Bristol's commitment to research staff development

Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

The University of Bristol has signed up to the Concordat to support the career development of researchers. The Concordat 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 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:

2020 2018 2016 2014 2012
Self assessment report 2020 (PDF, 140kB) Self assessment report 2018 (PDF, 248kB) Self assessment report 2016 (PDF, 403kB) Self assessment report 2014 (PDF, 331kB) Self assessment report 2012 (PDF, 348kB)
Action plan 2020 (PDF, 812kB) Action plan 2018 (PDF, 472kB) Action Plan 2016 (PDF, 705kB) Action plan 2014 (PDF, 571kB) Action plan 2012 (PDF, 541kB)
Update report 2020 (PDF, 936kB) Concordat 2016 progress update action plan (PDF, 542kB)      

For University of Bristol employees a dedicated Sharepoint page has been set up to support the work around the implementation of the Concordat.

Oversight and development of our action plans

Work to progress our actions is overseen by the Concordat Governance Group (CGG)  which is chaired by the Head of Academic Staff Development. The CGG oversees the implementation of the action plan and our internal assessment processes, which include consultation with key stakeholders such as our Research Staff Reps Committee, and it draws on data from surveys such as CROS and our whole staff survey, as well as data from regular internal monitoring processes and data collected through Research Staff Reps. The CGG reports to the Research Staff Working Party (RSWP), whose remit is to promote and support the careers and working environment of externally-funded and early career research staff, and it reports to the University Research Committee. The Research Staff Reps Committee represents research staff from across the institution with at least one Rep per school and facilitates engagement within the University.  The committee meets six times a year, either side of the Working Party meetings. The CGG’s membership comprises of: Chair of the Research Staff Working Party, Director of People and Organisational Development, Co-Chairs of Research Staff Rep Committee, PIs and Head of Academic Staff Development (CGG Chair).  

Concordat Champions

As part of the University’s commitment to the Concordat to support the career development of researchers each school is encouraged to appoint a local Concordat Champion. The role of the champion is to help raise awareness of the Concordat and our collective role in supporting careers of researchers. Champions are academic members of staff who are on school committees, and they work closely with Research Staff Reps, Heads of Schools and others to address the local research culture.

** Look up: Who is my Research Staff Concordat Champion?**

Careers in Research On-line Survey (CROS)

Our action is evaluated via CROS. 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. The results of CROS survey 2019 (PDF, 877kB) are now available and they will inform the University’s action plan for the implementation of the new Concordat.



HR Excellence in Research Award

In recognition of the University of Bristol’s long-term commitment to the career development of researchers, the University has been successful in retaining the HR Excellence in Research (HREiR) Award at the 10 year review point. The University was first awarded the HREiR Award in October 2010.



Useful information


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.