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International Journal of Market Research (IJMR)

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Geodemographics Knowledge Base (GKB)

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Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

What is CPD icon.jpg

What is CPD?

CPD is a formal way of taking control of your career.

It encourages you to think about your professional goals and any gaps in your knowledge and skill set that may obstruct these. It also helps you to record your learning and development and prompts reflection on what you have learnt, how you have applied this and what your future needs are.

It’s likely that you’re already participating in activities which qualify as CPD. These can include:

• Training
• Qualifications
• E-learning programmes
• Conferences & Events
• Reading
• Authorship

CPD activities are recorded in hours, with most worthy of a pre-determined number set by the provider or CPD partner. These hours can be used as a currency to enable you to maintain or upgrade your MRS membership.

What are the benefits of CPD?

• Identify training needs and areas for personal growth
• Plan your future career path
• Develop your professional capability
• Enhance your reputation
• Boost your self-confidence
• Showcase your achievements and knowledge
• Build a pathway to MRS Certified Membership

Accredited third party CPD providers

For more information on their upcoming events and training please click to view their websites:

APG – Account Planning Group

AQR - Association for Qualitative Research

Aura – Association of Users of Research Agencies

BHBIA – British Health Intelligence Association

ICG – Independent Consultants Group

LARIA – Local Area Research + Intelligence Association

CIM - Chartered Institute of Marketing

IDM - Institute of Direct Marketing

The Marketing Society



London School of Business and Finance

Accredited Employer Provision

Join the Dots



Kantar TNS (F2F Interview Training)

More information


Background to MRS CPD

When was the CPD programme introduced?

The programme was launched in April 2014.

Why has MRS introduced a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Programme?

MRS has developed a CPD programme for the following reasons:

  • To establish the seriousness of the profession
  • To provide positive differentiation from practitioners outside MRS
  • To improve the overall quality and skills of practitioners in the sector
  • To provide a framework for measurement of skills, training and knowledge
  • To expand the entry route to MRS Certified Member status
  • To provide members with a tool for recording and tracking their learning and development as they progress through their careers.
  • To provide members and Company Partners with a professional development tool to assist in managing professional development within their organisation e.g. developing competency standards, identifying training needs, logging individuals’ learning and achievements, assisting with appraisals, etc.

Who can participate in CPD and what are the benefits?

Who is required to sign up to the CPD programme?

CPD is non-compulsory, but available to all MRS members who wish to participate.

I am a non-member can I sign up to the CPD Programme?

CPD is an individual MRS Membership benefit and therefore not available to non-members.

How can CPD benefit me?

CPD can:

  • accelerate your career and professional development
  • enable you to achieve MRS ‘Certified’ Membership – The recognised Professional Membership grade for experienced research, insight, marketing sciences and analytics professionals.
  • strengthen your professional credibility with current and future employers
  • assist you in structuring your learning needs, professional development and career planning
  • provide a permanent ‘passport’ of professional development you have undertaken, assisting you in maintaining CVs, completing annual activities such as appraisals, etc.
  • improve your confidence
  • increase your job satisfaction

I am already a ‘Certified’ Member’ can I still enrol on to the CPD Programme and if so how will I benefit?

All members can access the CPD programme, irrespective of their grade. The CPD programme is a pathway for enabling members to upgrade their membership. However, its application is much wider than this; for example any members wishing to log their professional development, plan their future learning needs, structure their career development, the MRS CPD programme is an invaluable tool.

Once I achieve ‘Certified’ Membership do I need to continue with CPD to retain my membership grade?

The MRS CPD programme is not mandatory. Neither current MRS Certified Members nor those that achieve Certified Member status, via one of the CPD upgrade pathways, need to continue with CPD. However, we would recommend that members use the system for its benefits supporting professional development, career planning and as part of life-long learning.

CPD requirements

What are the annual CPD requirements?

MRS members wishing to use CPD to contribute towards upgrading their membership will need to complete a minimum of 21 hours (14 of these must be formal hours, the remaining 7 may be composed of either formal or informal hours) in a 12 month period.

MRS members that wish to use CPD for other purposes – e.g. as a formal log of their learning – there is no minimum or maximum limit. The 21 hours is MRS’s recommended annual minimum CPD in order to stay fully up-to-date as a professional; in practice, many members may exceed this figure in order to achieve their development plan.

How was the figure of 21 hours CPD decided?

In line with other professional bodies MRS believes it is important to set a minimum number of hours of CPD per year as a benchmark for gaining Certified Membership. Eligibility for MRS Certified Membership and the use of the designation ‘CMRS’ is not simply an indicator of hours completed. It is an indication to the profession and the wider sector that a Certified Member adheres to the MRS Code of Conduct and other Ethical guidelines, meets the MRS 12 Benchmark Standards of membership, and has demonstrated their professional knowledge, understanding and experience. The requirement for 21 hours plus is in line with the requirements of other professional bodies.

