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Professional Development Needs

Professional Development Needs

Approaches to identifying professional development needs

mountain path with stepsFollow the steps below to establish your professional development needs which will stem from taking on or aspiring to a research leadership role.

  1. Identify the set of skills, knowledge and behaviours required by the research leadership role you have or want to prepare for. Use the frameworks below and the job description for the role (if there is one) to help you do this.
  2. Identify the set of skills, knowledge and behaviours you currently have or exhibit.
  3. Identify the gap between the two sets to give you your development needs. Bear in mind that the gap might be in your knowledge or it might be in your experience of applying the knowledge.
  4. Prioritise those things that are most important to the role and where you have least confidence, knowledge or capability.

Use dynamic development as an alternative approach to building your professional development plan which starts with your existing knowledge and your current situation and context. The approach does not assume there is a predefined set of skills you need to develop.

Use the information on courses, workshops, self-directed learning and resources within these web pages to identify things that will help you to meet your development needs an to create a plan to address them.

Discuss your development needs and plan with your mentor who should be able to help you identify and prioritise what yous to fulfil them. Your mentor can be invaluable in: identifying how your new knowledge and skills can be applied in your context; helping you to reflect on the impact your new capabilities are having on your research practice and; how to continue to develop your capabilities.

Frameworks for thinking about research leadership

frameworkInform your professional development needs through considering frameworks for skills and knowledge. Use as a start point the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) which provides a structured basis for considering the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of a successful researcher. Not everything in the framework will be relevant to the current stage of your career. Other frameworks include  promotion criteria, such as the University of Leeds promotions criteria, and professional recognition requirements, such as the Engineering Council’s competencies.

Identify what funders expect of Principal Investigators from the terms and conditions of research grants. For example the core terms and conditions of Research Council Grants and Wellcome's grant conditions. These terms and conditions form the contract between the University and the funder and indicate the responsibilities of the Principal Investigator as grant holder in leading and managing the grant.

You should not be constrained by these frameworks which because of their generic nature may not fit your individual circumstances. Use them as a means to prompt you to think about areas that you might need to develop.

To discuss your professional development needs with an Academic Development Consultant in OD&PL please email