Brunel University London has received the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award, in recognition of its continued commitment to the career development and management of its research staff. The award recognises our success in supporting the professional development of our researchers and in implementing the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.
The UK Concordat provides a single statement of the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders. It is a national document with many signatories including Universities UK, HEFCE and Research Councils UK and other funders. It is also recognised by the European Commission as evidence of the UK’s affiliation to the European Charter and Code.
The Concordat consists of seven core principles:
- Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research.
- Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisation’s human resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.
- Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.
- The importance of researchers’ personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.
- Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to proactively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.
- Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers.
- The sector and all stakeholders will undertake regular and collective reviews of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK.
At Brunel University London, activity around the Concordat is led by the Graduate School, and coordinated and reviewed by a Concordat Implementation Group. An initial gap analysis was conducted in 2010, reviewing how well our current practice aligned with the principles of The Concordat. This process included surveys and a focus group of research staff.
The gap analysis was presented to the University’s Staff Development Strategy Group in October 2010. The first two year Action Plan was subsequently drawn up to coordinate efforts from a range of stakeholders within the University and the university was awarded EU HR Excellence in Research recognition in September 2011.The conditions of the award require biannual review – an internal review after the first two years, followed by an external review after four years. After two years an internal analysis of progress made was used to formulate our 2013-2015 Action Plan. We successfully undertook our four-year external review in September 2015, which led to the formulation of our current Concordat Action Plan 2015-2017. All Action Plans and Progress Reports can be found via the University’s Policies and Procedures page.
Full details of progress and achievements can be found within our EU HR Excellence documents on the Policies and Procedures page. Some achievement highlights include:
- The formation of a Brunel Research Staff Association
- The election of three research staff to Senate
- The appointment of a Career Development Champion for research staff (Professor Clare Williams)
- The establishment of a Concordat Implementation Group.
- The development of online courses including Research Integrity, Doctoral Supervision and Professional Skills for Research Leaders, available to all researchers and academic staff
- The creation of collaborative training opportunities for researchers in conjunction with other regional Universities
- The launch of Research Life - a platform to encourage networking between early career and expert researchers.