The key factor to consider in the process of training design are the skills it should develop. In case if intersectoral career trainings, it should address the gap between the skills researchers have and those required by employers. Additionally, such training should help researchers identify the skills they have gained through their studies and understand how these can be useful beyond academia. As trivial as it sounds this is a major challenge – PhD students are often not aware of the competences they have and helping them to understand those is one of the major tasks of the career development activities.

If institution has sufficient resources, it might invest into exploring how its PhD students perceive their skills (e. g. through survey) and where do they see the main training needs with regard to possible employment beyond academia. It might also engage employers and ask them where they see the gap. This is what we also did in the skill gap analysis in the CARLiS project that included survey with more than 200 responses from PhD students in life sciences and almost 30 interviews with representatives of private sector (including researchers working private sector and managers). Its outcomes can be found here.

But even when such extensive analysis is not feasible, there are plenty of resources providing useful insight into what skills researchers need addressing both skills related to the profession of researchers and more generic transferable skills. You can consult some of the tools mentioned bellow.

VITAE Researchers Development Framework

The RDF is a professional development framework for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education. It articulates over 60 competences, knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers. It also offer lenses highlighting the competences needed for specific career paths including Employability lenses, Engineering lens, Enterprise lens and more.


myIDP is web-based career-planning tool tailored to meet the needs of PhD students and postdocs in the sciences. In includes exercises to help researchers examine their skills, interests, and values. It offers a list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit the users’ skills and interests.


Eurodoc skills matrix with nine categories including 66 transferable skills for research, career development, digital, communication, cognitive, interpersonal, teaching & supervision, enterprise, and mobility skills for ECRs. The aim of the matrix is to promote awareness and increase uptake and training in transferable skills among ECRs and higher education institutions.


DocPro is a catalogue of skills designed to gives PhD-holders, businesses, doctoral schools a view of the skills that PhD-holders develop throughout their careers.

Competence Framework ‘Science for Policy’ for researchers

Achieving policy impact requires a distinct set of ‘Science4Policy’ competences, which are rarely covered by scientists' formal university education and doctoral programmes. The ‘Science4Policy’ framework describes competences are essential to increase the impact of scientific knowledge for better policies.

Discovery Learning Skills Ontology

The skills ontology offers an overview of skills that help researchers encourage or to engage in innovation process in different context. It tries to offer an answer to the question:What skills do PhD holders need to successfully engage in innovation processes (regardless of sector or type of innovation) and/or to create impact through the innovation? The core of the skillset included in the ontology, are skills that are crucial for innovation and on the same time they are the basic skills necessary for research profession