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UCD Research Skills & Career Development

Forbairt Ghairme & Taighde Scileanna UCD

Frequently Asked Questions - General

  1. What is UCD Research Skills & Career Development?
    UCD Research Skills & Career Development (RS&CD) was introduced in the university in October 2010 as part of the Research Careers Framework establishing a structured and supportive skills early career development model for all Post-Doctoral Researchers Levels I&II (PD Fellows).  Through the provision of a dedicated career advisory and support service RS&CD helps PD Fellows access and understand a wider range of career options while supporting career mobility between academia, industry, public sector and enterprise.  
  2. What is the difference between UCD Research Skills & Career Development and UCD PMDS?
    UCD Research Skills & Career Development (RS&CD) is a development framework for PD Fellows. It is specific to the development needs of the PD Fellow. It will identify some of the key indicators that a PD Fellow will demonstrate across a number of development categories as they progress through their post doctoral positions.

    UCD PMDS is mandatory for all staff on a minimum of a one year contract, excluding  PD Fellows (Levels I & II).  UCD PMDS provides a framework or set of guidelines to support the ongoing development of staff in a structured and informed way.
  3. What are the benefits of the RS&CD process?
    Adopting a constructive approach to RS&CD planning provides a schedule to work to, facilitates motivation and offers a framework for monitoring and evaluating achievements.  It can lay the foundation for:
    • Assisting the PD Fellow in honing their knowledge and skills and bringing these to bear on the position they currently hold within UCD
    • Contributing in the fullest way possible to the goals of the research project and becoming a valued member of the research group
    • Re-appraising where a PD Fellow wants to go with their career and how to get there
    • Exposing the PD Fellow to and building-up transferable skills (such as business planning, networking, communications skills etc.) which will support the chosen career path
    • Positioning the PD Fellow to take advantage of development opportunities which may arise as well as making them happen.
  4. Are there any HR policies supporting UCD Research Skills & Career Development? 
    Yes, there are a number of HR policies and supports available enabling the implementation of the Research Careers Framework.  These are available on the HR website
  5. Has any of the other universities implemented a similar Framework?
    No. UCD is demonstrating significant leadership in the sector in being the first University to introduce and implement a Research Careers Framework.

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Frequently Asked Questions - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

  1. When should the first Planning Meeting take place?
    The First Planning Meeting should take place within three months of commencing your contract.  Both the Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (PD Fellow) and PI/mentor should agree on a suitable date, time and venue for the meeting to take place.  If your PI.mentor has not been in contact regarding a time to meet, please contact them directly to arrange.
  2. Do I need to do anything in advance of the Planning Meeting?
    Yes. You should complete the Self Assessemt (Sectione One of the Planning Document) clarifying your goals, identifying needs and exploring development options.  The completed form should be forwarded to your PI/mentor in advance of the meeting. 
    This self-assessment will assist you in identifying your current development needs and pinpointing where you need to focus your development over the coming 9-12 months.
  3. I am new to UCD, how will I find out about the Research Skills & Career Development Framework?
    • All new PD Fellows to UCD will receive an email on the RS&CD Framework shortly after commencing employment in UCD.
    • As part of your local induction, you should be informed about RS&CD by your PI/mentor/Head of School/Institute
    • New staff to UCD will be invited to attend the HR Orientation Programme which will have a module on the RS&CD Framework.  Information on who is involved and what the process involves will be provided.

