The Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a professional development framework for researchers.  It describes the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers and can be used by individual researchers at all stages of their career. Further information is available on the RDF section of the Vitae website including quick tips, development advice and examples for each of the four domains (A, B, C and D).

Doctoral researchers at Sheffield Hallam University are required to undertake a skills audit against the 63 descriptors of the RDF and put together a development plan in conjunction with their Director of Studies. This plan should then be reviewed on a regular basis. New doctoral researchers will be briefed on the new arrangements for this during the rolling induction process.

Links to further support and guidance on professional development planning

Doctoral School sessions – Professional Development Planning and using the Vitae Researcher Development Framework

Guidance document – Doctoral Skills Training – Guidance 2023-24

Vitae online course – Professional Development Planning for Researchers (PDP ROC)

Reflective writing – Skills Centre resources on reflective writing

Further information about the RDF can be found on the Vitae website.  In order to access full member content you will need to register on the Vitae website with your SHU email address.   Link to further information about the RDF on the Vitae website


The RDF was developed by Vitae, which is managed by CRAC: The Career Development Organisation.
Vitae, © 2010 Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited