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Research Careers Framework

Page updated 18 May 2023

The UCD Research Careers Framework (RCF) establishes a structured and supportive skills and early-career development model for Postdoctoral Researchers 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 HR People & Organisation Development and UCD Careers Network, both working closely with UCD Research, which directly supports UCD in achieving its research goals. The team is committed to building  innovative and practical supports to better embed the framework within the university and refine the  delivery of its activities and systems in line with the arising needs of our Early Career Researcher community


The Research Careers Framework was implemented in two project phases following consultation with the Academic Community:

  • Phase One:  The first phase of implementation launched in March 2010 and focused on providing employment policy and guidelines for Postdoctoral Fellows. Phase One was rolled out initially in the Science, Engineering & Technology (SET) research areas, including the College of Science and College of Engineering and Architecture (then known as Colleges of Life Sciences and College of Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences), since they comprised the majority of the Postdoctoral Fellow population at UCD.
  • Phase Two: The second phase of the initiative launched the UCD Research Skills & Career Development (RS&CD) Framework for UCD Postdocs, designed to support Postdoctoral Researchers in the development of skills and the management of their early careers.

UCD demonstrated significant leadership in the sector in being the first University to customise and apply these recommendations in 2010.


The specific inter-generational aspect of Postdoctoral Research Fellow Level I and II contracts (PD1 and PD2) necessitate an integrated training and development model which constitutes an integral part of the contractual terms and conditions which is a distinctive aspect for this particular employment category in UCD’s research population. 

The introduction of the Research Careers Framework has enabled: 

  • A research career structure with clear role definitions. 
  • A structured employment framework with a career path that is supported by clear contract management policy and consistent and equitable recruitment processes. 
  • A bespoke UCD Research Skills and Career Development (RSCD) programme and  framework, supporting Postdocs to plan their career and access targeted training and development activities.
  • A feedback process that supports Postdocs in liaising with their Principal Investigator (PI) for input on their progress and to agree on a strategy for the Postdoc’s development for the duration of their contract of employment with UCD. 

Development and Career Supports

Postdoctoral Researchers in UCD have access to tailored career services and to training and development activities that support both their role as a Postdoctoral Fellow and their longer-term career goals. 

The development programme is based on four key competencies: 

  1. Research and Research Management
  2. Personal and Professional Excellence
  3. Teaching Learning and Mentoring
  4. Innovation and Transferable Skills

Find out more about unique development opportunities for UCD Postdocs on our Development page.

In addition, UCD provides a dedicated career service which includes one-to-one meetings with the Research Careers Manager and access to tailormade workshops on topics such as Academic Applications and and non-Academic interview skills.

Contact UCD Research Careers

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777 | E: researchcareers@ucd.ie