    In addition to the above, all PD Fellows are welcome to meet on a one to one basis with the Research Careers Training Co-ordinator or the Post-Doctoral Career Adviser for further information.
  4. What happens if I request training and my contract is due to end soon?
    Both the PD Fellow and PI/mentor should ensure that any training/development request is both relevant and achievable within the timeframe of the existing contract.  Should there be an additional training need requested that was not discussed at the Planning Meeting, the PD Fellow and PI/mentor should discuss if this need can be addressed during the remaining duration of the contract.
  5. What career advice is available to me during my time in UCD? 
    A dedicated career advisor is available to provide information, guidance and advice to postdoctoral researchers on career planning.
  6. How long will I have to wait for a place on a training/development programme I requested?
    Training & Development programmes will be run on a demand basis.  As soon as your training request has been received by the Research Careers Training Co-ordinator an acknowledgment will be sent to you confirming receipt of your request indicating the timescale for the provision of your request.
  7. What if I require development, other than a training programme?
    You should discuss this with your PI/mentor at the Planning Meeting and agree on actions to ensure that the development required is provided.
  8. Who is responsible in ensuring that all development requested at the Planning Meeting (other than training programmes) is followed up on?
    While the PI/mentor is there to support the PD Fellow in their development, the PD Fellow is ultimately responsible for their own development.
  9. What is the cost of attending training programmes offered to PD Fellows under the RS&CD Framework?
    There is no charge for PD Fellows who attend training and development programmes listed on the Research Careers website unless otherwise stated. Failure to attend training requested may incur a cancellation fee.  All other development/training accessed should be arranged and funded at local level.  This should be discussed between PD Fellow and PI/mentor as part of the Planning Meeting. 
  10. Can I request a record of training attended?
    Confirmation of attendance on a training programme can be provided if requested.  However it is advised that the PD Fellow record training/development completed on their Planning Document.  This serves to remind both the PD Fellow and the PI/mentor of what has been achieved while helping the PD Fellow focus on what they got out of the development.
  11. I already completed PMDS, what should I do?
    If you already completed a PMDS review, any authorised training will be provided.  However, from September 2010 the RS&CD Process satisfies the requirement for PMDS for PD Fellows (Levels I & II) and participation and completion is mandatory.
  12. Is there a limit on the number of development objectives I can set at the Planning Meeting with my PI/mentor?
    It is recommended that up to three development objectives over a 9-12 month period be set.  A balance between the demands of the PF Fellow’s role and the desire for development needs to be maintained.
  13. How often should I meet with my PI/mentor?
    It is recommended that you should meet with your PI/mentor a minimum of twice during a two year contract.  Ideally, the First Planning Meeting should take within the first three months of your contract, with an Interim Meeting scheduled 9-12 months later and a Final Review towards the end of your contract.
  14. What happens if I met with my PI/mentor, forwarded the completed Planning Document with training requests to the Training Co-ordinator and discover that there is additional training I would like to attend?
    You should discuss this with your PI/mentor and if it is agreed that the training and development is relevant and achievable you should email the Research Careers Training Co-ordinator details of your additional requests.
  15. If I move from PDI level to a PDII level contract can I continue to use the existing Planning Document or do I need to start the process again.
    You may use the same Planning Document throughout your time in UCD.  Keeping a record serves to remind you of what has been achieved while also helping you to focus on what you got out of the development activity.  It is important to revise the RS&CD Plan to allow it evolve and adapt to your changing career priorities and development needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions - Principal Investigator/Mentor

  1. When should the First Planning Meeting take place?
    This should be arranged within three months of the PD Fellow commencing their contract.
  2. What do I need to do in advance of the First Planning Meeting?
    Discuss and agree with the PD Fellow a suitable date, time and venue for the meeting.  Ensure that the PD Fellow has a copy of the Self-Assessment form (Section One of the Planning Document) and is aware that the form should be completed and forwarded to you in advance. 
    Having completed the form, you should review and evaluate it against the PD Fellow’s work performance to date to see if it matches with your own experience of the PD Fellow.  At this stage you should make note of your observations of the PD Fellow and both sets of information will facilitate the discussion at the First Planning Meeting.
  3. My PD Fellow is based off-site.  Who completes the RS&CD process with them?
    The PI/mentor should complete the process with the PD Fellow however they may liaise with the PD Fellow’s supervisor for feedback ahead of the meeting (in agreement with the PD Fellow).
  4. Is there a limit on the number of development objectives that a PD Fellow can set at the Planning Meeting with their PI/mentor?
    It is recommended that up to three development objectives over a 9-12 month period be set.  A balance between the demands of the PF Fellow’s role and the desire for development needs to be maintained.
  5. How often should I meet with my PD Fellow?
    It is recommended that you should meet with your PD Fellow a minimum of twice during a two year contract.  Ideally, the First Planning Meeting should take within the first three months of the PD Fellow’s contract, with an Interim Meeting scheduled 9-12 months later with a Final Review towards the end of their contract.

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