Information for researchers

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The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, also known as the Researcher Development Concordat, is an agreement between employers of researchers and research funders on the expectations for the professional development and employment conditions of researchers in the UK. Organisations sign the Concordat to show their commitment to achieving its Principles for the environment and culture, employment and professional and career development of researchers.

The Concordat is an aspirational, flexible and living document that will adapt to the evolving research environment and can be used by different types of organisations. Employers can demonstrate their commitment in different ways or prioritise just a few areas of the Concordat to start with. The Concordat signatories should also engage with systemic challenges, such as reducing use of fixed-term contracts, increasing security of employment and gathering data on career paths of researchers.

Research integrity landscape study

In partnership with UKRIOVitae have been commissioned by Research England, on behalf of UKRI to undertake a research integrity landscape study. This project will consider the effects of incentives (drivers and motivators) in the research system on researcher behaviour in the context of research integrity, how these incentives are perceived by different stakeholders and the impact of these incentives on researcher behaviour and organisational practices more broadly. You can complete the survey here.

What does it mean for me as a researcher?
The Concordat Principles

What does it mean for me as a researcher?

If your university or research institute has signed up to the Researcher Development Concordat, you can expect them to be working towards meeting the signatory responsibilities, as well as those laid out for institutions within the Concordat Principles.

The Concordat also sets expectations for you, your managers, and research funders, to recognise that professional and career development is a shared responsibility. You should familiarise yourself with these expectations, listed under the Principles below, some of which may also be included in your employment contract or funding conditions.

Environment and culture

Employment

Professional and career development

You can read the expectations on the other stakeholders here.

Leaflet with essential information for researchers.

What is the Researcher Development Concordat?
Background

What is the Researcher Development Concordat?

The 2019 Researcher Development Concordat has been co-created by a sector writing group with representatives from all the stakeholder groups, including researchers, and is owned by the higher education sector as a whole. It is overseen by the Concordat Strategy Group, which includes representatives from research funders and institutions, as well as other sector stakeholders.

This follows an Independent Review of the 2008 Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and a sector wide Consultation in early 2019. The new Concordat has been drafted to reflect sector challenges and opportunities for the next decade.

"We believe that if all parties work together to ensure effective implementation of the Principles, all UK researchers will be working in healthy and supportive research environments."

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Chair of the Concordat Strategy Group

Who is included as a 'researcher'?
Definition

Who is included as a 'researcher'?

A researcher is defined as an individual whose primary responsibility is to conduct research and who is employed specifically for this purpose by a higher education institution or research institute.

Within this group, it is recognised that staff often have different contract types, levels of training, experience and responsibility, as well as different career expectations and intentions. Disciplinary and institutional context can also mean a broad range of job titles fall within this definition.

There are many other groups of individuals who actively engage in research within institutions and who would be expected to develop their research identity as part of their career progression, including postgraduate researchers, staff on teaching and research or teaching-only contracts, clinicians, professional support staff and technicians. However, whilst institutions are encouraged to apply the benefits of the Concordat to as many of these groups as is feasible, the primary audience for this Concordat remains research staff.

Where institutions extend the beneficiaries of the Concordat to wider groups of researchers, they should communicate clearly to which groups the Concordat applies, and inform those communities of their rights and obligations.

How do I engage with my own professional development?
Supporting researchers

How do I engage with my own professional development?

Here you will find links to resources to help you engage with your own professional and career development.

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework describes the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers.

Research integrity landscape study

In partnership with UKRIO, Vitae have been commissioned by Research England, on behalf of UKRI to undertake a research integrity landscape study. This project will consider the effects of incentives (drivers and motivators) in the research system on researcher behaviour in the context of research integrity, how these incentives are perceived by different stakeholders and the impact of these incentives on researcher behaviour and organisational practices more broadly. You can complete the survey here.

What is my institution doing in response to the Concordat Principles?
Implementation

What is my institution doing in response to the Concordat Principles?

As part of their signatory responsibilities organisations must produce an annual report to their governing body or equivalent authority, which includes their strategic objectives, measures of success, implementation plan and progress, which subsequently is publicly available.

Examples of Practice

Vitae HR Excellence in Research Award

Find out if your institution is a signatory

How can I support and engage with the Concordat?
Engage and share

How can I support and engage with the Concordat?

Collection of resources to help the research community engage with the Concordat:

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