Researcher Development Concordat thematic sessions


Vitae member events


Join us for the following thematic sessions aimed at helping all those with a stake in researcher development to embed the Researcher Development Concordat principles into institutional practice.

Over 100 institutions in the UK are signatories of the 2019 'Concordat to Support the Career Development for Researchers' with the vast majority of these also holding the HR Excellence in Research Award. Through both processes, UK universities have already made significant progress in enriching the culture, employment conditions and development opportunities researchers can expect.

The Concordat encompasses a broad range of obligations that cross over various issues and priorities, and require the combined effort of different stakeholder groups. As part of Vitae’s ongoing commitment to supporting the implementation of the Concordat across the sector, it organises a series of online ‘thematic sessions’ aimed at tackling well-known challenges.

As a result of attending, participants will:

  • Develop their understanding of how to improve Concordat planning and implementation in their institutions
  • Expand their knowledge of the strategies and approaches used in other institutions, including opportunities for working together

Session 1: Aligning the Concordat with research culture activity

This event explores the ways that institutions are aligning (or seeking to align) activities in support of the Researcher Development Concordat with wider research culture strategies. We know, for example, that some institutions are seeking to embed Concordat obligations in research culture action plans, while others are adding the Concordat as a standing item on research culture committees. It will offer the opportunity for shared learning on the challenges and opportunities of aligning the Concordat with research culture strategies, with the aim of identifying ways of strengthening both Concordat and research culture activity.

If you are a Vitae member you can watch the event recording 

Session 2: Implementing the Concordat in small and specialist institutions

In partnership with GuildHE Research

This event explores the challenges and opportunities of Concordat planning and implementation in institutions which have much smaller numbers of research staff, different structures for supporting researchers, and – in some cases – might be relatively new to research itself. These distinct contexts mean that approaches to the Concordat often require innovative approaches to maximise its benefits. Participants will hear from a diverse range of institutions about how they are implementing the Concordat, their priorities for action, and opportunities for further practice sharing.

The following five speakers will contribute to the session sharing their experiences of implementing the Concordat in their institutions. 

Frances Thomason, Head of Research Services, Wrexham University 
Dr Jane Williams, Head of Research, Hartpury University 
Professor Lee Miller, Head of Postgraduate Research and Professor of Performance, Falmouth University 
Sarah Priston, Head of Research Support, Bath Spa University 
Professor Tony Fisher, Professor of Theatre, Politics and Aesthetics, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London

The event is open both to Vitae and GuildHE Research members.

Book your place now for session 2, Thursday 29 February 2024, 13:00-14:30

Session 3: Challenging ableism through the Concordat

Disabled staff often describe the transition from student to staff as a ‘cliff edge’. Institutional support falls away, and rigid ideas of the ‘ideal academic’ combine with inaccessible working environments to compound inequality. While some institutions have developed toolkits for managers supporting research staff, updated and publicised reasonable adjustment policies, and made changes to make workplaces more accessible, there is still much to be done. This event asks those responsible for Concordat planning and implementation to reflect and share what they are doing to address the barriers facing disabled research staff, and what still needs to happen.

This session will welcome the below speakers:

Professor Anna Lawson, Professor of Law, University of Leeds
Professor Dan GoodleyProfessor of Disability Studies and Education, University of Sheffield
Professor Gayle BrewerSenior Lecturer, University of Liverpool
Dr Nicole Brown, Head of Research Ethics and Integrity at IOE, Associate Professor at UCL and Director of Social Research & Practice and Education Ltd

Book your place now for session 3, scheduled for Tuesday 23 April 2024, 14:00-15:30