Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers: update on consultation

05/04/2019
Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers: update on consultation

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Chair of the Concordat Strategy Group provides an update on progress:

"On behalf of the Concordat Strategy Group (CSG), I would like to thank colleagues across the sector for responding to the CSG’s recent consultation on the recommendations of the independent review, led by Professor Bogle, of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. We received almost 600 responses which together have been incredibly helpful in shaping the revised text. The responses were overwhelmingly in favour of revitalising the Concordat and welcomed the opportunity to clearly define the specific responsibilities of funders, employers, principal investigators/managers of researchers and researchers, while showing the interdependencies and collective effort needed across the sector to take the agenda forward.

From the major topics – defining the population covered by the Concordat, increasing support for professional development, providing appropriate employment conditions, improving the environment and culture of research, and ensuring successful implementation of the Concordat – the responses were varied, with differences of opinion between institutions and individuals, and many caveats and nuanced responses even from those who broadly agreed with the recommendations. This richness of information has given rise to long and considered debates by both the CSG and Writing Group members on how to create a new text with both the required level of flexibility and enough ‘teeth’ to have real impact. The CSG will publish a full report on the consultation at the end of April.

I would like to congratulate the Writing Group, led by Professor Dianne Berry, for finding their way through this enormous task and thank them for the huge effort they are putting in on behalf of the sector. It is no mean feat to balance the, often conflicting, opinions of the sector and cut through to the core of each topic to produce a text that will work for the diverse range of funders, employers, principal investigators/managers of researchers and researchers.

The CSG has received and discussed the first draft of the Concordat Principles and is extremely pleased with the direction of the text so far. The Writing Group have incorporated the independent review’s recommendation to clarify the distinct responsibilities of each stakeholder group, whilst creating a structure that also acknowledges the importance of the whole institution approach and the collective efforts needed across the sector to achieve the goals articulated through the consultation. The new Principles are focused on three main areas: research culture and environment; conditions of employment; and professional and career development of researchers. The draft text so far promises a Concordat that will be clear, concise and accessible for all.

Following the incorporation of the CSG’s recent feedback, the Writing Group is expecting to provide the next draft of the Principles to the CSG after Easter. We have agreed that we will release this draft to the sector for comment and input to the final version, which we aim to publish in late June/early July. Alongside this, the CSG is reviewing its governance structures, membership and terms of reference to ensure that it is fit for purpose to oversee the implementation Concordat and support the development of talent pipeline."

April 2019

Background on the Concordat Strategy Group www.vitae.ac.uk/concordat

Members of the Concordat Writing Group www.vitae.ac.uk/policy/concordat-to-support-the-career-development-of-researchers/concordat-writing-group/concordat-writing-group

Independent Review of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers https://www.ukri.org/skills/policy-and-frameworks/review-of-the-concordat-to-support-the-career-development-of-researchers/