Seven universities and one funding council retain the HR Excellence in Research Award


57 UK universities and one funding council have demonstrated their continuing commitment to researcher development, by retaining the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award at the two year stage.

Today Vitae confirms that a further seven UK universities and one funding council have retained the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission, taking the UK total to 57.

Today, at the Vitae annual Researcher Development International Conference in Manchester, the latest organisations to retain the Award were announced by Ellen Pearce, Director of Vitae.

“I am delighted to announce the latest institutions to have retained the Award: Bangor University, City University London, Liverpool John Moores University, Oxford Brookes University, SOAS University of London, Scottish Funding Council, University of St Andrews and University of Wolverhampton. The external evaluation requires institutions to set out the progress they have made over a four year period and define their strategy for the next four. Given the focus in Horizon 2020 and at UK level on good career development opportunities for researchers; it is great to see so many organisations retaining their HR Excellence in Research Awards.”

The Award demonstrates a university's commitment to improving the working conditions and career development for research staff, which will in turn improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy. 

A total of 190 European organisations now hold the Award (ninety one of which are UK organisations) which also commits them to a programme of internal and external evaluation. 

The two year review requires institutions to highlight the key achievements and progress they have made since they gained the Award and to outline the focus of their strategy, success measures and next steps for the following two years.

“The HR Excellence in Research Award has provided us with a real focus on what we are doing to support professional and career development for researchers. The process of gaining and retaining the Award has helped us to clarify our thinking, identify and address gaps, and to plan how we will continue to improve our provision. We can see how things have moved forward over the last two years, as we have implemented our HR Excellence in Research action plan, and we are looking forward to using the Award to create further improvements over the next two years.” University of St Andrew’s

Professor Trevor McMillan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Keele University and UK panel member says:

“I am delighted that a further eight institutions have retained the Award at the two year point. Robust evidence of continuous progress, aligned to the Concordat to Support the Development of Researchers, is being demonstrated by Award holders that retain the Award. The careers of researchers are important to universities, research organisations, society and the wider employment sector; we need to continue to make improvements in the experiences of researchers on the ground.”

More information about the Award can be found here: