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The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

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The Researcher Development Concordat 2019 is structured around three Principles:

  • Environment and Culture - Excellent research requires a supportive and inclusive research culture
  • Employment - Researchers are recruited, employed and managed under conditions that recognise and value their contributions
  • Professional and Career Development - Professional and career development are integral to enabling researchers to develop their full potential

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

Who is the Concordat aimed at?

The primary beneficiary of the Concordat principles are those employed to conduct research (postdocs and early career researchers). It is to benefit the whole researchers community within the UK to improve the environment and culture within which research is conducted. The York Graduate Research School has taken the decision to extend the implementation of the commitment to Professional Development to Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs).

Organisations who wish to sign up to implementing 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 Concordat Strategy Group.

The University's Action Plan

The University of York's Researcher Development Action Plan was co-created by researchers, PIs and Professional Support Staff as part of a rigorous concordat consultation process. Three RD Concordat Implementation Working Groups have been formed to take forward these groups. They include representation from PIs, researchers, Fellows and professional service staff.

Implementing the Concordat

The University of York became signatory of the RD 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 gathering and acting 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. The University’s specific commitment reads as follows:

The Principles of Employment, Professional & Career Development and Environment & Culture map to our Equality, Diversion and Inclusion strategy and HR policies and to our institutional commitment to provide a working and learning environment which is fair, welcoming and inclusive and where staff and students can fulfil their potential. We will bring together colleagues from academic departments (at all career stages), professional services and our research staff liaison officers to ensure the creation and implementation of an ambitious and robust action plan. We agree to work collectively and engage with initiatives to address systemic challenges in progressing towards a UK research system where researchers work in healthy and supportive environments. We agree that researchers should be recognised and valued for their contributions in research and beyond, supported in their professional and career development, and equipped and empowered to succeed in their chosen careers.

The Concordat Implementation Group oversee the creation and implementation of the RD Concordat. The group is chaired and championed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement

The Concordat - Essential Information for Institutions (PDF , 261kb)

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

  • Opportunities, structured support, encouragement and time for researchers to engage in a minimum of 10 days professional development pro rata per year, recognising that researchers will pursue careers across as wide range of employment sectors
  • Opportunity and time to develop their research identity and leadership skills 
  • Monitoring and recording of 10 days minimum professional dev training and career development reviews 
  • Training, support and time for PIs/managers to engage in meaningful career development reviews (not PDR) with their researchers 

Supporting Professional Development

One of the key promises that is embedded in the Concordat is a commitment to ensure that all research staff are undertaking 10 days of professional development activity each year, in addition to their research role. We recognise that these activities are already highly prevalent across the University and that researcher development is of direct benefit and relevance to research outcomes.  We are eager to formally track these important activities through professional development reviews, while also identifying gaps in training that could be filled by central and faculty based programme provision.

As part of your conversations with researchers in their Performance and Development Review (PDR) you can use the Supporting Professional Development Discussions with Researchers document below to help you and the individual researcher to identify professional development activities that have taken place over the previous year and opportunities for the future that will enable them to develop their identity and skills as research staff.

Supporting Professional Development Discussions with Researchers 2021 (PDF , 54kb)


New Staff induction webpages

Information for new staff can now found on our new staff induction webpages.

Futher information