Research Careers Framework

The establishment and structure of the Research Careers Framework model in UCDl clarifies role definitions and enables better career planning.

Further information on the background to the initiative at UCD is available on the UCD Research Skills & Career Development site.

What is the Research Careers Framework?

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 directly supports UCD in achieving its research goals. UCD  demonstrated significant leadership in the sector in being the first University to customise and apply these recommendations.

Research Careers Framework - What does it mean for me?

  • A 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
  • A structured employment framework with a career path that is supported by clear contract management policy and consistent recruitment processes
    • Providing the SET Post-Doctoral Fellow with a two-year contract(1-3 year contract for HSS) and implementing a clear exceptions management policy to manage exceptions to the standard contractual options
    • Structured recruitment services tailored to support the new career path
  • 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 P4G process at UCD)

Outline of the framework

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 launched the 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.

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