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Doctoral College

Vitae RDF

The Research Councils’ views on skills training

The view of the development of transferable skills as an integral part of the research degree is supported by the seven UK Research Councils

“It is the Councils’ view that provision of generic skills training does not detract from, but contributes to, maximising research outputs by providing skills and tools to enable PhD students and postdoctoral researchers to become more effective in their research work as well as helping their subsequent careers.”

In 2001 the UK Research Councils set out a list of skills they felt that PhD students should be able to demonstrate on graduation. This document is called the Joint Skills Statement. An updated version of this document was produced in 2010 – the Researcher Development Statement (RDS). This divides the skills and attributes that postgraduate and early career researchers should have into four main domains:

  • Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities
  • Personal Effectiveness
  • Research Governance & Organisation
  • Engagement, Influence & Impact

You may hear both of these documents referred to, and although the details of the two differ, the message is the same – a research degree equips you with an enormous number of skills that will be crucial in whatever career you choose to pursue.

More information on Vitae and the RDF

graphic showing the various areas of professional development as per Vitae classification

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