What are the Benchmark Standards?

MRS Benchmark Standards provide a standard which individuals can be measured against for eligibility for Certified Membership of MRS.

The Benchmark Standards demonstrate what being an MRS Certified Member means in terms of the competency of practitioners, and the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected at this level.  Some of the standards have more weight than others, although all of the standards are important.

In order to become a Certified Member, within the 21 hours you will need to demonstrate a minimum of 1 hour of CPD (informal/formal) against the mandatory standards – 1, 2 or 3, 7, 8, 9 & 10.

STANDARD 1: Ethical and legal considerations governing the conduct of MRS members

STANDARD 2: Research within its broad political/economic social/ technological context

STANDARD 3: The role of research in decision making within an organisation

STANDARD 4: Client and supply relationships in research

STANDARD 5: Project management (including planning and the use of resources)

STANDARD 6: Oral and/or written communication skills

STANDARD 7: Awareness and evaluation of research methodologies

STANDARD 8: Conducting all or part of a research project

STANDARD 9: A nominated specialist area in research

STANDARD 10: Quality control and assessment in research

STANDARD 11: Commitment to your own personal and professional development

STANDARD 12: Commitment to the development of others and or the profession

Am I able to carry over CPD hours from one year to another?

MRS CPD is not an accumulative programme, you are not able to over invest in one year and under invest in another.

What is meant by formal and informal CPD?

Formal CPD is the undertaking of any formal learning activity designed to meet a specific learning outcome within a Personal Development Plan (PDP). An example of this would be attending a one day training course to understand Statistical Methods.

Formal Learning includes, but is not restricted to:

  • attending a training course, seminar, workshop or conference
  • studying for an examination
  • writing an article or book
  • speaking or contributing to


  • seminars
  • conferences
  • training courses

This would include any form of delivery e.g. online, face to face, etc.

Informal CPD is any informal activity an individual considers has met a learning outcome within their PDP. This might include reading a publication e.g. Impact Magazine or the International Journal of Market Research that includes an article on a topic for which they have a development need.

Within the 21 hours what is the split between formal hours and informal hours?

14 hours of CPD must be formal and 7 may be informal.

How do I know how many hours are attributed to a learning activity?

The MRS CPD system allows you to allocate CPD hours for all MRS provision (both formal and informal) plus any provision that has either been accredited or formally recognised by MRS. The MRS CPD Handbook will provide guidance as to likely learning hours and provide clarification regarding whether other provision meets MRS requirements, is informal or formal, and the allocated CPD hours. You can also call the MRS CPD Advisory Service, a dedicated telephone and email service for MRS members undertaking CPD.

What is a Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

A Personal Development Plan is a process of:

  • reflecting on achievement
  • learning to capitalise on strengths
  • identifying and addressing areas for development
  • setting goals
  • identifying skills
  • recording reflection

How do I develop my Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

MRS will give you access to an on-line Professional Development Framework Tool which will help you determine your professional development needs against the MRS Benchmark Standards. This will form your Professional Development Plan, and the on-line tool will help you plan how you can best meet your needs, create an action plan/list and evaluate how successful your activities have been in meeting your needs.

Do I need to cover all of the MRS Benchmark Standards in order to achieve Certified Membership?

For your CPD to meet the criteria for being recognized for upgrading to Certified Member status, in addition to meeting the 21 hours, it must also clearly match to the seven mandatory MRS Benchmark Standards (see question 10 for more detail of these standards). You will need to ensure that all the mandatory benchmark standards are covered by the learning you undertake, in addition to meeting the required number of CPD hours for upgrading your membership.  The number of CPD hours required will depend on which route to Certified Membership is applicable to you. Each route is based on pre-existing qualifications and experience.

For those members using the CPD system for other purposes – such as professional development planning tool – there is no requirement to meet any specific benchmark standards.  However, these standards should help you in planning your professional development needs, in line with membership requirements.

What learning does MRS CPD recognise?

How many hours is a professional development activity allocated?

Please refer to Section 4 of the CPD Handbook - Allocated Hours for CPD.

Does MRS recognise training provided by my employer?

MRS has an accreditation programme for employer provision, granting the status – ‘MRS Accredited Training Provider’ – for those organisations where training meets MRS requirements. In such cases the employer training provision will automatically be recognized for CPD purposes.

Does MRS Recognise 3rd Party provision?

