Commonly known as the Researcher Development Concordat, is an agreement between stakeholders to improve the employment and support for researchers and researcher careers in higher education in the UK.
It sets out three clear principles of environment and culture, employment, and professional and career development. The principles are underpinned by obligations for the four key stakeholder groups, funders, institutions, researchers, and managers of researchers, to realise the aims of the concordat. The secretariat responsibility for the concordat is held by Universities UK.
An original agreement was made in 1996, called A Concordat to Provide a Framework for the Career Management of Contract Research Staff in Universities and Colleges, between funding bodies and universities. It aimed to improve the support for contract research staff (now more usually termed research staff) in their career development.
The UK government published the R&D People and Culture Strategy in 2021 which aims to facilitate a research culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the flow of talent across the whole R&D ecosystem. It sets out objectives categorised by three pillars – People, Culture and Talent – which, together, have an overall ambition of attracting and retaining an additional 150,000 researchers by 2030. The concordat is a tool to catalyse this strategy and achieve the goal of creating a more positive, diverse, inclusive and open research culture.
The Researcher Development Concordat Strategy Group (RDCSG) is responsible for promoting the implementation of the principles of the Researcher Development concordat across the UK, in line with its implementation strategy and in partnership with other bodies. The group iteratively reviews the concordat to ensure it reflects the current research landscape, advise the secretariat on engagement activities and monitoring processes.
The RDCSG is comprised of representatives from funding bodies, higher education institutions, and other organisations and associations from within and outside of higher education that are signatories to the concordat’s values.