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Support for Research Staff

We are committed to supporting the personal, professional and career development of our community of research staff at Brunel University London (BUL). The University is a signatory to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and to the Concordat to Support Research Integrity.

Researcher Development Concordat 2019

In 2008, a Concordat to support the career development of researchers was published. This agreement comprised a series of recommendations to support the professional and career development of researchers. Since its publication, a range of initiatives have been undertaken across the sector, and locally at Brunel, to enhance provision in related areas for research staff. Steady progress has been made, as is evidenced through our biannual reviews of progress, along with new action plans (2011 to 2019 – see below).

In 2019, the Concordat was reviewed and a new revised ‘Researcher Development’ Concordat was published on 12th September 2019. The sector-wide consultation and review process, undertaken by a review group chaired by Professor Julia Buckingham (Vice-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Brunel University London), comprised multiple stakeholders, including HEIs, funders and researchers themselves.

Brunel University London became a signatory of the new concordat in October 2019.

The revised Concordat outlines a set of obligations relating to three core principles – (1) Environment and culture, (2) Employment and (3) Professional and career development. Central to all three areas are issues of equality, diversity and inclusion, with obligations outlined for four main stakeholder groups – institutions, funders, managers of researchers, and the researchers themselves.

Concordat 2019 – Principles

Environment and culture

A supportive and inclusive research culture

Recognises that a proactive and collaborative approach is required between all stakeholders, to create and develop positive environments and cultures in which all researchers can flourish and achieve their full potential.

Employment

Conditions of recruitment, employment and management that recognise and value researchers’ contributions

Recognises the importance of fair, transparent and merit-based recruitment, progression and promotion, effective performance management, and a good work-life balance.

Professional and career development

Professional and career development that enables researchers to develop their full potential

Recognises the importance of continuous professional and career development, particularly as researchers pursue a wide range of careers.

Obligations specified for:

Institutions / Funders / Managers / Researchers

A full copy of the Concordat (2019) can be found here.

At Brunel University London, we are committed to continually making improvements for researchers, and to delivering the principles of the Concordat. Our plans include:

  • Providing (at least) 10 protected days (pro rata) per year of professional development engagement for researchers;
  • Encouragement for researchers to access CPD and a broad range of skills development opportunities, including leadership training;
  • An increased emphasis on planning for a broad range of careers (beyond academia);
  • Enhanced clarity around processes and procedures that impact on the experience of doing research – to ensure inclusive and positive practices at all levels.

Your feedback and input are essential. For more information, or to get involved in identifying and supporting actions, please contact the Graduate School.

EU HR Excellence in Research Award

HR Excellence in Research

EU HR Excellence in Research (HREiR) badging is awarded to institutions in recognition of their alignment to the Concordat and their commitment to meeting its principles. Brunel University London first achieved the award in 2011. This acknowledges our activity and plans to improve support for researchers and their development. This work is coordinated and reviewed by the University's Researcher Concordat Implementation Group (RCIG), chaired by the Director of the Graduate School. The Graduate School also coordinates a programme of central researcher development opportunities via its online portal - Researcher Development Programme.

The University participates in an external review of its actions and planning in this area every two years as a condition of retaining the HREiR award. Successful reviews have been undertaken in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Please follow the links below for our most recent reports – an outline of key achievements and progress made since 2017, our 2017 – 2019 review, and our action plan for 2019 – 2021.

For the UK, the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award is given in recognition of a demonstrated commitment to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

Action plans from previous years (2011 – 2017) can also be accessed here.

Personal /Professional Development and Training

Training and development opportunities are offered in a variety of places within the University, with the Graduate School taking a particular lead in supporting our research staff development. We offer training in transferable skills through our Researcher Development Programme (RDP) for research staff and coordinate information and support through a range of activities, including one-to-one coaching.

Our Researcher Development Programme (RDP) provides training that reflects the national Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), and researchers are encouraged to make use of the extensive information and resources available through Vitae about this and other aspects of career development.

Researcher Development Framework 

The Researcher Development Framework – developed by and for researchers – describes the knowledge, competencies and attributes of a highly skilled researcher. It can be used to help you identify your current strengths and provides a framework for your continued personal, professional and career development.

If you would like to access and use the RDF to structure and record your own development, the Graduate School can cover the cost of individual access. Please contact us for further details.

Graduate School activities for research staff include:

  • Researchers’ network forums
  • Workshops within our Research Development Programme
  • Opportunities for personal and career coaching, including advice on fellowship applications
  • Collaboration and networking opportunities through regional workshops and events

As a member of research staff, you will automatically join our mailing list and will be emailed about activities. You can also contact Dr Tina Ramkalawan (University Lead for Research Staff Development) in the Graduate School for more information.

Additional training opportunities can be found internally through Staff Development and the Brunel Educational Excellence Centre.

Research Support and Development

The Research Support and Development Office (RSDO) looks after grant income and can offer advice on costing, submitting and managing grants, applying for Fellowship awards and building internal and external collaborations for funded research. RSDO has three sections: Research Development, Contracts and IP, and Business Development.

It has also established a new internal communications platform to facilitate targeted communication about research funding opportunities.  This provides a central, interactive portal for research funding information and news for particular disciplinary, or funding type interest groups.  There is a dedicated site for Fellowship opportunities, supported by a Research Development Officer who can advise specifically on Fellowship applications.

Taking account of your views

Our activities are informed by CROS (Careers in Research Online Survey) and PIRLS (Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey). These surveys are conducted biannually across the sector and their outcomes are often used to support policy change and new initiatives for researchers. CROS aims to capture the views of research staff employed on fixed-term or open-ended contracts. The results from participating institutions are aggregated and published in a cross-sector report. We have participated in the survey since 2009, and an aggregate report collating feedback from the last 5 surveys was published by Vitae in September 2017.