Guidance for the Researcher Annual Professional Development Allowance

Researchers are expected to take ownership of their career, identifying opportunities to work towards their career goals and cultivate their independence. This includes engaging in a minimum of 10 days or 70 hours professional development (pro rata) per year as mentioned in the University’s Statement of Expectations.

Development needs (and the activities associated with them) vary with career stages. Therefore, individuals are encouraged to choose the activities most relevant to their current situation with input from and the agreement of their PI. Development activities might take place in a university setting, but importantly do not have to. Research staff are encouraged to explore a range of careers outside academia.

Professional Development takes a variety of forms, many of which are represented below. It is important to note that an activity would only count as development if it does not form a normal part of your job description i.e. teaching would only be a development activity if teaching (or that particular form/course/audience) is not a job requirement. This is to ensure fairness and transparency over the fact that development is about adding value to the status quo of your role.

Resources

This guidance is a living resource. It will be continually updated as the University cultivates its provision for supporting researchers to balance the delivery of their research and their own professional development.

Examples of what you can do to make the best use of your professional development time are indicated below, please note this is not an exhaustive list.

Development activities related to:
Contributing to policy developments aimed at creating a more positive research environment and culture within our institution and the wider community  

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Being a representative on a University Staff Association/Researcher Network 
  • Being a representative on a policy or governance committee, e.g. Athena Swan, Academic Board
  • Participate in an advocacy group 
  • Participate in HR Excellence in Research working group or equivalent

Development activities related to:
Participating in university-wide projects beyond research-related activities

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Contributions to organisational activities, e.g. projects on student employability

Development activities related to:
Engagement with career-related experts to explore careers outside academia

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Consultations with careers professionals
  • Undertaking career coaching
  • Training and secondments 
  • Employer engagement events

Development activities related to: 
Developing your independent research identity and broader leadership skills

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Time to pursue independent research
  • Consultancy
  • Visits to other research centres or groups
  • Organising seminars and networking events
  • Attending conferences, cultural/research festivals or local events
  • Placements at industry or policy organisations
  • Teaching or other relevant activities 
  • Speaking at other universities, conferences etc.
  • Outreach or widening participation activities bringing research into schools
  • Applications for seedcorn or travel funding
  • Peer review papers and grants
  • Join the editorial board of a journal
  • Provide training and development in an area of expertise e.g. Research Methods to peers
  • Engagement with networks and activities that enhance broader leadership skills, e.g. Research Staff Associations (RSAs), internal and external committees, KE and policy development groups.

Development activities related to:
Expanding your awareness and experience of the wider research system

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Knowledge exchange
  • Policy development
  • Public engagement 
  • Commercialisation activities, such as developing patents
  • Working with professional bodies/learned societies
  • Work shadowing publishers e.g. journal editors
  • Engaging with think tanks and related organisations
  • Shadowing (or jointly working on) grant application development and submission

Development activities related to: 
Maintaining a Development Portfolio 

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • On-the-job reflective practice, including reflections on career planning and performance/development reviews
  • Undertaking activities that are mapped against development frameworks such as the RDF, UKPSF, UKCGE’s Good Supervisory Practice Framework and receiving professional recognition 
 

Development activities related to: 
Oral dialogues and/or 1:1 conversations on development with colleagues and line managers  

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Peer observations of practice
  • Shadowing a colleague
  • Organising a mock interview and feedback session for a job in which you are interested
  • Participating in an action learning set
  • Development-focused conversations within performance reviews/appraisals
  • Critical reflection on practice
  • Discussions with a mentor or coach
 

Development activities related to: 
Engagement with relevant literature associated with areas for development of skills, knowledge and practice

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Online courses/curated content
  • Web-based development e.g. LinkedIn Learning 
  • Articles for career development such as from Vitae, or on general areas of science
  • Career-development books
 

Development activities related to: 
Skills development in a new area

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • An edX or Coursera course in data analysis
  • Pursuing externally recognised certifications 
 

Wider activities in your role as a key stakeholder within your institution and the wider academic community. 
Enabling you to develop the following skills: 

  • Awareness of the importance of Equality & Diversity
  • Monitoring, reviewing and reflection
  • Leadership and Management skills
  • Independence
  • Specific research / technical skills(where not a normal part of one’s job)
  • Academic writing skills / good written communication
  • Teamwork
  • Teaching and Supervision
  • Networking skills

Examples of what you can do

Liverpool Resources (intranet access may be required)

  • Be a STEM Ambassador 
  • Contribute to a recruitment panel
  • Critique colleagues’ grant applications and research publications
  • Supervise others, e.g. research and project students
  • Organise/attend internal networking/research-related events e.g. away days
  • Attend university-wide events, e.g. research staff conferences
  • Teach undergraduate courses, either internally or for other universities
  • Participate in a research ‘sandpit’
  • Build self-awareness and self-reflection