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In line with the Researcher Development Concordat, Early Career Researchers are entitled to participate in a minimum of ten days (pro rata per year) professional development. 

The ‘Looking Beyond Horizons’ resources have been developed to help early career researchers to make informed choices about their professional development and career needs.

Access and download the ‘Looking Beyond Horizons’ resources from this Google site (note: you will need to log in with your University email credentials to access these resources). 

The resources are designed and structured around a four-step process:

  1. Take stock of existing skills, strengths and opportunities, to generate ideas and discussion. 
  2. Reflect on and consider future professional development opportunities.
  3. Create a Professional Development Plan (PDP). Identify what additional experience, training, support and mentoring is needed to fill the professional development gaps.
  4. Submit the PDP and review as part of the Annual Performance and Development review. The University HR guidelines for reviewees and guidelines for reviewers now include links to the ‘Looking Beyond Horizons’ resources. The Academic, Research, Teaching and Scholarship Staff PDR form includes a prompt to use these resources to support discussions around Career Development and Future Plans. Line managers should be sent PDR paperwork in advance of a review meeting so that they have time to consider it.

The time required to complete this four-step process is estimated to be two hours and may be counted in the 10 days' professional development time.

Once completed, researchers are strongly encouraged to share their PDP with their line manager/PI and discuss with them what opportunities are available or could be developed to support their professional development. This may include, for example, the researcher joining a committee, getting a mentor or a coach, or taking part in public engagement.  

The output of these discussions should be recorded on the Career Development section of the Performance and Development Review process. This information and set of experiences can then be used to support and supplement job, grant and Fellowship applications. Online Professional Development workshops are freely available via the LMS to help you take this forward.

For supervisors

As part of your conversations with researchers in their Performance and Development Review (PDR) you can use the Supporting Professional Development Discussions with Researchers document below to help you and the individual researcher to identify professional development activities that have taken place over the previous year and opportunities for the future that will enable them to develop their identity and skills as research staff.

Supporting Professional Development Discussions with Researchers 2021 (PDF , 54kb)