Research Career


Career development is about moving forward to a fully independent position as a researcher. Early career researchers need to focus on a plan where they want to be. For this reason, careful planning is vital to staying on a successful career pathway.

The European Framework for Research Careers (2011) distinguishes and describes four broad profiles on the researchers’ career development, which are independent of any particular sector (universities, research institutes, companies or NGOs):

  • Researcher R1: First Stage Researcher. Individuals doing research under supervision in universities, research institutes or industry, including doctoral students.
  • Researcher R2: Recognised Researcher. PhD holders who have not yet established a significant level of independence or researchers with an equivalent level of experience and competence.
  • Researcher R3: Established Researcher. Researchers who have developed a level of independence.
  • Researcher R4: Leading Researcher. Researchers leading their research area or field. It would include the team leader of a research group or head of an industry R&D laboratory.


Researchers need to become aware of the competencies and abilities that are required and expected at every stage in order to maximize their career opportunities. In the documents “Towards a European Framework for Research Careers” (2011), from the European Commission, and “Career Skill Measurement for Researchers. Eurodoc position” (2011), you can find a description of the necessary and desirable skills for each career stage. In addition, in the “Online Tools” section you will find tools and interesting documents for helping you to plan your future whether this is inside or outside academia, or a combination of both.