Five Steps Forward

Five Steps Forward

New report: 'Five steps forward'

Five Steps Forward report launched and HR Excellence in Research announcement

Vitae, the global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers launches ‘Five Steps Forward’ at the Vitae Researcher Development International conference 2017. The report documents progress in implementing The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and is based on successive Careers in Research Online Surveys (CROS) and Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Surveys (PIRLS).

The report provides illuminating insights into the research environment in relation to the employment and professional and career development of researchers, such as: recruitment and selection, recognition and value, support and career development, researchers’ responsibilities, diversity and equality and implementation and review.

Positive and reassuring findings tell us that as many as 86% of research staff and research leaders agree that their institution is committed to equality and diversity (E&D). On the other hand, the report highlights significant room for progress in the areas of support and career development, revealing that only a quarter of research leaders feel fully confident in supervising/managing staff or providing career advice to them. Around 80% of research staff continue to aspire to an academic career, with more than 60% expecting to achieve this. Less than a fifth has undertaken career management training. 

Chair of the Concordat Strategy Group, Prof Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President, Brunel University, noted: ‘the report demonstrates the importance of the Concordat and how its Principles play such a significant part within UK Institutions’ policy and practice. Ensuring the pipeline of research talent is essential to the future of UK research and innovation’.

Dr Janet Metcalfe, Chair of Vitae commented that ‘Five Steps Forward provides timely evidence of the UK’s progress in supporting the career development of researchers and the key areas for future improvement to inform the current independent review of the Concordat. With almost 100 institutions holding the HR Excellence in Research Award, it is clear that institutions are committed to achieving the Concordat principles.’

Implementation of the Concordat principles is formally acknowledged through achieving and maintaining the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award. Vitae is pleased to announce that six UK universities have recently successfully retained their Award: Cranfield University and Leeds Beckett University (at two years), City University, The Open University and Ulster University (at four years) and The London School of Economics and Political Science (at six years). 100 institutions UK institutions currently hold the Award.

The two announcements are officially being embargoed until Monday 11 September 2017 at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference.

 Notes to editors: 

  1. Needs notes on what CROS and PIRLS are, how many HEIS participated in 2017 and number of responses
  2. A UK-wide process enables UK higher education institutions to gain the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award, which acknowledges their alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. The UK process enables institutions that have published Concordat implementation plans to gain the HR Excellence in Research Award.
  3. Vitae and its membership programme are managed by the Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited, an independent registered charity.
  4. There are 376 institutions in total with the Award (100 UK and 276 other European) institutions who have gained the recognition are listed on the EURAXESS website
  5. More information about the HR Excellence in Research Award can be found at:

About Vitae

Vitae is the global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers, experienced in working with institutions as they strive for research excellence, innovation and impact.

We are a non-profit programme, part of CRAC: the Career Development Organisation with over 45 years' experience in enhancing the skills and careers of researchers. We strengthen our members' institutional provision for the professional development of their researchers through research and innovation, training and resources, events, consultancy and membership

Vitae has four aims:

– Influence the development and implementation of effective policy relating to researcher development

– Enhance higher education provision to train and develop researchers

– Empower researchers to make an impact on their careers

– Evidence the impact of professional and career development support for researchers

Our partners include governments, funders of research, academies, professional bodies, trusts and foundations, universities and research institutes.

CRAC provides research intelligence and innovation for all those who support career development for people of all ages and in all sectors. We work in partnership with government agencies, education organisations and providers and employers and professional bodies.

CRAC is a registered charity No 313164 established in 1964.


To learn more about these two announcements, please contact:

Sarah Nalden, Marketing & Communications Executive

22 Signet Court, Swanns Road, Cambridge, CB5 8LA

Mobile: 07739 542369