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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 Researcher Development Concordat

UK Researcher Development Concordat

The researcher concordat was published in September 2019, replacing the previous the previous Concordat to support the career development of researchers 2008. Its publication followed a sector-wide consultation and review comprising 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 (EDI), 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 researcher Concordat. Our current Concordat (2019-2021) Action plan includes:

  • Portfolio 10 – a portfolio of development opportunities aimed at encouraging researchers to ‘take 10’ - engage with at least 10 protected days (pro rata)  of professional development each year;
  • Encouragement for researchers to access CPD and a broad range of skills development opportunities, including leadership training;
  • An increased emphasis and guidance on planning for a broad range of careers (beyond academia, including industry and enterprise);
  • Enhanced clarity around processes and procedures that impact on the experience of doing research – to ensure inclusive and positive practices at all levels.

EU HR Excellence in Research Award

The EU HR Excellence in Research Award (HR EiR), recognises an institution’s commitment to meeting the principles of the Researcher Concordat.

Brunel University London first achieved the award in 2011 (originally aligned to previous concordat for the career development of researchers 2008). It 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 University’s Concordat Champion.

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. Our most recent reports and action plans, outlining key achievements and progress made can be viewed here. We will next be reviewed in January 2022. 

Personal, Professional and Career Development 

Training and development opportunities are offered in a variety of places within the University, with the Graduate School taking a particular lead in supporting research staff development. A dedicated Researchers Careers Consultant provides tailored support for Brunel Researchers through one-to-one confidential appointments, career development workshops and events to explore career options.

Graduate School activities for research staff include:

  • Portfolio 10 opportunities – a range of CPD – within a navigable app that supports personal development planning (Inkpath).
  • Opportunities for personal and career coaching and mentoring, advice on fellowship and job applications.
  • Researcher series and network forums.
  • Collaboration and networking opportunities through sector-wide workshops and events.

Additional training opportunities can be found internally through Organisational Development and the Academic Professional Development Unit

Researcher Development Framework

The national Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), developed by and for researchers – describes the knowledge, competencies and attributes of highly skilled researchers. Our Researcher Development Programme (RDP) provides training that reflects the 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. It can be used to help you identify your current strengths and provides a framework for your continued personal, professional and career development. 

Research Support and Development Office

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 four sections: Research Development; Contracts and Intellectual Property; Business Development; and Post-Award. 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 regular surveys, round tables and focus groups. Between 2009 and 2019, we ran CROS (Careers in Research Online Survey) and PIRLS (Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey). These surveys were conducted biannually across the sector with results from participating institutions aggregated for cross-sector reporting. An aggregate report collating feedback from the last 5 surveys was published by Vitae in September 2017. These surveys were replaced by the Culture, Employment and Development Survey (CEDARS) in 2020.