The Professional Development Scheme (PDS) is a free, online system for maintaining an audited professional record and for accruing points to build on your professional skills and experience. Please watch our online tutorial for a step by step guide on how to complete the PDS.

There are five tiers of membership which are determined by scores based on your prior experience and training, and on the accumulation of points for any on-going training and development activities which you may undertake.

The Professional Developement Scheme levels are scored as shown in Table 1.

Table 1
Professional Development Scheme Levels & Scoring

Tier Level Points
Foundation 1 0-736
  2 737-1472
  3 1473-2208
  4 2209-2944
  5 2945-3679
Affiliate 1 3680-4416
  2 4417-5152
  3 5153-5888
  4 5889-6624
  5 6625-7360
Professional 1 7361-8096
  2 8097-8832
  3 8833-9568
  4 9569-10304
  5 10305-11040
Associate 1 11041-11776
  2 11777-12512
  3 12513-13248
  4 13249-13984
  5 13985-14720
Fellow 1 14721-15456
  2 15457-16192
  3 16193-16928
  4 16929-17664
  5 17665-18400

You can earn points from the following:

  1. Academic qualifications
  2. Research Competencies
  3. Professional development activities
  4. Professional courses and qualifications
  5. Professional registration
  6. Relevant publications

Research Competencies

Research competencies are weighted, determined by whether you have no experience, are trained, have some experience, are capable, are experienced or are highly competent at each task. Table 2 provides the definitions for each of the research competency grades 0 to 5.

Table 2
Research Competency Scoring




Not applicable (e.g. if the competency is not useful for the role of the individual)


Task: No experience; never performed the task before

Knowledge: No exposure; never heard of the topic before

Skill: Unable to use skill


Task: Little experience, but received training

Knowledge: Little exposure; but followed courses or read about the topic

Skill: Use skill with difficulty and/or very rarely


Task: Some experience; already performed the task at least once

Knowledge: Some exposure; already applied knowledge of topic in their job at least once

Skill: Use skill inconsistently and occasionally


Task: Capable to perform task

Knowledge: Knowledgeable; frequently apply knowledge of topic

Skill: Use skill appropriately, but only occasionally


Task: Experienced; regularly perform the task in their job

Knowledge: Highly knowledgeable; use, reflect, critically evaluate information related to the topic

Skill: Use skill appropriately, in all relevant situations


Task: Highly experienced; able to train and guide others

Knowledge: Expert knowledge; able to teach and assess others

Skill: Use skill appropriately, consistently and confidently


The number of points awarded for academic qualifications, professional qualifications, registration, publications and some ‘other’ activities are shown in Table 3. There is an opportunity for the user to provide information about ‘other professional activities’ which they have been involved in. These activities will be considered and, if appropriate, scored by the panel once the user submits their profile for moderation.

Table 3

Scoring Scheme

Supervision: > 6 students/staff400
Supervision: 1 – 5 students/staff300
Professional courses & qualifications200
Professional registration/membership200
Conference: Oral presentation200
Conference: Poster presentation100
Conference: Attended50
Publications: 1st author200
Publications: Last author200
Publications: Author100
Attending Training: 
Short course - (0 - 2 wks)50
Long course - (> 2 wks)100
Delivering Training: 
Planning or coordinating150
 Seminar/CMES/Journal Club: Presented 50
Seminar/CMES/Journal Club: Attended10
Global Health Trials: Submit training material100
Global Health Trials: Submit an article100
Global Health Trials: Reviewer50
Global Health Trials: Taking an e-learning course25
Global Health Trials: Blog15
Global Health Trials: Discussion10
Other relevant professional activitiesTBD


Once you have completed and submitted your profile, it will take about four weeks for the moderation process and the awarding of your membership level to be completed. You will be awarded a score, together with the appropriate membership level (see Table 1). You will be able to print off a certificate and both your score and membership level will appear on your profile.

Remember, when completing your Professional Development Scheme profile you can save and exit at any point and come back to complete later. You can return at any future point and add new skills, training or experience to increase your score. To learn how you can do this see the ‘How To Get More Points’ section.