CRAC-Vitae supports the need for alignment on research culture

Clare Viney

by Clare Viney, CEO, CRAC-Vitae

The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) that manages the Vitae programme, welcomes the strong recommendation for the alignment of initiatives that support positive research culture in the Concordat and Agreements Review Phase II final report. The report’s vision for a set of shared principles to define a positive, inclusive, healthy, and open research culture aligns with CRAC-Vitae’s mission to help create the conditions within which researchers can thrive.

The publication of the report is timely because CRAC-Vitae are currently working with Shift Learning and the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) on a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) commission that will develop a model to help classify and group together initiatives that improve research culture. Since January, we have engaged with a diverse range of stakeholders in higher education, industry, and public/third sector organisations to develop and test this model of shared behaviours and values that feature in a positive research culture. This is running alongside a call for evidence, open until the end of May, that will map existing initiatives on research culture and identify gaps, strengths, and overlaps. In June, we will then run a series of four workshops that will co-develop priorities for the sector and recommendations to underpin a future Good Practice Exchange on research culture.

From Vitae’s experience managing the UK process for the HR Excellence in Research Award, which is aligned with the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, we see immense value in the report’s development of eight principles that create conditions within which researchers can thrive. Positive and meaningful change is indeed emergent, inclusive, clear, efficient, reinforcing, integrated, situated, and flexible. But there needs to be clear leadership to drive the research culture agenda, and this will need to be carefully coordinated to ensure it is inclusive of the full diversity of our research and innovation sector. We hope that the establishment of the Good Practice Exchange on research culture will galvanise and enable the community to drive the inclusive dialogue and practice required for change.