The first snapshot review of the research ‘concordats and agreements’ landscape has been published. Plans for the next stage of the project are underway.

In Summer 2021, Universities UK, UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome commissioned research agency Basis Social to provide a snapshot of what concordats and agreements, referred to as initiatives, mean to the research landscape. It covers the overall effect of initiatives on research culture but does not evaluate the impact of each individual initiative. This is the first time a review of the whole landscape has been done and it offers an insightful picture of the relationship between concordats as well as of their impact on the whole system. The study included a consultation from implementers, senior leaders, and owners of each initiative.

Key findings of the report show that initiatives have a positive impact on research culture, particularly through the facilitation of open discussions on sensitive subjects and engaging senior leadership to support organisational change. However, it tells of a complex landscape. For example, due to successful embedding of processes at organisational level, it is difficult to evidence the direct impact of some aspects of initiatives. Whilst the report finds no obvious overlaps between aims of initiatives, there’s a clear call for better alignment or coordination in the landscape to reduce administrative burden.

The Researcher Development Concordat Strategy Group (RDCSG) were represented in the development of the report and support its findings. Additionally, the purpose of this work is to drive forward the actions outlined in the UK government’s R&D People and Culture Strategy and Independent Review of Research Bureaucracy to enact positive culture change and minimise bureaucracy, which are wholly and actively supported by the RDCSG. Phase 2 of the project will convene initiative owners and key stakeholders to co-create a plan of action based on the findings.

Professor Julia Buckingham, Chair of the RDCSG, said “The RDCSG welcomes the findings of this report, and we look forward to supporting the next stage of this project. It’s very useful to see an overall picture of these initiatives that help to inform research culture. We are committed to working with other initiatives to continue our collective progress in creating an inclusive and positive research environment while minimising bureaucracy.”

The tender to facilitate the next phase will be launched this month.

In case you missed it..