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Career Development Days and PDR

Career development days policy for researchers

All Research staff at Queen's University Belfast, including postdocs, are entitled to up to 10 days per year to spend on activities benefiting their career development. This is a university Policy and applies to all research staff, whatever their funding source is.

These days can be used to:

  • attend PDC or QUB training courses or events
  • attend external courses
  • be involved in committees
  • contribute to the organisation of events
  • undertake a placement or work shadowing
  • generate preliminary data for a fellowship application
  • write a fellowship application
  • prepare for/attend a job interview


These 10 days are not meant to be used for activities that are necessary or already part of the postdoc's work, for example attending relevant conferences, technical training used in the project (i.e. personal licence training), meeting partners and collaborators and attending local events the postdoc is meant to attend (i.e. PhD students symposium, School's seminars etc.).

Staff on part-time contracts (or contracts running for only a part of the year) have access to the relevant pro-rata number of days.

These days can be used when seen fit by the research staff, provided it doesn't "clash" with their contracted duties (e.g. a planned stakeholder meeting or conference they need to attend) and that their contracted work is up to agreed standards.

These days can not be carried-over to the next year in order to encourage staff to pro-actively develop their careers. These are not annual leave.

Staff should record how they use their development days, for example by using this form and discuss their development during their annual Personal Development Review (see below).


  • Policy extended to all research staff (AC1 to AC3) and to all Faculties at QUB: agreed by the University Executive Board on 3 September 2019 (See P&C website).
  • Policy originally developped for postdocs in the MHLS Faculty: discussed at the MHLS Faculty Executive Board meeting of the 26th April 2017 and communicated to all postdocs on the 26th May 2017 via an official letter from Pr Aaron Maule, Dean of Research.

Personal Development Review (PDR)

All staff at Queen's undertake a Personal Development Review (PDR) once a year with their line manager. The PDR is an opportunity to have a conversation with your PI about your professional and career development. While a short part of the discussion is dedicated to looking at progress and setting objectives for the year ahead, the PDR shouldn't be focused on your research project, but on your development, skills, experience and career. It is a great opportunity to look back on how you have used our development days (see above) in the past year, and how you plan to use them in the next.

The most important part of the process is the discussion, which is facilitated by a short form, in your case, the Research and Professional Services PDR Form.

The People and Culture website provides more information, guidance, forms and training sessions around the PDR process.

Visit the People and Culture PDR page