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Queen Mary Academy

The Researcher Development Concordat & HR Excellence in Research Award

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is an agreement between funders and employers of research staff to improve the employment and support for researchers and research careers in UK Higher Education.

A composite image featuring the logos from the RD Concordat and the European HR Excellence in Research Award

Queen Mary is a proud Signatory to the Concordat as of January 2021 and has held the HR Excellence in Research Award since 2012.

About the Concordat

The Researcher Development Concordat sets out clear standards that research staff can expect from the institution that employs them, as well as their responsibilities as researchers. The Concordat was updated in September 2019 to a statement of three principles in support of researcher career development, outlining specific expectations and responsibilities of each major stakeholder:

  • Research Staff: at Queen Mary this includes postdoctoral researchers and fellows, and early-career researchers who have progressed to an academic staff post
  • Their managers: academic staff who manage or supervise researchers 
  • Institutions of Higher Education: research organisations who employ or host researchers
  • and the Research Funders 

Implementation of the RD Concordat at Queen Mary

We have published our 10-year HR Excellence in Research progress report and our 2022-2024 Action Plan. This is also our first Action Plan as a Concordat Signatory.

What it means for researchers

Researchers are encouraged to proactively engage in their own professional and career development.

The Concordat sets up a framework of responsibilities for the various stakeholders to support and enable UK researchers to accomplish this. Queen Mary has been committed to providing a thriving work environment to recruit and retain researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research for over a decade.

We offer our researchers career and development opportunities through skills training, courses, and events offered by the Queen Mary Academy, Careers & EnterpriseOrganisational and Professional Development (HR), Public Engagement, Media Engagement, The Language CentreThe Librarythe Joint Research Management Office (JRMO), as well as locally through each of the Schools and Institutes.

HR Excellence in Research Award and signatory status

The HR Excellence in Research Award

The European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award marks an institution’s commitment to upholding the RD Concordat (a UK proxy for The European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers). The award is granted to research organisations for putting forward an action plan that describes ways that the institution and its researchers will empower and support their research community.

Responsibilities & Review: To maintain the award, institutions have to publish an action plan every two years demonstrating a positive trajectory toward implementing the RD Concordat. These plans are reviewed every two years internally by our RD Concordat Implementation Group, and every four years by an external panel of experts across the UK and Europe. 

Our ten-year review took place throughout 2021 and we have published our Progress Report and  2022-2024 Action Plan here (see ‘Review Reports and Action Plans’ tab).

Signatory Status

This 2019 update of the RD Concordat encourages individual research organisations and funders to become signatories to demonstrate their support. QMUL become a signatory in January 2021. For a list of current signatories, visit the RD Concordat webpage and scroll to signatories section at the bottom.

QMUL Concordat Signatory Letter [PDF 145KB]

Responsibilities & Review: The responsibilities of signatory organisations involve formulating an Action Plan within a year of signing and then reporting progress to their governing bodies for review and approval on an annual basis; in our case, our Senior Executive Team and Council.

We have harmonised these two reporting processes, and will be updating our Senior Executive and Council on an annual basis. Every other year, the reports will form part of our HR Excellence in Research Award submission.

What has been achieved since 2012

Key Achievements since our initial Action Plan in 2012

Implementation & Review

  • A New RD Concordat Implementation Group (see RDCIG) was launched in 2020, with postdoc and academic staff representation, together with representatives from the faculty and institutional levels of Queen Mary.

Appraisal (Employment Principle)

  • Researchers fed into institutional reviews on appraisal, resulting in new online forms in 2021 that enabled separate discussions focused on career and professional development, and specific appraisal guidance for academic staff (managers of researchers). >35% more postdocs (responding in CEDARS 2021) rated appraisal as 'useful or very useful' overall, compared to 2019.
  • >10% increase in number of researchers reporting appraisals useful for focusing on career aspirations and identifying development opportunities (CROS 2019) following induction training introduced for both managers and appraisees (AP2018: Aim 1)
  • E-Appraisal, the online version of the Queen Mary Personal Development and Appraisal Scheme encourages annual reflection on short and long-term career planning between researchers and their research (line) managers. Approximately 70% of research staff engage in the annual appraisal.

Induction (Employment and Environment and Culture Principles)

  • Induction events at all levels reported more useful by researchers: CROS2017 shows an increase in respondent satisfaction with induction at institutional (15% increase), departmental (18%) and local (10%) levels (AP2016: Aim 2).

Mentoring (Professional and Career Development and Environment and Culture Principles)

  • A QMUL-wide mentoring scheme for postdocs was trialled in 2016/17 (AP2016: Aim 3) that provided a mentor for a cohort of 29 postdocs. Feedback collected part-way through the trial from mentees and mentors has been positive and this now forms part of the standard RD provision at QMUL. In 2019/20, this scheme expanded to enable postdocs to gain experience as mentors to PhD students.

