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Research Career and Researcher Development Frameworks

Researcher Development Frameworks have emerged to assist researchers to identify and plan for  the acquisition of relevant knowledge and skills as they progress through the different stages of a research career.

The European Framework for Research Careers outlines the stages of a research career as:

  • R1 First Stage Researcher (up to the point of PhD);
  • R2 Recognised Researcher (PhD holders or equivalent who are not yet fully independent);
  • R3 Established Researchers (researchers who have developed a level of independence);
  • R4 Leading Researchers (researchers leading their research area or field)

Words often used to describe,  or in association with,   the progress of a researcher from novice to Principal Investigator are ‘independent’, ‘leading’, ‘recognised leader’, ‘peer recognition’, ‘expert’, ‘international reputation’, etc. How does a researcher progress from working under a Supervisor or Mentor to becoming an internationally recognised expert in their field?  Research in the area of early career researcher development has identified the knowledge, skills and personal attributes which researchers need to acquire.  Higher educational institutions, including TU Dublin, have developed their own Researcher Development Frameworks.  Every researcher who joins TU Dublin comes with their own unique experience, skills, and aspirations. 

Using a Researcher Development Framework is:

  • an opportunity for a researcher to reflect on their own particular situation;
  • an opportunity to explore career opportunities;
  • an opportunity to  acquire  transferable skills. 

Researchers have busy personal and professional lives.  Having a Researcher Development Plan  supports a measured and personalised approach to individual researcher development.  ‘Roman wasn’t built in a day’ and the same can be said of developing a research career.  A researcher needs to make considerable effort and stay focussed over long periods of time in order to develop and sustain a  career in research.