The second phase review of the ‘Concordats and Agreements’ landscape has been published. It proposes a number of actions for the research and innovation community to improve the collective impact of the various initiatives.

Published in March 2022, the first snapshot review of the concordats and agreements shone a light on the complexity of the landscape. While acknowledging the importance of these initiatives in contributing to positive research cultures and environments, the review called for better alignment and coordination to help reduce administrative burden and increase their collective impact. In response to these findings, Universities UK, UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome commissioned consultants Oxentia Ltd for a second phase of the review, bringing together initiative owners and the wider research and innovation community to explore opportunities to enhance the influence, capacity and efficiency of the concordats and agreements and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy across the landscape. The report outlines a plan of action, developed collaboratively with initiative owners and key stakeholders.

The findings from the report show a shared commitment among initiative owners to better integrate and align the concordats and agreements. Moving towards a more ‘culture-centric’ approach, whereby separate concordats and initiatives work to a shared set of values and principles, will contribute to a shared understanding of positive research culture and the positive actions required to achieve it. Initiative owners will need to work collaboratively, both with each other and with the other key instruments and stakeholders in the sector, to streamline and align data collection and reporting requirements to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and maintain a common purpose.

The Researcher Development Concordat Strategy Group (RDCSG) were represented in the development of the report and support its findings. This is a collective responsibility and the RDCSG is committed to dedicating time and engagement to support the outcomes of the Review. The actions outlined will also support the objectives in both the UK government’s R&D People and Culture Strategy and Independent Review of Research Bureaucracy to enact positive culture change and minimise bureaucracy, objectives which the RDCSG wholly and actively supports. We look forward to working with other initiatives and stakeholders in developing this aligned understanding and approach to creating positive and inclusive research environments.

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