Update on the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

Update on the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

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

The Concordat Writing Group (CWG) is making excellent progress in writing the new Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. The CSG has recently reviewed the feedback from a range of key stakeholder groups who were asked to preview the latest draft of the Concordat to ascertain whether they had any major concerns. This has been a very useful exercise and has provided very valuable comments for the CWG to consider in the next iteration. On behalf of the CSG I’d like to thank the groups who took the time to do this.  

Overall, the structure of three principles and expectations for four stakeholder groups (funders, institutions, managers of researchers and researchers) has been well received and the CWG should be credited with producing text that encapsulates the complexity of the Concordat’s ambitions. The balance of feedback wanted to see more aspiration, more focus on outcomes, and more obligations within each principle to give the Concordat more teeth, while still maintaining the flexibility for different types of institutions and funders. Conversely, there were also requests for more concrete requirements so signatories know what they have to do to meet an obligation. 

Several groups highlighted that they would wish to see more explicit reference to the importance of allowing time for researchers to develop their individual research identity and leadership abilities and this will be incorporated into the next draft. However, the CSG agreed that this would not include a specific amount of time beyond the ten days for professional development. The CSG also agreed that the Concordat could include more requirements on funders, institutions and managers of researchers relating to the professional development of managers and principal investigators.

Additionally, the CSG agreed with the suggestion that some aspects of the Concordat, such as fixed term contracts and career tracking, required collective action of all stakeholders and this should be built into the expectations or governance arrangements.

As we are rapidly approaching the summer break, the CSG has agreed to give more time to the CWG to consider all this feedback in their next iteration and have decided to move the publication of the Concordat to September for the start of the next academic year.

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/ 

Concordat Strategy Group (CSG) report of consultation https://www.vitae.ac.uk/news/copy_of_concordat-strategy-group-report