The Researcher Development Framework (RDF)

The RDF is a professional development tool that was developed by Vitae. The purpose of the framework is to support researchers in realising and planning their career development. The RDF articulates knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers at all stages of the research career. It can be used as an aspiration or as a hands on planning tool.

Information about the RDF can be accessed via the Vitae website:

RDF frontpage

Full content of the framework

Framework lenses

The framework consists of four domains:
Domain A: Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities
Domain B: Personal Effectiveness
Domain C: Research Governance and Organisation
Domain D: Engagement, Influence and Impact

Researcher Development Framework

Download the RDF (PDF)

How do researchers use the Vitae Researcher Development Framework?

Vitae asked researchers in different disciplines and at different stages of their careers how they have benefitted from using the RDF. Read how they collected evidence of strengths and areas for development and reflected on how it was useful to them in the researcher profiles.

RDF briefing papers

For research staff
For Principal Investigators

Liverpool Doctoral College

The Liverpool Doctoral College provides a PGR development online resources area’ on the University’s online learning platform, Canvas.

You will need to log in with your MWS credentials, with your username in the format

Access the ‘LDC Development Online resources area’

This resource is open to all PGRs at the University of Liverpool and can be accessed at any time. Resources include:

  • Taking Ownership of Your PhD - materials from our introductory workshops for new PGRs
  • Communicating in Writing - materials to develop your academic writing, for your thesis and research publications
  • Communicating Through Presentations - materials looking at the requirements for research presentations and academic posters
  • Research Productivity - materials covering time and project management
  • Resilience and Wellbeing - ways that you can manage the challenges of life as a researcher
  • Career Planning - guidance and an online course and help to prepare for the next step in your career
  • Creativity and Critical thinking - an introduction to the problem-solving, innovation and critical thinking skills needed as a researcher.