Researcher Development Group

The Researcher Development Group (RDG) is a University-wide group which exists to promote and monitor the professional development provision for researchers (broadly defined) across the University of Hertfordshire. It responds to information such as the Career Researchers Online Survey (CROS), the Postgraduate Researcher Experience Survey (PRES) and the Principal Investigator and Research Leader Survey (PIRLS) and feedback arising from the staff survey to ensure the quality of UH’s provision for researchers. The Culture, Employment and Development in Academic Research Survey (CEDARS) will be replacing CROS & PIRLS to monitor the experience of researchers at the University. The RDG coordinates the University’s assessments and self-assessments for the HR Excellence in Research Award, and for compliance with the Researcher Development Concordat (September 2019).

In 2008, the University established a Researcher Development Working Group, consisting of staff from across the University, to oversee the implementation of the Concordat and Researcher Development Framework. In 2010 we were successful in achieving the HR Excellence in Research (HREiR) award, as part of the second cohort, being among the early Higher Education Institutions adopting the Researcher Development Concordat. The University has held the badge since December 2010, through biennial assessments. The award is in recognition of the University's commitment and achievements in implementing the Concordat for the Career Development of Researchers

Prof Lees-Maffei was appointed by Prof John Senior, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), as Chair of the Researcher Development Working Group in 2013 and enabled the University to successfully retain the HREiR award through three evaluations, at the 4-, 6- and 8-year points by demonstrating that the University delivers on the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. In addition, the Researcher Development Working Group hosted three biennial Researcher Development conferences in 2014, 2016 and 2019 and ran multiple rounds of Skill Up!, the Researcher-Led Researcher Development funding scheme.

In September 2019, Dr Liz White was appointed by Prof John Senior as Chair of the Researcher Development Group, taking over from Prof Grace Lees-Maffei who stood down as after 6 years in the role. Dr White has been the School of Education representative on the group for a number of years enabling a smooth transition for leading the Researcher Development Group into the next phase of its work. The Group's name was changed to the Researcher Development Group to recognise its status within the University.

The Chair is a research-active academic who liaises with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) and the ADRs on matters pertaining to researcher development, representing the RDG at the University Research Committee.

The group is led by the Chair and an HREiR Project Coordinator, and membership consists of representatives from:

  • Early Career Researchers in each of the Schools
  • Research Managers – an Associate Dean Research
  • Learning and Organisational Development
  • Human Resources
  • Research Office
  • Careers and Employment
  • Doctoral College (Researcher Development Programme Manager)
  • Equality Office
  • Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre
  • Health, Safety and Sustainability
  • UCU

For further information about our current membership and their roles on the RDG, our terms of Reference, the Researcher Development Framework and other useful information please see Researcher Development Group Guidance 2020 (PDF - 0.47 Mb).

A conference for staff and students

In January 2019, the RDG hosted its third biennial researcher development conference, which was open to all University staff and research students.

Read Prof Lees-Maffei's report.

See Prof Grace Lees-Maffei's presentation slides.

Researcher Development Group gallery



Contact Dr Elizabeth White at e.j.white@herts.ac.uk for more information on the Researcher Development Group.