The Graduate School

Researcher Plus

Researcher Plus

As well as developing research expertise in their subject discipline, postgraduate research students have opportunities to develop a range of skills which are transferable beyond their research degrees to both academic and careers beyond academia.

The Queen’s Researcher Plus Award  provides official recognition of these skills and assist researchers in demonstrating them to employers.

PhD and MPhil students can apply to receive the Researcher Plus award on graduation by submitting a portfolio in their final year*showing that during the course of their research degree they have met the three key criteria below:

Evidenceof completion of 30 daysb of training and development activity as defined in the Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme Guidelines.

2. Evidencec of significant involvementd in at least two activities which have provided an opportunity to develop and reflect on what has been learned. Examples of activities which could be included are (please note this list is not intended to be exhaustive - see note d below)

  • Co-ordination of student-led initiative
  • Substantive involvement in clubs and societies
  • Voluntary or part-time work (if permitted by funding conditions
  • Conference or event organisation
  • Substantive participation in careers or enterprise competitions
  • Substantive involvement in a committee
  • Work shadowing or employer visits
  • Substantive participation in public engagement activity
  • Participation as a peer mentor

A reflective review of your development.  This can take the form of either:

a.  A 2,500-3,000 word reflective report which clearly demonstrates how the training and development experiences submitted in sections 1 and 2 have facilitated the development of transferable skills in all four domains of the Resarcher Development Framework.  The report should cover the specific skills developed and how they were enhanced, what you have learned about your main strengths and weaknesses, and how this awareness will impact on your future career plans.

b.  A structured reflection using the following template.  Portfolios will be assessed by a panel of markers from the Graduate School and Careers, Employability & Skills.

To register your interest in Researcher Plus, or if you have any queries please email

a. A printout of your Qsis training record which will be validated by the PRDP Team

b. A maximum of 5 days can be claimed in relation to each of the following areas: teaching, demonstrating, mentoring and supervision of project students.  10 days per full-time year in the case of MPhil graduates

c. Evidence should be provided through a signed and dated letter on headed paper from a person in a position of responsibility indicating duration of period of work or activity

d. There is no formal limit on what is considered ‘significant’ involvement as the onus is on the student to make a case for significance in their application. However, experiences used in this section should be over and above those which would be expected for most research students in the subject area to undertake as part of their research programme.  Therefore if a student chooses to submit a ‘standard’ experience in this section such as laboratory demonstrating or conference attendance they will need to demonstrate explicitly why their level of involvement should be considered as particularly significant.

Closing date for submission of portfolio are as follows:

• April 1st for those graduating at July graduation ceremony

• October 1st for those graduating at December ceremony

The Researcher Plus application form can be downloaded here