Researcher in lab

DCU Researcher Career Framework

Learn all about DCU's Researcher Career Framework.

The Research Career Framework is designed to attract and retain the best Postdoctoral researchers to DCU, provide them with significant professional development and offer the best opportunities in terms of their wider career path. 

DCU is a major research institution that has gained worldwide recognition for the work of its researchers.

The Researcher Development Framework (RCF)  is designed to enhance our capability to develop world-class researchers. It provides a structured framework that supports the professional and career development of our researchers by explicitly identifying the competencies and behaviors needed for success and progression. 


HR Excellence in Research logo

HR Excellence in Research - Awarded to DCU in 2015

The Research Career Framework aims to ensure that DCU remains a University of choice for top-class research and researchers in the future. 


The Research Career Framework is involves three defined levels that structure the researcher career path with continuous professional development at each level.

Participating researchers are facilitated in developing a set of valuable and transferable skills that will enhance their career opportunities both within and outside the university. The framework supports Principal Investigators (PIs) in delivering excellence in research at DCU. 
The Research Career Framework consists of three levels:

  • Level 1 – Postdoctoral Researcher - up to a maximum of 4 years in duration
  • Level 2 – Research Fellow - up to a maximum of 4 years in duration
  • Level 3 – Senior Research Fellow - up to a maximum of 4 years in duration
rcf diagram
DCU's Researcher Career Framework

A researcher can spend up to

- a maximum of 8 years in total on the Framework

no more than 4 years at each of the three levels  

Senior Research Fellows who successfully complete Level 3 are strongly placed to secure longer-term positions as senior researchers or academics in DCU or, alternatively, positions in industry or the wider public service. 

Progression onto the framework - 3 levels