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Generic and Transferable Skills Training for Researchers

During your time at UCL your primary focus will be the successful completion of an original piece of research and the production of a thesis. However, the Research Councils, other sponsors and employers alike are now expecting research students to be able to demonstrate that they have also developed generic and transferable skills to a high level.

Researcher Development Framework

The Researcher Development Framework was launched in September 2010 by Vitae and it is a professional development framework for planning and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers. It articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers and encourages them to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development. It was developed by and for researchers, in consultation with academic and non-academic employers.

The Researcher Development Framework is structured in four main domains, each including three sub-domains and further detailed descriptors. The Doctoral Skills Development Programme provides courses and events that cover all four domains:

  • Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
  • Domain B: Personal effectiveness
  • Domain C: Research organisation and governance
  • Domain D: Communication, influence and impact

The full Researcher Development Framework and further details on why focus on professional development.

You will find details of the skills training domains covered by each training course in the individual course descriptions. You should aim to take a range of skills training activities that will give you a breadth of generic skills across the four domains. Guidance on making the most of the development opportunities presented by the Skills Development Programme and best use of the Research Student Log is included in our course Introduction to Skills Development and the Research Student Log.

Research Council Funded Research Students

In 2002 Sir Gareth Roberts published his Review 'SET for Success'. Amongst other issues, the Report stipulated the need for minimum standards to include two weeks' dedicated training a year, principally in transferable skills.

It is mandatory for all Research Council funded research students at UCL to undertake the equivalent of 2 weeks of skills training per year (20 points per year). It is recommended that all research students take full advantage of the skills programme.

Vitae and the London Hub

Vitae is the UK organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education institutions and research institutes. Vitae is dedicated to providing support to help researchers complete their PhD and make the successful transition from doctoral studies to a future career.

Vitae provides a range of activities to support postgraduate researchers doing research, pursuing researcher careers, or participating in national events.

There are eight Vitae Regional Hubs that support universities in their region to deliver high quality needs-based personal and professional development for researchers. UCL is part of the London Hub.

What Do Researchers Do?

Vitae published a series of publications on destination statistics of PhD graduates in the UK. What do researchers do? publications provides information about what a PhD is, who undertakes a PhD, where PhD graduates work and what skills they can offer employers, including case studies from a variety of different disciplines. Further resources and publications.

The Doctoral Skills Development Programme team works closely with colleagues in academic departments, UCL's Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, the UCL Careers Service, UCL Advances and other key areas of College to ensure that the programme of skills training on offer develops to meet the needs identified by students, supervisors and employers, in addition to the areas identified by the Research Councils.

Page last updated: 23rd April 2015