The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers
The Concordat, launched in its current form in June 2008, is an agreement between the funders and employers of researchers in the UK. Sitting alongside a range of local, UK and European initiatives, including the European Charter for Researchers and Code for Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, this agreement represents a significant development in national policy to support good management of researchers and their careers. Through the implementation of its principles it aims to enhance the researcher workforce and thereby sustain research excellence bringing benefits to the health, economy and well-being of the UK.
The Concordat sets out the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders. It aims to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK and to improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy.
The Concordat seeks to ensure that today's researchers are nurtured and supported during their career development. By setting out clear expectations for researchers, research managers, research institutions, and funders of research, the Concordat aims to enhance the research workforce and thereby sustain research excellence in the UK, bringing benefits to the health, economy and well being of our nation.
The Concordat consists of a set of key principles for the future support and management of research careers, and under each principle, an explanation of how it may be embedded into institutional practice.
The Concordat's key principles are:
- Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research.
- Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisation's human resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world class research.
- Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.
- The importance of researchers' personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.
- Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.
- Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers.
- The sector and all stakeholders will undertake regular and collective review of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK.
Implementing the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers at City, University of London
When we consider the needs of researchers within the institution's environment this includes academic staff whose roles include both research and education, research staff (those appointed principally to undertake research) and doctoral students. The development of City's research environment to support our researchers in helping to achieve the institution vision takes account of all of these groups but, in line with the key focus of the Concordat, a particular strand of work has been undertaken to address the needs of our research staff.
A review was undertaken during 2011/12 to consider what has been achieved since the relaunch of the Concordat in 2008 and the actions which are still required for its full implementation. The document, which sets out existing evidence of compliance with each of the Concordat principles and identifies further actions to be taken, can be read here.
In response to its plan for further actions towards the full implementation of the Concordat, City received the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award in May 2012. This acknowledges alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment and is intended to provide an assurance to researchers considering joining an institution which holds the Award, and those already in place, that they will be part of a stimulating and favourable working environment for researchers.
A key component of the action plan is the implementation of new terms and conditions of employment for research staff which were agreed in February 2012 for implementation from 1 August 2012 and which introduce consistency with academic terms and conditions of employment wherever possible.
The continued enhancement of City's Research and Enterprise Development Programme is another key element of the plan. The Programme is mapped to the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), a national development which aims to enhance the capacity of the UK to build our workforce, develop world class researchers and build our research base. The RDF describes the knowledge, behaviours and attitudes of researchers and encourages them to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development.
May 2014 update
The terms of the HR Excellence Award include an internal self-assessment of progress against the published action plan at least once every two years. A report of the internal review undertaken in April/May 2014 and an updated action plan for the next two years have been submitted for review by the UK HR Excellence in Research Award Panel.