3.1 Researcher Development Framework
Skills training and career development are key parts of the modern research student experience. Clearly all research students are expected to produce excellent research, but research funders, employers, and others look for research degree graduates who can also demonstrate a positive and structured approach to planning and managing their personal and professional development.
Undertaking a research degree is itself a major development opportunity and through the course of your degree you will develop and demonstrate skills in planning and managing a research project, personal time management, communications and presentations, networking and effective team working, and more. Additionally, the University offers a range of training programmes, events, and resources that will allow you to expand and enhance your skills base even further.
With all these development opportunities available, it is important that you take a structured and planned approach - this will help you make the most of the opportunities on offer and help you achieve your own personal and professional goals.
Training Needs Analysis
The first step in this process is to think about what skills you have already and what skills you need to learn or enhance. In short, you will need to ask yourself what are the skills I need to be an effective researcher and successfully complete my research degree? This process is known as a training needs analysis.
Research students are encouraged to use the Researcher Development Framework to help them in undertaking a training needs analysis.
The Researcher Development Framework sets out the knowledge, behaviours, and attributes that you are expected to demonstrate as a researcher. Effectively it is a summary of those things that characterise an effective and highly skilled researcher and which are looked for by graduate employers.
Using the Researcher Development Framework
As you look at the Researcher Development Framework, you will notice that it covers a very wide range of skills including discipline-specific subject knowledge and methodological understanding; generic research skills such as research management, ethics, and public engagement; personal attributes such as the ability to construct arguments and think critically; and the ability to advance your own development through networking and responsiveness to opportunities.
Your training needs analysis should follow this approach and take a broad approach to the skills you need to develop or enhance - these could include:
- technical or methodological skills you will need for your research
- information literacy and management
- analytical and problem solving skills
- project planning and management skills
- communication and networking skills
Use the Researcher Development Framework to think about the full range of skills you will need to develop both to complete your degree and to enhance your own employability and professional prospects.