Bristol's commitment to research staff development

Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

The University of Bristol has signed up to the UK Condordat (PDF, 2,811kB) which is an agreement between funders and employers of research staff to improve the employment and support for researchers. It sets out clear standards that research staff can expect from the institution that employs them, as well as their responsibilities as researchers.

What does the Concordat mean for me?

As a researcher in the UK the Concordat should have a direct effect on the way that you are employed and managed. The Concordat will give you a clear overview of what you can expect from your manager, your employer and your funder. It also provides guidelines regarding your responsibilities both in terms of conducting your research but also in your personal and professional development. Vitae, the national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of researchers, has produced a briefing for research staff on how to make the most of the Concordat. 

Implementing the Concordat at the University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is fully committed to implementing the principles of the Concordat and has been actively focused on influencing both policy developments and the provision of training and development activity. The University recognises the need for continuous improvement and although we are unable to influence some employment market factors impacting on research staff, there are some areas in which we can have an impact. With this in mind, we created an implementation action plan, in consultation with key stakeholders (research staff, senior academics, Pro Vice-Chancellors and relevant University committees) to direct our work in this area. This implementation plan is regularly reviewed via a programme of internal and external evaluation.

Action Plans and Self Assessment reports:

2016 2014 2012
Self assessment report 2016 (PDF, 403kB) Self assessment report 2014 (PDF, 331kB) Self assessment report 2012 (PDF, 348kB)
Action plan 2016 (PDF, 705kB) Action plan 2014 (PDF, 571kB) Action plan 2012 (PDF, 541kB)

Oversight and development of our action plans

Work to progress our actions is managed by Dr Alison Leggett, Head of Academic Staff Development and monitored by a Concordat Implementation Group (including HR director, Deputy-HR director and PVC Research). The Concordat Implementation Group draws on existing committee structures, information and consultation processes to review our action plans and self assessments as it is believed these are sufficient to enable, and to evidence, continuous improvement in this area. These include consultation with the University's Research Staff Working Party, set up in 2004 with the aim of promoting and supporting the careers and working environment of research staff at the university of Bristol, and the University Research Staff Representatives Committee (RS Reps). The RS Reps Committee meets four times a year and is made up of research staff from each of the University’s 26 Schools. The RSWP meets three times a year and is chaired by a Faculty Research Director and members include 3 RS Reps, 3 senior academics, the HR Director, the Head of Academic Staff Development and the Staff Development Officer (Academic Staff). All meeting minutes from these committees as well as RSWP Annual Reports are published.  

As part of these reviews, we have been monitoring data around training and development and gender within academic roles. The figures were included in the 2012 and 2014 report, an updated version for 2016 is also available (PDF, 189kB) Data collected via the Careers in Research Online Surveys (CROS) conducted in 2011, 2013 and 2015 were also analysed as part of the process.

Careers in Research On-line Survey (CROS)

Our action is evaluated via CROS and in 2015 we had the highest response rate UoB has ever had, which, at 49%, is also significantly higher than the national rate of 28%. This excellent response rate gave us a unique opportunity to respond as a university to the concerns that you presented us with. These results provide us with up-to-date information on the experiences of research staff and using this we can encourage the sharing of good practice and it provides us with information to assist in monitoring the implementation of the Concordat.

The results of the survey (PDF, 484kB) have been sent to all research staff and in response Academic Staff Development and the Research Staff Working Party are intending to focus on Recognition and Stability, Career Development, and Career Progression. The CROS action plan (PDF, 203kB) details how we intend to improved the experience of research staff in these areas.

HR Excellence in Research Award

In recognition of the Concordat action plan, the University was awarded the HR Excellence in Research badge by the EU Commission in October 2010 and was re-evaluated as part of the four-year review in May 2015. The Award, bestowed by the European Commission, recognises a university's commitment to improving the working conditions and career development of its research staff and commits us to an ongoing programme of internal and external evaluation. The University of Bristol has successfully retained its HR Excellence in Research Award, after being externally evaluated through the European Commission's process.

Useful information

Vitae

Vitae has excellent online information and advice to help you be a more effective researcher and develop your career in or outside academia. All members of staff at Bristol have Vitae membership – just create an account using your Bristol email address.

Policies and procedures

Below are links to University policies and procedures particularly relevant or useful for research staff.

All HR policies can be found on the HR Website.