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The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (commonly referred to also as the Researcher Development Concordat) is a set of commitments designed to improve the experience and career outcomes of researchers in the UK.

What is the scope of the Concordat?

The Researcher Development Concordat 2019 is structured around three Principles:

Environment and Culture

Healthy working environments attract and develop a more diverse workforce, impact positively on individual and institutional performance, and enhance staff engagement.


This principle recognises the importance of fair, transparent, and merit-based recruitment, progression and promotion, effective performance management, and a good work-life balance.

Professional and Career Development

Researchers must be equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse global research environment and employment market.

Each Principle is underpinned by obligations for four stakeholder groups: funders, institutions, researchers and managers of researchers (PIs).

The obligations of the Concordat include a commitment to the provision and implementation of a range of opportunities and interventions. This includes:

Identity & Leadership

Opportunity and time to develop their research identity and leadership skills

Monitoring of Training

Monitoring and recording of the 10 days minimum of professional development training, plus career development reviews

Support for PIs & Managers

Training, support and time for PIs/managers to engage in meaningful career development reviews (not PDR) with their researchers

Who is the Concordat aimed at?

The primary beneficiary of the Concordat principles are those employed to conduct research (postdocs and early career researchers), although improving the environment and culture within which research is conducted benefits the whole research community.

Organisations who wish to sign up to implement the Principles of the Concordat must produce an action plan detailing how the principles will be implemented. The Concordat is owned by the sector and overseen by the Researcher Development Concordat Strategy Group supported by Universities UK. Institutions can gain formal recognition of their support for researchers in line with the RD Concordat through the HR Excellence in Research Award.

Learn more about York's HR in Excellence Research Award

The Concordat at York

The University of York became a signatory of the Researcher Development Concordat in March 2020. In committing to the implementation of the principles, the University has an obligation to undertake a gap analysis, publish an action plan and to systematically gather and act upon the view of researchers to inform policies and practices. The University joins UKRI, UUK and other major funders of research along with a significant number of Russell Group universities.

Learn more about the Concordat

As part of a commitment to increasing awareness and engaging researchers across all career stages in discussion about the Concordat, our Research Staff Liaison Officers facilitated discussions around the following questions:

What would a positive research culture at York look and feel like?

What could we do differently around employment at York?

What would make a difference to your working life with regards to professional and career development?

Finally, what type of activities could constitute "10 days of training"?

These consultations enabled the creation of:

  • The Looking Beyond Horizons career development resources -  which include a prompt list of career development opportunities, a postdoctoral researcher career journey planner and a template for a Professional Development Plan to be reviewed as part of the annual performance review process.
  • A number of departmental and postdoc forum led events
  • Greater awareness of the redeployment processes and policies to support researchers

The intelligence gained through the consultations and the Departmental Concordat Action Plans coupled with Research Culture Cafes have informed the creation of the University’s Research Culture Action Plan.

York's Researcher Development Concordat Action Plan 

The University of York's Researcher Development Concordat Action Plan was co-created by researchers, PIs and Professional Support Staff as part of a rigorous consultation process. The University Research Culture Working Group (RCWG) provides strategic leadership for ensuring a collaborative, supportive and inclusive institutional culture at York, including the creation, implementation and monitoring of the University’s Concordat Action Plan. The University RCWG is chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and includes representation from PIs, researchers, Fellows and professional service staff.

As HR Excellence in Research (HREiR) Award holders, the latest University of York Researcher Development Concordat Action Plan is included in the most recent HREiR Award (2022-2025) documentation.