The University of Liverpool has transformed Concordat governance by prioritising the research staff experience through enhanced representation and operating structures. The Concordat is firmly situated as a core institutional strategic priority at the University’s Strategy 2026 commits to “endorse the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, recognising that a positive and inclusive culture that fosters personal and professional development is key to success.” (p.10)

The University’s Concordat Steering Group (CSG) provides a robust framework for the implementation, realisation of benefits and monitoring of support for the University’s diverse and talented postdoctoral and early career research fellow community. This transparent approach to internal governance is led by the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact (PVC R&I) who chairs the CSG in liaison with the University’s Head of Researcher Development and Research Culture. The CSG has a diverse, targeted membership, including the Associate PVCs for Research and Impact, the University’s Research Staff Association (RSA), research-related professional departments such as HR, the Diversity and Equality Team, Research Support Office, the Open Research Team and the Technicians Network. Critically, there are 7 research staff representatives on the CSG, who ensure the Group’s accountability to Liverpool’s postdoctoral and early career researchers, and consistent reflections of the researcher experience at Liverpool.

Operation of the Concordat Steering Group

The work of the CSG is fully embedded across the operation of the University. The Academy, a recognised centre of excellence in researcher development, leads the inclusive approach to the development and implementation of the Concordat via 6-8 weekly formal CSG meetings. The CSG reports to the R&I Committee, creating alignment to other R&I activities and, in turn, reports to University’s Council and the Planning and Resources Committee. In addition, the Concordat is embedded within parallel activities, including the formal management of the Athena Swan Charter, the Technician Commitment and the Race Equality Charter, ensuring that synergies and aspirations for research staff are foregrounded across all key areas.

Dedicated workshops with CSG members enable a governance approach that regularly reviews progress, collates input from key stakeholders, shares effective practice across Faculties, ensures alignment, accelerates decision making and enables efficient communication around research staff experiences.

Direct Insights into Researchers’ Lived Realities 

The RSA provides a vital forum for Concordat action plan progress, priorities and review. All weekly RSA e-bulletins contain a separate section on Concordat-related updates and information, including signposting resources related to wellbeing, EDI, bullying and harassment, HR policies and guidance for research staff on using their 10 days of professional development, and more. In addition, the RSA organises annual Concordat consultation sessions with its 920 members, the most recent being a session in May 2022 titled ‘What does the Concordat mean for me? The UK Concordat from the perspective of research staff’.

Postdoctoral and early career research fellows at Liverpool also directly contributed into the design and development of the University’s obligatory role-related open-access module on the Researcher Development Concordat. This development module is the first of its kind in the Higher Education sector nationally and empowers researchers with the knowledge to actively be part of the institution’s efforts for change.

Placing the research community at the heart of Concordat governance processes means the University of Liverpool not only provides a voice to those it seeks to support, but actively empowers researchers to engage meaningfully in the enhancement of institutional research culture.

The University of Liverpool is a signatory to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. 

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