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York retains HR Excellence in Research Award

Posted on 27 January 2015

The University of York is one of ten UK universities to retain the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission.

Following an external evaluation administered by Vitae, which is supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and UK HE funding bodies, York retains the award for a further four years.

The results were announced today by Ellen Pearce, Director of Vitae, on behalf of the UK panel, at the Vitae ‘HR Excellence in Research Award: exploring strategies for evaluation, evidence and future directions’ event in London.

She said: “The Award demonstrates a university's commitment to improving the working conditions and career development for research staff, which will in turn improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy.”

The external review requires institutions to highlight key achievements and progress they have made since they gained the Award four years ago and to outline the focus of their strategy, success measures and next steps for the next four years.

Professor Deborah Smith, the University of York’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: “Renewal of the HR Excellence Award together with our strong REF results demonstrate that our current and continued support for researchers is vital both for their individual success and for our institutional ambition that our research is dynamic, inspirational and life changing in its impact." 

Dr Karen Clegg, Director of the Researcher Development Team at York added:  “Retention of the Award four years on signals that as a research organisation we are wholly committed to the career development of our researchers. While the Award is important, there is still work to be done and we will continue to work with researchers; PIs and support departments to ensure that collectively we provide the very best environment we can for our current and future researchers.”

Peter Dröll (Acting Director), European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, Innovation Union and European Research Area, said: “Research and Innovation are vital to ensure future prosperity and growth. As we celebrate 10 years since the launch of the European Charter and Code for Researchers, I am delighted to congratulate the first UK universities to be successful in the external evaluation of their HR strategies for researchers. This is a good day for the European Research Area.”

A total of 205 European organisations now hold the Award which also commits them to a programme of internal and external evaluation.

More information about the Award can be found here:

Further information:

  • A UK-wide process enables UK higher education institutions to gain the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award, 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 Quality Code for Higher Education - Chapter B11: Research Degrees’ 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 Award. The UK approach includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.
  • Vitae is supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and UK HE funding bodies, managed by CRAC: The Career Development Organisation and delivered in partnership with regional Hub host universities. Vitae supports the UK HR Excellence in Research Award process for Vitae member organisations.
  • There are 205 institutions in total with the Award (91 UK and 114 other European). Institutions who have gained the recognition are listed on the EURAXESS website
  • For more information about Vitae activities, please visit

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