Career and Professional Development

Career and Professional Development

At Ulster University we recognise the importance of continuous professional and career development and we are committed to providing opportunities, structured support, encouragement, and time for researchers to engage in professional development.

You should record your CPD activity and build your own personal CPD plan on the LEARN portal accessed through your People XD account. Through the LEARN portal, you will be able to search for learning opportunities, book yourself onto learning events, complete mandatory eLearning activities, and build your own personal CPD plan.

Researcher Development Framework

Researcher Development Framework

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a widely endorsed framework underpinning professional development for researchers at all levels. It sets out the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers.

Success means different things to different people. It’s up to you to decide what your priorities are, how you need to develop and how that can be achieved. You can use the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) to help you to:

  • explore all the aspects of being a researcher
  • identify your strengths
  • prioritise areas for professional development
  • write a plan, then monitor progress and success
  • have productive discussions with others, e.g. your supervisor, PI, careers advisor or other professional development provider
  • look for formal and informal development opportunities
  • prepare for one-to-one progress reviews, appraisals or career development conversations with your research manager or mentor.

Ulster University holds institutional membership of Vitae. This enables our researchers to have full access to the range of Vitae’s online resources.

You will need to register on the Vitae website ( using your institutional (Ulster University) email address.

View Vitae Resources View CPD Opportunities
Advancing you Research Career - Elearning Module

Advancing you Research Career - Elearning Module

‘Advancing your Research Career – Strategies for Research Leadership’ is a self-led elearning package which provides engaging, flexible and interactive training in the key capabilities that underpin successful research leadership.

Taking a streamlined, modular approach the course helps ensure that researchers’ career goals are well-articulated and supported by a professional knowledge base.

Using case studies, video interviews, thought-provoking scenarios and activities, and opportunities to reflect and develop action plans, the programme supports researchers to build a clear strategy for their individual career development, and to shape their career as a leader of research.

Module Structure

The programme consists of ten core modules:

  1. Actively managing your research career
  2. Shaping positive research cultures
  3. The value of mentoring to your research career
  4. Accelerating the impact of research through engagement
  5. Funding your research
  6. Leadership for successful project management
  7. Collaboration
  8. Managing a research team
  9. Communicating your research
  10. Reflective practice and career development

This course is designed for maximum flexibility - the modules can be taken together or separately in any order.

Access modules

  1. Go to the Staff Portal (making sure that you are logged in)
  2. Select the ‘Employee Self-Service’ tile
  3. Select ‘Employee Dashboard’
  4. Scroll down to the LEARN portal button
  5. Navigate to ‘My Activities’

In the drop-down menu, you will find the ‘Advancing your Research Career’ pathway.



Ulster’s Online Research Portal

PURE is an online research portal available to all academic and research staff and PhD researchers at Ulster.

PURE Profiles

Your PURE profile is created automatically when you join the University.  You can login to your PURE profile via PURE Support.

PURE profiles are also visible externally through Ulster University’s PURE Portal.

Login via PURE Support Visit PURE Portal

Staff and PhD Researchers can manage their individual profile by recording research outcomes such as:

  • Research Outputs and Publications
  • Activities
  • Press and Media
  • Datasets
  • Impacts

It is important that you maintain an up-to-date PURE profile if you wish to apply for promotion through the University’s Academic and CRS Promotions Schemes.

PURE is designed to maintain an ongoing and permanent historical record of research activity at Ulster University.

It aggregates research information from numerous internal and external sources and ensures the data is trusted, comprehensive and accessible in real time.

This allows the University to build reports, carry out performance assessments, manage researcher profiles, and enable research networking and expertise discovery.

Training and development opportunities

CHERP Teacher Training

Research staff are provided with professional learning opportunities to gain Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy through the taught route (First Steps to Teaching) or the experiential route (Enhance).

PhD Supervisor Guidance and Resources

These pages aim to provide supervisors with resources and guidance to facilitate the development of a successful PhD Researcher/Supervisor relationship.

Awards and Mentoring

Research Excellence Awards

The Research Excellence Awards acknowledge and reward members of staff for outstanding contributions to research and scholarly activity. The Research Excellence Awards comprise of the following categories:

  • Senior Distinguished Research Award
  • Distinguished Research Award
  • Future Research Leader Award
  • Research Recognition Award

Researcher Mentoring

The research mentoring programme is designed to support academic and research staff in their professional development.

Mentors are available to provide support across all aspects of research including research outputs, funding, impact and public engagement.

Mentoring usually takes place on a one-to-one basis over a six-month period.

Development Appraisal Review (DAR)

Development Appraisal Review (DAR)

The Developmental Appraisal Review gives support and direction for your personal development and career pathway in line with best practice and our commitment to the Researcher Development Concordat.

To support your continued learning, an appraisal e-learning module for managers and staff is available below. Please ensure that you are logged into your staff portal before using the links.

Access the Development Appraisal Review Form.

Manager (Appraiser) E-Learning Staff (Appraisee) E-Learning

Contract Research Staff Promotions Scheme

The Contract Research Staff Promotions Scheme is currently under review.

Further information will follow.