The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

Hopefully you are familiar with the Concordat? It is a sector owned document, rolled out eight years ago and it is a ‘good practice’ guide for institutions in the support of our researchers.

Externally, we are measured on our success in implementing the Concordat’s seven principles through the HR Excellence in Research Award which is independently reviewed every two years.

Over the last 18 months, we wanted to dig a bit deeper into how things are going and as a result, the Research Staff Development Committee, charged me with going on a tour of the University to find out about the environment for researchers.

Between December 2014 and May 2015, 26 conversations took place across the university, involving 129 individuals from across all departments to explore the environment for research staff in line with the ‘Concordat’. The information from these conversations was utilised to create:

  • A Departmental narrative summary of each meeting
  • Five Faculty level reports to enable a Faculty-tailored response to the ideas shared
  • A set of university-wide recommendations

All the documents can be found on this ‘Delivering the Values’ webpage.

We are now one year on from the last focus group conversation and I think there have been some useful outputs so far:

  • The institution has signed up to the set of core recommendations of good practice that we are have a part in
  • Feedback from the conversations have already fed in to various projects relating to talent attraction, for example a process improvement review of recruitment and selection
  • Debate had about which members of staff fall under the category, ‘Early Career Researcher’ have been shared with RCUK to inform their practices

This is on top of all that is already being achieved by our researchers through societies, initiatives such as the ‘Tuning In’ series and committees throughout the institution.

We are always interested in the researcher environment and how things are going for researchers. Don’t forget, “Think Ahead operates a continuous listening campaign for all researchers at the University of Sheffield, both staff and students, so you can let us know what matters to you, how it’s going, what’s great, and what could be better.” (Think Ahead blog June 2014)

How do you think we are all doing in relation to the Concordat? What contribution are you making?


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