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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

Managing your development

A commitment to personal development is part of being professional.  As a researcher you are already committed to explore and address gaps in knowledge, and investing in your personal development means extending this to your own life, skills and aptitudes.

How to begin

At the outset of your research candidature you will be asked to make a self-assessment of your academic needs (ANA) in consultation with your supervisor.  There is a standard University format for making this assessment, and the details are recorded on PGR Tracker

As well as identifying and agreeing what you need for the early stages of your research project, you should also be thinking about your personal development and growth over the coming year.

As you progress through your candidature, you will meet with your supervisor (and/or supervisory team) on a regular basis, and these meetings will give you further opportunity to discuss, plan and record on-going development needs as your awareness of these grows.

Using the Researcher Development Framework

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a nationally agreed framework which describes the knowledge, behaviours and attitudes of researchers and encourages an aspiration to excellence through achieving higher levels of development.

You may find the RDF helpful as you plan your development, but don't try to digest all of it at once - instead, focus on particular sections ("domains" or "sub-domains") that will be most helpful at the stage you have reached.

Once you have identified the areas you want to focus on, you can search for training from our Programme - the courses are grouped thematically to reflect the RDF domains.

Other sources of support and advice

In addition to members of your supervisory team, there are other people who can support you as you plan and manage your development, for example your academic discipline's Graduate School Head, Director, or PG Coordinator, members of the Doctoral College team, and Careers Service staff who specialise in supporting researchers.

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