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Research Careers Framework


  • The HR website contains detailed policy information and supports enabling the implementation of the Research Careers Framework in the SET and HSS research areas. For information on the background to the initiative at UCD, including the national and European context, the anticipated benefits, and the implementation timeframe, please see the UCD Research Skills & Career Development site.

The UCD Research Careers Framework (RCF) establishes a structured and supportive skills and early career development model for Post-Doctoral Fellows at UCD, as recommended in the sectoral Advisory Science Council (ASC) policy document ‘Towards a Framework for Research Careers’. The UCD Framework represents a joint initiative between UCD Research and UCD HR. This initiative will directly support UCD in achieving its research goals.

UCD is demonstrating significant leadership in the sector in being the first University to customise and apply these recommendations.  The Chair of the UCD initiative, Professor Dolores Cahill, was also the Chair of the ASC Taskforce responsible for producing the sectoral recommendations.

UCD Research Career Framework (RCF) is illustrated below. The two project phases designed to support the implementation of this Framework are also described.



Phase One:  The first phase of implementation launched in March 2010 and focused on providing employment policy and guidelines for Post-Doctoral Fellows. Phase One was rolled-out initially in the Science, Engineering & Technology (SET) research areas, including the Colleges of Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, as they comprise the majority of the Post-Doctoral Fellow population at UCD.

Phase Two: The second phase of the initiative formally launches the proposed UCD Research Skills & Career Development (RS&CD) Framework for the Post-Doctoral population at UCD, designed to support Post-Doctoral Fellows in the development of skills and the management of their early careers.

Implementation communications: Both phases of implementation are supported by College communication briefings to key impacted groups.

  • Phase One briefings will focused on the employment policy changes for Principal Investigators.
  • Phase Two briefings introduce the UCD Research Skills and Career Development (RS&CD) Framework to Post-Doctoral Fellows and their Principals Investigators.

Impacted groups are strongly encouraged to attend these briefings to ensure that they are familiar with the new Research Careers Framework at UCD. These will be advised through the College.

Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS):

Implementation of the tailored model to the HSS Colleges of Human Sciences, Arts and Celtic Studies and Business & Law will take place over June and July 2010. Briefing sessions will be advised through the College.


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RCF Policies & Support Contacts

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Research Careers Framework - Highlights

  1. A new research career structure with clear role definitions
      • Post-Doctoral Fellow: An on-the-job training role that in SET Colleges can last between 4- 6 years, (in HSS Colleges between 1-3 years), divided into two phases, Post Doc 1 (PD1) and Post Doc 2 (PD2)
      • Research Fellow: A non-tenurable early stage academic role providing the opportunity to pursue a specific project typically funded by the Fellow

  2. A structured employment framework with a career path that is supported by clear contract management policy and consistent recruitment processes
      • Aiming to provide the SET Post-Doctoral Fellow with a two-year contract(one to three year contract for HSS - TBC) and implementing a clear exceptions management policy to manage any exceptions to the standard contractual options
      • Structured recruitment services tailored to support the new career path

  3. UCD Skills and Career Development (SCD) Framework and supporting policy
      • Enabling Post-Doctoral Fellows to plan their career and to access training and development activities that support both their role as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and their longer-term career goals
      • Establishing a feedback process that supports Post-Doctoral Fellows in accessing their PI for input on their progress (the adoption of the UCD Research Skills and Career Development (RS&CD) Framework satisfies requirements for the PMDS process at UCD)

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