Efforts to improve the conditions, culture and career progression of UK researchers are bearing fruit, according to a new set of case studies published by the Researcher Development Concordat Strategy Group, supported by Universities UK (UUK).

Signatories of the ‘Researcher Development Concordat’ – including The Royal Society, The British Academy, and UK Research and Innovation – are working in tandem with UK universities and research organisations to deliver on the UK government’s People & Culture Strategy, by implementing action plans that promote equality, diversity and inclusion, skills development, career mobility and networking opportunities for early-career researchers and beyond.

The news comes amid renewed priorities for the concordat, which transferred its secretariat to UUK in 2021 and adopted a new governance structure to better support signatories and galvanise the UK research and innovation community. The new structure and strategy aim to ensure the voices of the community are heard at national level with engagement opportunities for researchers at all career stages, industry leaders and senior university management, to name a few. It also aims to regularly review and update the concordat to reflect policy developments and closely measure the impact of the group’s efforts on the sector. The ambitious new plans aim to demonstrate the value, impact and importance of strongly committing to researcher career development and culture.

Professor Julia Buckingham, Chair of the Researcher Development Concordat Strategy Group said:

“The government’s People & Culture Strategy has rightly identified areas where research culture in the UK could be improved to make best use of the nation’s talent. The Researcher Development Concordat is a powerful tool that can catalyse the delivery of this strategy, and evidence shows that institutional leaders are already making the kinds of changes we need to support the government’s ambitions.”

The report highlights some of the excellent activities that have been introduced by signatories to the concordat. It also provides a set of good practice case studies that outline improvements to research culture by the establishment of staff networks, forums, and communities of practice. There are excellent examples of leadership programmes and improved processes for the assessment and promotion of researchers. This concordat is a tool to continuously improve the conditions and culture for researchers in the UK and holds research organisations and universities accountable for supporting their people effectively.

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