UK universities receive European Commission's recognition for researcher development


A further 12 UK institutions have recently achieved the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission, bringing the UK total to 50 higher education institutions recognised in this way.

Professor Eric Thomas, speaking as President of Universities UK, said

‘I am delighted to announce that 12 UK institutions have been awarded the HR Excellence in Research Award by the European Commission for their work to implement the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. Research and innovation are a key priority for UK universities and this award recognises the increase in support being provided for the career and professional development of researchers.’

A UK-wide process enables UK higher education institutions to gain the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award [LINK], which acknowledges their alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. The UK process incorporates both the QAA Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers to enable institutions that have published Concordat implementation plans to gain the HR Excellence in Research Award. The UK approach includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.

Guy Gregory, HR Director at Bristol University and a member of the Concordat Strategy Group on behalf of UHR and the UK panel which assessed the latest submissions said:

‘These announcements highlight universities' increasing and sustained commitment to training and developing researchers and to continual improvements in provision as we implement the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. Since the Concordat was launched, significant improvements have been made, but we need to maintain this progress in the current environment with increasingly competitive funding and to maintain our position globally.’

Ellen Pearce, Director, Vitae, UK representative on the European Commission HR Strategy Group:

‘We now have over 50 UK universities in receipt of this international recognition for their work to develop researcher careers. We hope that many other UK institutions will gain the recognition from the European Commission over the coming months.’

Vitae is supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK), managed by CRAC: The Career Development Organisation and delivered in partnership with regional Hub host universities.

Further information

Jen Reynolds
Communications team
T: 01223 460277

Other European institutions (currently 29) to gain the recognition are listed on the EURAXESS website

The UK universities to gain the HR Excellence in Research Award are:
Bath Spa University
University of Brighton
University of Hull
Institute of Education, London
King's College London
University of Oxford
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen's University Belfast
Royal Veterinary College, University of London
University of Southampton
University of Surrey
University of the West of England, Bristol

Each tranche of UK submissions is assessed by a panel of reviewers, which in this tranche consisted of:

  • Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, Master of University College Oxford and Chair of the Concordat Strategy Group (to December 2011)
  • Guy Gregory, HR Director, University of Bristol; Chair of South West region, UHR; and Member of the Concordat Strategy Group
  • Dagmar Meyer, Policy Officer - DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Lee Parry, Research Associate, Cardiff University and member of the UK Research Staff Association
  • Ellen Pearce, Director, Vitae and UK representative on the EC HR Strategy Group and on behalf of the Concordat Strategy Group

The award acknowledges that institutions have completed a gap analysis of their existing policies and practice against the Concordat, developed a robust action plan for implementation, and taken into account the views of researchers

Institutions wishing to gain the EC recognition should contact , or , in the first instance.

Information about the UK Concordat can be found at here.