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The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

Launched in June 2008, the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is an agreement between the funders and employers of researchers in the UK regarding the ways in which the careers of researchers should be supported, providing:

    ‘a single, unambiguous statement of the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders’.

It is based around 7 principles relating to the way that researchers are recruited, recognised and valued; the way that researchers and research careers should be supported by managers, employers and funders; researchers’ own responsibilities; diversity and equality; and the implementation and review of the Concordat.

The seven principles of the Concordat

  1. Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research.
  2. 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.
  3. Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.
  4. The importance of researchers' personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.
  5. Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.
  6. Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers
  7. The sector and all stakeholders will undertake regular and collective review of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK.

 

What does the Concordat mean for me?

As a researcher in the UK the 2008 Concordat should have a direct effect on the way that you are employed and managed. The Concordat will give you a clear overview of what you can expect from your manager, your employer and your funder. It also provides guidelines regarding your responsibilities both in terms of conducting your research, but also in your personal and professional development. Vitae, the national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff, has produced a briefing for research staff on how to make the most of the Concordat.

Implementing the Concordat at Cardiff University

Cardiff University is fully committed to implementing the principles of the Concordat. A benchmarking exercise was undertaken to assess the University’s activity and strategy in respect of the career development of researchers against its seven principles. This work was informed by the feedback received from Cardiff’s research staff in the 2009 Careers in Research Online Survey. The results of the benchmarking exercise are published in the resources section of this page. From this benchmarking exercise the University produced a two year (2010-2012) action plan. This action plan has been reviewed and revised and is available in the Resources Section of this web-page.

HR Excellence in Research and the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

Cardiff University has been recognised by the European Commission for its efforts in improving the working conditions and career development opportunities for its researchers.  The ‘HR Excellence in Research’ accreditation is awarded to those institutions which demonstrate a commitment to, and progress towards implementing, The European Charter and Code for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers ('Charter and Code’). This system of accreditation was designed by the European Commission to provide researchers across Europe with a clear way of identifying those employers which are committed to creating a favourable working environment for researchers. 

What are the European Charter and Code for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers?

The Charter and Code are aimed at researchers in both the public and private sectors, as well as their employers and funders.  Their implementation forms part of the European Union's strategy for improving the attractiveness of research careers, which is seen as crucial to its aim of stimulating economic growth in Europe. 

How does the Concordat relate to the European Charter and Code?

The UK’s Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is designed to complement the European Charter and Code, and the endorsement of the principles of the former is, by default, an expression of commitment to the principles of the Charter and Code.

HR Excellence in Research Badge

A UK-wide process enables UK HEIs to gain the European Commission’s ‘HR excellence in research’ badge, which acknowledges their alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. The UK process incorporates both the QAA Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers to enable institutions that have published Concordat implementation plans to gain the ‘HR excellence in research’ badge. The UK approach includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.