The Researcher Development Concordat Strategy Group (RDCSG) are delighted to publish our annual report, showcasing sector activities and progress towards implementing the Concordat principles in 2022.

The report provides an overview of the work undertaken by the RDCSG to meet its commitments as governing body for the Concordat. In 2022, the RDCSG expanded its membership and established dedicated working groups to review the Concordat, measure success, and strengthen engagement with the research and innovation community. Key highlights include developing and launching a dedicated Concordat website to support signatories and share good practice, successfully delivering the annual research culture and practice forum, and publishing new reporting templates to support the monitoring and evaluation of sector progress.

The report also provides the first systemic analysis of signatories’ action plans and institutional annual reports, highlighting the vast and varied amount of activity being done to improve the research culture, employment conditions and professional development for research staff. There are excellent examples of case studies from both RDCSG member organisations and institutional signatories, covering a wide range of innovative initiatives, from lifelong skills and career development platforms to to new and inclusive funding application assessments.

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

“With the pandemic waning, 2022 was a year of growing momentum and we have been hugely encouraged to see the green shoots of positive change. A systemic analysis of our signatories’ action plans and the first tranche of institutional annual reports showed a very high level of engagement and ambition, with a degree of commonality of focus and a range of examples of good practice and innovative approaches to dealing with the systemic challenges.”

The RDCSG are aware that there is still much to do, and the report concludes with our key priorities and commitments for 2023. The precarity of research careers remains a systemic issue, and we plan to launch an open discussion with the sector to explore ways to improve the terms of employment for researchers. We will also work to gain a better understanding of researcher career paths, both in academia and beyond, to improve the careers advice and professional development opportunities available to our highly talented and skilled researchers.

We will also be bringing the research community together again for our 2023 Research Culture and Practice Forum in June, which we are hosting in partnership with the Technician Commitment, as well as the Research Integrity and Knowledge Exchange Concordats. This will be a fantastic opportunity to learn from the diverse range of voices in the sector about the work being done to address key research culture and practice issues, and the role of the concordats and initiatives in driving positive change.

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