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Researcher development

The University Researcher Development Framework (URDF) has been designed to meet the needs of all research students at the University of Brighton. The purpose of the programme is to support the intellectual and research development of postgraduate students and to add value to their research degree experience.

In line with the training policy directions of the UK Research Councils and Vitae (the national champion for personal, professional and career development of postgraduate researchers – see the Vitae researcher development framework), the University recognises that training in research skills and techniques is a key element in the development of a research student. The URDF brings together students from different disciplines, helping to foster the university community of scholars. This in turn enables research students to broaden their horizons and interact with scholars from other disciplines and the public: an essential skill in today’s world.

The aims of the programme are:

  • To develop critical awareness and purposeful application of research methods to a range of problems; and
  • To encourage the development of the intellectual and personal skills relevant to being an effective researcher.

Students benefit from immersion in a cross-university peer-group research culture concerned with generic issues and aspects of the research process, as well as the more specialist techniques necessary for individual projects and disciplines. The programme is about developing a familiarity with the range of approaches and analytical techniques within varied fields.  Specialist sessions are included in the programme, but are offered in a way that emphasises how and why they are apt for certain analytical purposes, how they are implemented, and how they can be used most effectively.

At the core of the URDF are eight units, mainly delivered in workshop format, that provide a broad framework for doctoral study. The units are not assessed, although students on certain programmes may have assessments based on the content of the units. In addition, students have access to a wide range of research methods and other modules that they can access, depending on their skills and training requirements. The university also provides a training programme for those who wish to teach in Higher Education.

The core units are:


In addition to these units there are many research methods and other modules that students can attend. The list of available modules changes from time to time, so you will be given an up-to-date module guide when you join the university.

Find out more

  • Current students can download the URDF handbook here
  • Contact the Doctoral College for enquiries regarding this programme
  • The relevant Doctoral centre can provide details of specific support offered to students in your area