On 5th July 2022, Universities UK (UUK) hosted an online forum which brought together topics from both the Researcher Development and Research Integrity Concordats, for the first time.

There were insightful and helpful sessions for and from the researcher community: from mental health and wellbeing to addressing the stigma surrounding research careers outside of traditional academia. The day also saw sessions addressing ways to improve collective accountability in research integrity and how to build and engage community, to name a few. Speakers included researchers, researcher developers and institutional champions of research culture as well as representatives from government, industry, UUK and GuildHE.

Addressing the implementation of the R&D People and Culture Strategy, the forum welcomed Brigid Feeny from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to speak about the work that government is doing to improve and progress understanding of research culture. Dr Ben Raynor (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales) and Dr Charlotte Matheson (Scottish Funding Council) gave updates on the research and innovation culture policy landscape and activity in Wales and Scotland, respectively. Additionally, members of UKRI’s Research and Innovation Culture team, joined the forum to present on the benefits of adopting the narrative CV in recruitment, promotion and career development and to update on the roll-out which was actioned in the strategy.

Other sessions addressed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, specifically on the barriers to attracting and retaining diverse and international researchers, as well as sharing best practice amongst the community. Actions for advocacy organisations and funders have been taken away to further progress with other key stakeholders and keep conversations going to address these issues.

With audiences and actors of both concordats in one ‘virtual’ room, groups could identify the connection between, and value of, good culture and good practice. Barriers to achieving excellent practice and research outcomes often trace back to wellbeing, health, pay, career development, progression and satisfaction of the research community. It is vital we consider the various tangents of the research system as one collaborative solution to better and healthier research in the UK.

We’re excited to keep the momentum and enthusiasm for these issues going and would welcome any discussions you’d like have with the Researcher Development Concordat secretariat. We’d also like to ensure that the voices of researchers are heard through publishing blogs, articles and stories via our Researcher Stories blog feed. If you are a researcher, at any stage of your career, and would like to tell your story and raise awareness for career development, please get in touch.

To arrange a discussion or submit your story, contact CDRsecretariat@universitiesuk.ac.uk

If you would like to watch the session recordings of the Research Culture and Practice Forum, please visit the Events UUK YouTube channel.

In case you missed it..