The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy


View your shopping cart.

Research careers

Career frameworks map out different career pathways. They illustrate the range of opportunities available at different points of a career and often describe the behaviours, knowledge, skills and/or qualifications required.

There are a number of different frameworks relevant to developing a research career within physiotherapy, the NHS or Higher Education Institutes, or combining a clinical and academic career.

CSP physiotherapy framework

If you are interested in developing a career as a physiotherapy researcher, the CSP’s physiotherapy framework provides a useful starting point. 

The framework defines and describes the behaviours, knowledge and skills used by the physiotherapy workforce at six different levels of practice.

It incorporates these behaviours, knowledge and skills in a variety of occupational settings including clinical, academic and research roles.

The framework provides you with a structure for exploring the behaviours, knowledge and skills you have already developed and will help you plan the continuing professional development that will support your move into research.  

A condensed version of the framework is available to as part of the CPD ePortfolio. Here, you can find a self-evaluation tool based on the descriptors from the CSP’s physiotherapy framework.

NHS frameworks

Career framework for allied health professions

This framework maps the competences associated with nine different NHS career levels, from initial entry jobs to consultant practitioners and senior staff.

For further information on the career framework for AHPs, see the Skills for Health website and:

Department of Health. Modernising Allied Health Professions Careers: a competence-based career framework: Department of Health/Chief Health Professions Officer (2008)

NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)

The Knowledge and Skills Framework describes the types of knowledge and skills that a post-holder needs in order to be effective in their NHS job. It is central to learning and development, career and pay progression within the NHS.

Agenda for Change (AfC)

This is the grading and pay system for all NHS staff except doctors, dentists and most senior managers.

National job profiles for the allied health professions have been developed, including profiles for physiotherapists.

Generic therapy profiles include Clinical Researcher, Clinical Researcher Specialist, Clinical Researcher Principal and AHP Consultant.

Research career pathways within the NHS

NHS National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

NIHR was established in 2006. It is funded by the Department of Health and oversees all research undertaken within the NHS.

NIHR is responsible for developing and supporting researchers within the NHS through a Trainees Coordinating Centre (TCC).

The NIHRTCC research career pathway maps training awards to academic career levels across all healthcare professions.

Higher education frameworks

Higher Education Framework

The Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff Framework agreement for the modernisation of pay structures (2003) is the national grading and pay framework for all staff working in higher education institutes.

The Framework includes examples of career pathways for academic staff, each of which has five levels.

A national library of academic role profiles at each level has been developed to describe the demands and responsibilities of staff who have a research, teaching, or combined teaching and research role.

Researcher development framework (RDF)

RDF is a professional development framework for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education.

It articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers and encourages them to realise their potential.

Clinical academic framework

A clinical academic framework has been developed for AHPs, nurses and midwives who wish to develop a combined career in clinical practice and research.

Planning a career in research

A key consideration is whether you wish to follow a research/academic career pathway, or combine research with a clinical career pathway. 

Career frameworks and pathways can be used to help plan what knowledge, skills and training you need to develop your career and your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

If you have little experience in research, look for opportunities to be involved in a research project before committing to formal training programmes.

For example,

Further information on planning your career

Rankin G. Chapter 2.1: Developing a research career pathway. In: Moore, A, Lyon, P (ed.). Getting involved in research: a pocket guide. London: The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, National Physiotherapy Research Network; 2009

Chapters 2.2 – 2.15. In: Moore, A, Lyon, P (ed.). Getting involved in research: a pocket guide. London: The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, National Physiotherapy Research Network; 2009

Each chapter tells a researcher’s story about how they have developed research skills and a research career pathway.

Also on this site:


Back to top