As a UWTSD student you can make use of Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework Online Planning Tool

The planner underpins the UWTSD RDP and allows you to simply and easily take control of your professional and career development to:

  • Identify your expertise and capabilities
  • Plan your career
  • Focus your training effort where it is needed most
  • Record and showcase your achievements, recoding your UWTSD RDP Units
  • Monitor your progress
  • Use in professional development review meetings with your supervisory team
How do I access the Online Planning Tool?

Accessing the tool is quick and easy.  As a first step, you will need to register with Vitae as a UWTSD PGR student on their website.  Simply use your email and you will have access to all Vitae’s training resources. 

You can do this here

How do I use the Online Planning Tool?

The easiest way to learn how to use the tool is to watch the tutorials available in the resources section, and simply to explore it. Your supervisor will be able to assist you in this as well.   The ‘Introduction to the RDF’ pages below gives a detailed overview of how the RDF is structured (it does appear as very complex at first sight!).  Once this is understood, however, the tool should be very intuitive. 

Introduction to the RDF

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework, or RDF for short, is a framework of the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of excellent researchers. It is an international approach to support researcher development in building the research base in developing world class researchers.

The Vitae RDF provides a universal language for understanding and communicating your capabilities. It helps you to assess your strengths and areas for further development to ensure you improve as a researcher. It also supports you in reflecting on your achievements to date and planning for your future career.

Vitae provide clear and extensive resources on the nature and purpose of the RDF on their webpages

Please make sure you register and log in to access the full resources. 

How should I use the RDF?

You can use the Vitae RDF in preparing for meetings with your supervisor or updating your CV. By being more aware of your capabilities and having a plan for your future development you will be able to make more informed choices at key points throughout your research degree.

The Vitae RDF allows you to engage in reflective practice for your development. Research has shown that reflective practice can lead to deeper levels of learning and is a central element of effective professional development. Reflective learners are likely to be more self critical, self aware, independent in their learning, motivated, self-managed and open to feedback and different approaches. Your level of achievement can be raised by engaging with reflection and the associated processes of self-evaluation, action planning and goal setting.

How to use the Online Planning Tool

The Vitae RD is structured into 4 domains., each of which are accessed through the front page of the planning tool:

  • Domain A encompasses the knowledge, abilities and techniques to do your research.
  • Domain B covers the personal qualities and approach to be effective in your research career.
  • Domain C comprises the standards, requirements and professionalism of the research community
  • Domain D includes the skills you need to work with others and in contributing to the wider environment.

Vitae RD1

Within each of the Domains there are three Subdomains. These Subdomains are further divided into Descriptors. There are 63 Descriptors in total and each one is comprised of up to five phases of development.

Vitae RD2

You should reflect and consult with your supervisor about what phase you are currently in in each subdomain, and address the knowledge, skills, competencies and behaviours of the next phase up. Here is an example of

  • Domain A (Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities)
  • Subdomain A1 (Subject Knowledge)
  • Phase 2 and 3 (detailed knowledge of subject area, familiar with associated disciplines, can link my research to real-world affairs, can situate my work in an international context)

Vitae RD3

The tool will allow you to

  • access training and support materials
  • plan a detailed course of action with your supervisor (such as what opportunities you should participate in through the UWTSD RDP or through research focused tasks directly related to your research project and writing)
  • record evidence of your progress and generate reports for each.

Vitae RD4

The reports (accessed through the planner homepage) will allow you to:

  • See an overview of you agreed actions and action plan
  • See a library of evidence of your training and progress
  • View your completed actions and RDP Units
  • Generate useful evidence for your CV


RDF Resources

A series of very useful booklets explaining the RDF are available to download here, including explanations of the different ‘lenses’ which can further tailor your planning depending on your needs and aspirations.

These include

  • Employability
  • Engineering
  • Enterprise
  • Getting Started in Research
  • Information Literacy
  • Intrapreneurship
  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Leadership
  • Public engagement
  • Teaching
  • Researcher mobility

Vitae, © 2010 Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited'‌