will help you succeed in achieving your goals and refining your skills.

How do I use the RDF?

The RDF can be used in a number of whys to help you identify training and development needs no matter what stage you are at in your research career. Using the framework can help you to:

  • identify your strengths and gaps in your development
  • prioritise development needs and break down goals into more manageable steps
  • monitor your progress and engage in reflective practice
  • translate academic skills to non-academic settings
  • pinpoint appropriate workshops and opportunities based on your development needs

All of the GRADskills workshops are mapped to RDF subdomains, making it easy for you to identify which workshops are most relevant to your development goals.

We also have a limited number of licenses for Vitae’s online RDF Planner which you can use to identify strengths, action plan, review achievements, and create a portfolio of evidence. If you would like access to the Planner do not sign up via the Vitae website. Instead, please email [email protected] to request a license.

RDF domains

The RDF splits a variety of skills into four different sections known as domains. Each of these domains highlights particular skills to focus on and develop. The four domains are A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities; B: Personal effectiveness; C: Research governance and organisation; and D: Engagement, influence, and impact.

For more information on the RDF domains, click on one of the tiles or headings below to learn more:

Contact us

St Leonard's College
The Old Burgh School,
Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB

[email protected]

Phone:+44 (0)1334 46 2003

Upcoming events

Data management plans:writing workshop for first year reviews
Wednesday 15 May 2024, 9.30am to 11.30am
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Stretching and Meditation with Penny
Wednesday 15 May 2024, 5.30pm to 6.30pm
Muir(109), Old Burgh School
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PG Cafe
Thursday 16 May 2024, 2.30pm-4.00pm
Fairlie Social Area, Old Burgh School

Shut up and Write(Online)
Thursday 16 May 2024, 2.00pm-5.00pm [POSTPONED FOR 28 May 2024]
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EndNote: an introduction (online)
Wednesday 22 May 2024, 11.00am – 12.30pm
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Microsoft Word: Producing a Thesis
Thursday 23 May 2024, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Eden Campus Classroom, Guardbridge
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PG Cafe
Thursday 23 May 2024, 2.30pm-4.00pm
Fairlie Social Area, Old Burgh School

Board Games Night
Friday 24 May 2024, 4.30pm
Fairlie Social Area, Old Burgh School

Mini Writing Retreat
Tuesday 21 May 2024, 1.00pm-5.00pm
Muir (109), Old Burgh School
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EndNote: an introduction (online)
Monday 27 May 2024, 10.00am – 11.30pm
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Shut up and Write(Online)
Tuesday 28 May 2024, 12.30pm-3.30pm
Online, email:[email protected] to signup.

Data Management Plans: writing workshop for first year reviews (in-person)
Wednesday 5 June 2024, 9.30am – 11.30am
EndNote: an introduction (online)
Wednesday 22 May 2024, 11.00am – 12.30pm
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Microsoft Word: Producing a dissertation (MSkills)
Thursday 6 June 2024, 2.00pm to 5.00pm
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Software Carpentry 2 day workshop: Shell/Git/Python (GRADSkills)
Monday 17 June to Tuesday 18 June 2024 – full days
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Adobe Photoshop – Introduction to Vector Graphics (in-person)
Thursday 27 June 2024, 1.00pm-5.00pm
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Microsoft PowerPoint:Essential Skills (in-person)
Tuesday 2 July 2024, 1.30pm-3.00pm
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Microsoft Access: Introduction to Databases (in-person)

Tuesday 9 July 2024, 9.30am – 4.00pm
Walter Bower House, Eden Campus
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Microsoft Word: Advanced Document Management

Thursday 11 July 2024, 2.00pm – 4.30pm
Town Centre Classroom
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Microsoft Word: Controlling Document Design (in-person)
Tuesday 16 July 2024, 2.00pm – 4.30pm
Town Centre Classroom
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Microsoft Word:Producing a Thesis (in-person)
Thursday 18 July 2024, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Town Centre Classroom
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