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).

The RDF Planner

Doctoral researchers at Sheffield Hallam University are required to use the RDF Planner online system 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 contacted by the doctoral school team with details of how to access the RDF planner via the institutional licence.

To request an RDF planner account please contact Liz Brearley via

Once you have this, you can login to the RDF planner  via

Links to further support and guidance on professional development planning

Doctoral School sessions – Professional Development Planning and using the RDF Planner

Guidance document – Doctoral Skills Training – Guidance 19-20

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

Reflective writing – Skills Centre resources on reflective writing

Further information about both the RDF and the RDF Planner 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.  Please do not register for an RDF Planner account yourself via the Vitae website but instead request it from

Link to further information about the RDF on the Vitae website (register with your shu email for full member access).

Link to further information about the RDF Planner on the Vitae website (do not register for an RDF Planner account on the Vitae website if you are a current SHU student/member of staff)


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