Your Professional Development

The Researcher Development Concordat sets out an expectation that researchers will engage in a minimum of 10 days a year of continuing professional development (CPD) pro rata.  


Professional Development – What Does it Mean?

Taking part in continuing professional development (CPD) enables you to develop and enhance your skills and abilities. It’s a chance for you to invest in your development and work towards your personal, professional and career goals. This investment will enable you to embrace and reflect on your current skill set, putting them in context with your career goals and ambitions. While also identifying what new skills or further development you need to develop to meet your goals.

Our programmes and initiatives are underpinned by six priority themes:

  • Career Direction
  • Connection and Belonging
  • Researcher Integrity
  • Engaged Communication
  • Constructive Conversations
  • Innovative Ideas


Making a Professional Development Plan

Researchers should discuss with your line managers how you allocate and prioritise your professional development time. However, you, the researcher, should take the lead in identifying what is most appropriate for your own needs, situation and career aspirations.

We have developed this Planning Your Professional Development as a Researcher Moodle to help you get started.

We expect that your professional development (min 10 days a year) will include a mixture of practical experiences, mentoring, exploration of careers, self-directed learning or formal ‘workshops’ or ‘training’.

Note: an individual in one School might see a particular opportunity as ‘development’ (such as the opportunity to gain teaching experience), in areas where this is a normal expectation for research staff, it should not be considered as such.


What Does Professional Development Look Like?

Professional development isn’t only attending a training course – here are some examples of what professional development might look like.

 Development activities 


Committee, policy and organisational skills development    

  • Being a Research Staff representative on a School or Research Institute committee 
  • Participating in your School/Research Institute Athena Swan self-assessment team or sub-group 
  • Joining the Research Staff Assembly 
  • Joining a professional body committee  
  • Organising conferences or seminar series or Research Staff skills development, careers or networking events 
  • Taking on budget management or other skills development roles (with support from line manager) 

Career exploration 

  • Participation in careers events, workshops, MOOCS (online courses) 
  • Learning about other career sectors via Pathfinder Career Narratives – interviewing alumni, engaging with industry groups, secondments 

Teaching and supervision 

  • Experience of different types of teaching. If not available locally, opportunity to explore through the Centre for Open Studies, acting as a tutor for PGR workshops, or similar 
  • Inclusion in teaching-related committees and events at School level (e.g. open days) 
  • Formal or informal reflection on teaching (perhaps leading to a qualification) 

Knowledge exchange  

  • Public engagement opportunities 
  • Engaging with policy makers 
  • Developing innovations or commercialisation, including engaging in formal training, developing patents or business plan competitions where relevant 

Personal development planning and reflection 

  • Creating a personal development plan 
  • Working with a mentor 
  • Peer observations or feedback (e.g. on teaching or training)  

Developing new skills (outside of core technical skills required for current project) 

  • Formal learning – training courses 
  • Shadowing or peer learning 
  • Reading or online (e.g. MOOCS)