The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

Research RSCH


Systematically creating new knowledge by data gathering, innovation, experimentation, evaluation and dissemination.

SFIA 9 is in development

  • SFIA 9 beta due in early July 2024
  • SFIA 9 planned for publication October 2024

Guidance notes


Activities may include — but are not limited to:

  • determining research goals and the methods by which the research will be conducted
  • actively participating in a community of researchers
  • communicating formally and informally through digital media, conferences, journals, books and seminars.

The Research skill defined in SFIA is used for creating new knowledge including — but not limited to — commercial research and development or academic institutions.

Because of its name, this skill can be confused with general search and investigation into a topic of interest. In most cases, general investigations are covered by  responsibilities described by the SFIA generic attributes. Many of the SFIA professional skills also make reference to investigation or similar activity.


Defined at these levels: 2 3 4 5 6

Research: Level 1

Research: Level 2


Within given research goals, assists in selection and review of credible and reliable resources.

Searches for relevant material using specialised websites and sources, reads relevant articles to update knowledge of the relevant field.

Reports on work carried out and may contribute sections of publication-quality material.

Curates, under guidance, a personal collection of relevant material.

Research: Level 3


Within given research goals, builds on and refines appropriate outline ideas for research, including evaluation, development, demonstration and implementation.

Applies standard methods to collect and analyse quantitative and qualitative data. Creates research reports to communicate research methodology, findings and conclusions.

Contributes sections of publication-quality material.

Uses available resources to update knowledge of any relevant field and curates a personal collection of relevant material. Participates in research communities.

Research: Level 4


Builds on and refines appropriate outline ideas for the evaluation, development, demonstration and implementation of research.

Contributes to research goals and funding proposals. Collects and analyses qualitative and quantitative data as required.

Contributes to research plans and identifies appropriate opportunities for publication and dissemination of research findings. Makes an active contribution to research communities.

Presents papers at conferences, contributes significant sections of publication-quality material, and presents reports to clients.

Research: Level 5


Agrees research goals and methods and performs research projects to generate original ideas.

Attracts and manages external research funding. Maintains a strong external network within own area of specialism.

Provides advice and guidance on performing research. Selects, adopts and adapts data collection tools and techniques. Develops, reviews and constructively criticises the research and ideas of others. Shares practical demonstrations of research findings.

Takes part in professional activities outside own employing organisation. Presents papers at significant conferences, writes articles for specialist journals, and presents reports to key stakeholders.

Research: Level 6


Develops the organisation's research policy and supervises the work of research functions.

Promotes activities externally, attracts and manages significant portfolios of research funding.

Sets research goals and authorises research proposals. Leads strategic and/or interdisciplinary research projects. Maintains a strong external network reaching beyond own immediate area of specialism.

Takes a leading part in professional activities outside own employing organisation. Presents keynote papers at major conferences, writes articles for high impact journals, and presents reports to major clients.

Research: Level 7