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The VITAE Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a guide to your development as a professional researcher.  The RDF planner enables you to proactively articulate your research skills, identify your strengths, prioritize your development needs, create an action plan, review achievements, and create a portfolio of evidence.  You can use the RDF to improve and develop your personal and individual research skills.  The RDF is widely recognized in the UK, Europe, Canada, and Australia.  For more information please visit the Vitae website.

All PhD students and staff are entitled to use the RDF planner through a Massey University subscription to the website.

To gain access to this aspect of the Vitae website please contact Alexis Boniface (

Programme framework 

Researcher development within Massey University is guided by the Vitae RDF which is structured around four domains.

     Domain A - Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities

This domain relates to the knowledge and intellectual abilities needed to be able to carry out excellent research.  It consist of three sub-domains: knowledge base (A1), cognitive abilities (A2) and creativity (A3)


This sub-domain addresses researchers knowledge of:
•  Their area of researcher, the advances within it and its relationship to other research areas.
•  The methods and experimental techniques appropriate for research design.
•  Sources of information, bibliographic software and other information technologies.

It also focuses on knowledge specific behaviours such as:
•  Making original contributions to knowledge.
•  Identifying, applying and developing methods and experimental techniques appropriate for research projects.
•  Conducting effective and comprehensive information searches.
•  Recording, managing and handling information/ data using appropriate bibliographic software and information technologies.


This sub domain addresses the following behaviours and attitudes:
•  Analysing and evaluating findings using appropriate methods.
•  Thinking originally, independently and critically, developing theoretical concepts.
•  Critically synthesising information from diverse sources,
•  Evaluating progress, impact and outcomes of research.
•  Recognising and validating problems, formulating and applying solutions to a range of research problems.
•  Willingness to give and receive constructive criticism.


This sub-domain encompasses the following behaviours and attitudes:
•  Developing new ways of working.
•  Identifying new trends, creating new opportunities.
•  Developing convincing and persuasive arguments to defend research.
•  Taking intellectual risks, challenging the status quo.
•  Taking a creative, imaginative and inquiring approach to research.
•  Being open to new sources of ideas.

     Domain B - Personal Effectiveness

This domain contains the personal qualities, career and self-management skills required to take ownership for and engage in professional development.


This domain encompasses the following attitudes:
•  Approach research with enthusiasm, passion and confidence.
•  Is resilient and perseveres in the face of obstacles.
•  Is self-reflective, seeks ways to improve performance and strives for research excellence.
•  Is pro-active, independent, self-reliant and takes responsibility for self and others.
•  Shows integrity


This sub-domain encompasses the following behaviours and attitudes:
•  Anticipation and response to directions and trends in research.
•  Plans, priorities and conducts research in proactive way.
•  Delivers research projects and results on time and effectively.
•  Develops awareness of, and helps to achieve, work- life balance for self and colleagues.
•  Has a strategic approach to research.
•  Has focus, commitment and ambition.
•  Is flexible and responsive to change.


This sub-domain focuses on researchers knowledge of career and employment opportunities inside and outside academia and the following behaviours:
•  Taking ownership of and managing professional development.
•  Showing commitment to continuing professional development and enhancing employability.
•  Maintaining and developing relevant skills and experience in preparation for a wide range of opportunities within and outside of academia.
•  Actively networks for professional and career purposes and seeks to enhance research reputation and esteem.

Domain C - Research Governance and Organisation

This domain relates to the knowledge of the standards, requirements and professional conduct that are needed for the effective management of research.


This sub-domain focuses on researchers’ knowledge of:
•  Health and safety issues, confidentiality and the ethical requirements.
•  Legal requirements and regulations.
•  The principles of intellectual property rights and copyright issues.
•  Organisational and professional requirements and environmental impact of research.
•  The concept of corporate and social responsibility

It also covers the following behaviours and attitudes:
•  Respect, acknowledge and attributes the contribution of others.
•  Seeks to protect where appropriate, the intellectual assets arising from research and to maximise the wider value of research findings.
•  Acts with professional integrity in all aspects of research governance.
•  Uses institutional resources responsibly and appropriately.
•  Seeks ways of working in a sustainable manner.
•  Respects, upholds and meets professional standards and requirements.


This sub-domain includes researchers’ knowledge and behaviour in regard to:
•  The contribution of research to the health of disciplines and institutional missions.
•  Knowledge and application of appropriate project management tools and techniques.
•  Setting of goals and plans and management of resources to deliver results.
•  Effectively assessing and managing risk.
•  Evaluating the effectiveness of research projects.


This sub-domain focuses on researchers’ knowledge and behaviour in regard to:
•  The requirement for research income generation and financial management.
•  Mechanisms for funding, the range of funding sources and the processes for making applications.
•  Local administrative systems, reporting procedures and infrastructure processes.
•  Responsibly managing finances, resources and infrastructures related to research.

     Domain D - Engagement, Influence and Impact

This domain relates to the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage with, influence and impact on the academic, social, cultural, economic and broader context.


This sub-domain incorporates the following behaviours and attitudes:
•  Collegiality & team working.
•  Building relationships in academic and commercial contexts.
•  Supervising, mentoring and developing the potential of less experienced researchers and colleagues.
•  Leading, motivating, influencing and persuading through listening and convincing discussion.
•  Build and sustaining collaborative relationships and working pro-actively.
•  Recognising the potential for working in sustained partnerships with a range of stakeholders.
•  Respecting individual difference and diversity.


This sub-domain incorporates researchers’ knowledge of:
•  Appropriate communication and dissemination mechanisms for different audiences
•  The importance of engaging in the processes of publication and dissemination of research results and impacts

It also addresses the following behaviours:
•  Communicates effectively in both written and oral modes with a range of audiences formally and informally through a variety of different techniques and media.
•  Actively engages in publication and dissemination of research results and impacts


This sub-domain incorporates the researchers’ knowledge of:
•  Global, organisational, cultural, economic and environmental contexts and the wider impact of research.
•  The social and ethical implications of research and public attitudes to these issues.
•  The range of mechanisms to support knowledge transfer and maximise the impact of research.

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