Yes. MRS has adopted a very broad brush approach to its CPD programme. If external approved third party provision is relevant to one of the 12 Benchmark Standards and the MRS Professional Development Framework, it will receive recognition within the MRS CPD programme. Approved third party provision will be easily recognisable as it will display the MRS badge denoting the number of hours

MRS will also recognise provision relevant to the Benchmark Standards from The CPD Certification Service The CPD Certification Service provides an independent accreditation service compatible with global CPD principles.

Does MRS recognise prior achieved learning?

Yes. MRS will accept any relevant recognised formal CPD achieved up to 1 month prior to registration on the MRS CPD Programme.  Prior recognition is only recognised as part of Year 1 CPD. Please make the CPD Advisory Team member aware that you wish to have recognised prior achieved learning at your point of CPD registration.

Does sitting an exam, or completing an assessment count towards my CPD?

Once you have successfully completed a qualification, for example on of those offered by MRS, this is recognised as a pathway towards achieving MRS Certified Membership. The actual completion of an exam, test or assessment does not count towards your CPD hours. However, the learning and revision undertaken in preparation for an MRS (or other recognised provision) exam, test or assessment can be included, once successfully passing the qualification.

Does attendance at MRS Regional events count towards my CPD?

Yes, providing the content of a regional event meets identified learning need(s). For example if you attend a speaker night on a research related topic. However social or networking events, quiz nights and so on would not be recognised for MRS CPD purposes.

Does exam invigilation count towards my CPD?

No, as there are no circumstances in which a learning outcome would be attached to the invigilation of candidates sitting their exams.

CPD admin

How do I register for CPD, and can I register at any time?

Email the MRS CPD Advisory Service on to register your interest in CPD. MRS will then set you up a CPD account and email you details of how to access your account.

Does MRS provide an online tool for my CPD?

Yes, MRS provides a new, free, easy to use online tool which you may use to plan and record your hours-based CPD, please refer to Section 6.

Do I have to use the online tool?

Yes, in order to ensure that the MRS CPD programme is cost effective, administratively efficient and accessible to all members, including those overseas, it is an online based solution.

Does the online tool show how many hours I need to do to complete my CPD?

Yes, the online tool will show how many hours you have completed and if you are wishing to upgrade your membership it will show you how many hours you still need to complete.

Does the online tool automatically record my attendance at MRS events?

No, not at present. We are working towards this, and will communicate details once this is available. At present you will need to record your attendance at MRS training courses, workshops, Labs, webinars, Members Evenings and conferences. This also applies for non-MRS provision, informal provision and provision where MRS may not necessarily be able to confirm attendance (for example some regional events).

How long will it take?

CPD really does not take much time over and beyond your daily routine. Once you begin to identify learning opportunities, record them and then reflect on how you have applied them, it should become an automatic part of your professional development planning. You access the online tool, which sets out a simple to use procedure of planning, recording and reflecting, which you can save and go back to at any time.

What happens if I don’t complete 21 hours in a year?

If you are endeavouring to upgrade your membership, you must complete the necessary 21 hours per annum. 

If severe illness, maternity leave, redundancy or other extenuating circumstance results in a break from CPD, inform the MRS CPD Advisory Service as soon as is possible. It may be possible to suspend your CPD and arrange for your completed hours to be accrued for up to 12 months.

For those members that are using the system for non-upgrade purposes, such as professional development planning, there is no problem if you do less than 21 hours a year, although MRS recommends this level of learning per year.

Do I have to pay?

No, CPD is an individual MRS membership benefit, and is free to members.

How does MRS verify CPD hours claimed?

MRS will select for moderation CPD records from all members using the CPD programme as a pathway to upgrade their membership. A random sample of 10% of contributing members using the system for non-upgrade purposes will be selected each year for moderation, to ensure adherence to and compliance with the programme rules.

All cases of suspected malpractice are investigated thoroughly by MRS.  An Appeals Procedure is also available, please refer to Sections 9 and 10.

Who will have access to my CPD data/record?

Authorised MRS Staff will have access to individuals CPD records, for administration and moderation purposes only. It is your responsibility to keep securely your username and password for the on-line CPD system

Does exam invigilation count towards my CPD?

No, as there are no circumstances in which a learning outcome would be attached to the invigilation of candidates sitting their exams.

CPD Registration

Call or email our CPD team to register your interest. We will then set you up a with CPD account and email you your login details.

+44 (0) 20 7566 1820

Event highlights

January 2018
Speaker 18

The Brexit Diaries: Engaging with the public in Brexit Britain18.01.18 | MRS, London EC1V 0JR

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MRS Operations Network23.01.18 | MRS, London EC1V 0JR

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Kids & Youth Insights25.01.18 | Etc.venues, London SE1 7PB

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