At an event on 13 October, attended by over 60 representatives from higher education institutions across the UK, Vitae launched a unique pack of training resources ‘Every Researcher Counts' and targeted briefings addressing issues of equality and diversity in research staff careers. The materials were developed by Vitae through the Every Researcher Counts project, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) with support from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Education and Learning Northern Ireland (DELNI).
‘A major aim of the Every Researcher Counts project was to try to break down some of the structural and cultural barriers that make it harder for certain groups of individuals to secure and develop careers in Higher Education. I am delighted that the discussions and materials that have come out of the project have taken us a significant step towards equalising the chances of success for all researchers - something which is essential for the continuing health and international competitiveness of our research base.’
Professor Dianne Berry, REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Group
Resource packs for staff developers facilitate principal investigators and others managing research staff to
- hold effective conversations with their team members about equality and diversity issues
- help their research staff manage their careers
- use the Researcher Development Framework with equality and diversity in mind
- be more aware of their behaviour and attitude towards their team members and the potential impact on equality and diversity issues
- understand more fully the potential needs of their team members.
The one day event enabled participants to interactively explore the range of materials, make personal commitments to promoting the resources in their institutions, and take away materials, together with targeted briefings for
- staff developers
- senior managers and human resources specialists
- principal investigators, research group leaders and research managers.
The briefings are mapped to all the principles of the Concordat to Support the Careers of Research Staff, show the benefits of embedding equality and diversity for research staff, and provide advice, action and links to important sources of information.
Feedback from the participants on how useful the materials would be was very positive.
‘Very useful. I think the flexibility of the materials and approach will make it easier to embed into existing training and development. It will allow ...University to tailor its training and development to suit the needs of facilities and departments ’
‘Materials are, and will be, very useful at institutional level - providing a good practice guide and frameworks to follow to ensure every researcher counts'
‘Very useful - the case studies generated a lot of discussion in the group.’
‘Very. They are comprehensive but also allow for a high degree of flexibility.’
The event also generated positive reaction on Twitter.
- Every Researcher Counts is about 'leading people in research', creating effective teams, legal risk and responsibility
- Positive role models are essential, no surprise, but we must support individuals to make this happen.
‘To make a long-term difference to the equality and diversity environment for research staff in HE will require long-term investment of focus and resources, and ultimately significant cultural change. The Every Researcher Counts flexible resources show the research benefits for principal investigators and others, gained from embedding equality and diversity in the research environment. The project has received strong interest and support from across the sector, with input from principal investigators, senior managers, staff developers and equality and diversity specialists.’
Alison Mitchell, Deputy Director, Vitae
David Sweeney, HEFCE Director - Research, Innovation and Skills, said:
‘I welcome the launch of these valuable resources. It is vital that equality and diversity in relation to research staff is understood, visible and prioritised in higher education institutions. These resources give institutions the tools they need to support researchers and make a positive difference to research careers.’
Online versions of the materials are available for free use by UK higher education institutions from the Vitae website .
T: 01223 448510
About HEFCE www.hefce.ac.uk
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) promotes and funds high-quality, cost-effective teaching and research to meet the diverse needs of students, the economy and society. Our responsibilities are to develop policies, distribute funds, safeguard quality and assure the proper stewardship of public money. We work closely with universities, colleges and other partners to achieve excellence and impact in education and research, and to provide opportunities for all those who have the ability to benefit from higher education. For the academic year 2011-12, HEFCE will distribute £6,507 million of public money to 130 universities and higher education colleges, and 124 directly funded further education colleges.