Researcher Development (Professional and Career Development and Environment and Culture Principles)

  • QMUL’s RD programme has seen a 19% jump in engagement from 2018-2020, with over 70% of our researchers attending at least workshops, courses, or events (AP2018: Aim 3)
  • New courses are added annually to the growing programme, which offers training across all Vitae RDF domains, including a number of new workshops in the Intellectual Abilities Domain (A), as well as new courses in Academic Writing.
  • QConsult Researchers (2016-2019) placed 67 researchers into bespoke consultancy projects in and around London. Participants report a better knowledge of their skills and in a better position to achieve their career goals.
  • QMUL introduced the Springboard Women’s Development Programme at QMUL in 2016 (AP2016: Aim 7), and is attended by about 30 researchers annually. From 2020/21, QMUL will be trialling UNIque, a new women's development programme especially aimed at academic researchers.
  • QMUL Research Staff and Research Leaders feedback to us biennially via CROS and PIRLS Surveys. In 2019, we more than doubled the response obtained from our research community using these surveys! (AP2018-Aim 7) and will be running the newly developed CEDARS from 2021 which takes the place of these two surveys.
  • Bespoke 1-to-1 Development and Careers Support and Advice for researchers is available from QMUL’s dedicated Researcher Development Advisers () and Careers Advisers for Researchers (Careers and Enterprise)

Environment and Culture

  • QMUL holds nine externally-accredited Equality and Diversity Awards.
  • Equal Treatment of Research Staff: irrespective of contract type, research staff are entitled to Benefits and Redeployment opportunities after 1 year in post. 
  • Researcher-led initiative in 2014/15 resulted in the simplification and standardisation of postdoctoral researcher job titles and their profiles in place since 2016.

New initiatives for 2022-24

Action Plan 2022-2024 (AP2022)

Guided by the Queen Mary Strategy 2030, we present the following Aims that focus on further improving our support for research staff and for the academic staff who manage them which fall under four themes:

  1. Improving communications with our researchers and their managers so that they are better aware of the support mechanisms and resources available for them, assisting them to be productive sooner;
  2. Supporting researchers’ Development & Career Progression to ensure our researchers and managers are their best equipped to carry out excellent research;
  3. Supporting our research culture, so that our researchers are better connected in a strong, diverse and inclusive community;
  4. and Improving our support systems for the research community, to better enable them to flourish during their time at Queen Mary.

Aims for AP2022

  • Aim 1: Host a Launch Event for the Concordat Action Plan, the new Research Staff Code of Practice and Welcome Packs, and give researchers a chance to network with peers across all faculties. This event will run in March 2022 (Leads: RDCIG and relevant stakeholders).
  • Aim 2: Launch new Researcher Induction events as follow-ons from our Staff Welcome events from by January 2023, and three-times per year thereafter (Leads: RD Team with OPD).
  • Aim 3: Reorganise the RD programme and website for research staff in line with their feedback for the 2022/23 academic year (Leads: RD Team).
  • Aim 4: Explore functionality of new Learning Management System (LMS) for CPD tracking. It is expected that the new LMS will be in place by Sept 2022 (Leads: RD team with OPD and ITS).
  • Aim 5: Pause the RD team mentoring scheme for review (relaunch in 2022/23) of how barriers identified in AP2020 can be overcome to increase access to mentoring in 2021/22  (Leads: RD team).
  • Aim 6: Support local research cultures by exploring good practice and barriers for local Research Staff Associations over 2021-22 and sharing the findings over 2022-23 (Leads: RD team with local RSAs).
  • Aim 7: Implement a new operating model for EDI team and update the university-wide EDI strategy by 2023 (Leads: EDI team).
  • Aim 8: Review training available for managers of researchers and undertake a training needs analysis by Sept 2022 (Leads: RD team with OPD and Faculties).
  • Aim 9: Embed Concordat implementation into Faculties by the next reporting round (Leads: RD team with central teams and Faculties).
  • Aim 10: Create new support for research commercialisation by exploring how Q-Researcher Enterprise and the Queen Mary Entrepreneur Club can be expanded to include postdoctoral researchers by February 2023 (Leads: Enterprise team).

RD Concordat Implementation Group (RDCIG)

RD Concordat Implementation Group (RDCIG)

The Researcher Development Concordat Implementation Group was launched in August 2020 as part of our 2020-2022 Action Plan, and meets regularly to strategize, formulate actions, and report on feedback from our research community. QMUL’s Concordat Champion is Sheila Gupta, our Vice-Principal for People, Culture and Inclusion. Members include representatives at the Postdoctoral Researcher and Academic Staff (Manager of Researchers) levels from all Faculties, and the group is chaired and managed by staff from the Queen Mary Academy.

  • Sheila Gupta, MBE – Concordat Champion – Vice-Principal (People, Culture and Inclusion)
  • Prof Janet de Wilde  RDCIG Co-chair – Director of the Queen Mary Academy
  • Dr Anna Price  RDCIG Co-chair – Heard of Researcher Development, Queen Mary Academy
  • Dr Rui Pires Martins  RDCIG Manager – Researcher Development Adviser, Queen Mary Academy
  • Prof David Kelsell  SMD Academic Staff Rep – Professor of Human Molecular Genetics, Blizard Institute
  • Dr Claire Pardieu  SMD Research Staff Rep – Postdoctoral Researcher, Blizard Institute
  • Dr Jan Mol  S&E Academic Staff Rep – UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Reader in Quantum & Nanoelectronics, School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Dr Henry Giddens – S&E Research Staff Rep – Postdoctoral Research Assistant, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
  • Prof Morag Shiach – HSS Academic Staff Rep – Professor of Cultural History, School of English and Drama
  • Dr Sydney Calkin  HSS Research Staff Rep – Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, School of Geography
  • Samantha Holborn and Julie Jamgotchian  Human Resources Rep  Faculty Strategic HR Partner (job-share), Science and Engineering
  • Anna Boneham – HSS Faculty Research Manager
  • Joyce Jones – S&E Faculty Research Manager
  • Adam Wilkinson – SMD Research Deanery Representative
  • Alex Prestage – Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

The RDCIG's Terms of Reference: RDCIG - Terms of Reference (Dec 2020) [PDF 264KB]

Links

The Concordat and European Charter Documents

 UKRI Supporting Skills and Talent

Get in touch

For further information please contact Dr Rui Pires Martins.

Email Dr Rui Pires Martins
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