The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is an agreement between stakeholders to improve the research environment and employment support for researchers in UK higher education. The Concordat aims to benefit the whole UK research community to improve the culture and environment in which research is conducted, to benefit both those conducting and managing research and the quality of the research itself.
LJMU were signatories to the earlier 2008 Concordat – this was published to provide research funders and institutions with a clear statement about expectations and responsibilities with respect to the management of researchers. The 2008 Concordat led to significant improvements in the sector. Following a ten year independent review, the revised Concordat was published in September 2019.
The 2019 revised Concordat addresses the key themes that emerged from the ten year independent review, with particular focus on the challenges experienced by fixed term researchers. The revised Concordat sets out three defining principles that are underpinned by obligations for four key stakeholder groups: funders, institutions, researchers and managers of researchers:
- Environment and culture: This Principle 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: This Principle recognises the importance of fair, transparent and merit-based recruitment, progression and promotion, effective performance management, and a good work-life balance. All stakeholders need to address long-standing challenges around insecurity of employment and career progression, ensuring equality of experience and opportunity for all, irrespective of background, contract type and personal circumstances.
- Professional and career development: This Principle recognises the importance of continuous professional and career development, particularly as researchers pursue a wide range of careers. This includes providing opportunities and structured support for researchers to engage in a minimum of ten days professional development (pro rata) per year.
LJMU Engagement with the Concordat
Since 2010, LJMU have developed and implemented a Concordat action plan and our Institution is recognised for its commitment to supporting the personal, professional and career development of its researchers. LJMU was awarded the EU HR Excellence in Research Award in 2012, which has been successfully retained following biennial review processes in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
LJMU have continued to evolve the excellent provision available for researchers through the programmes offered, including through the Leadership and Development Foundation and the well-established ACTivator programme.
Implementation of the Revised Concordat
In committing to implement the Concordat Principles, signatories will undertake regular review and reporting of their progress, and contribute to sharing practice across the sector, helping to ensure ongoing improvement.
Dr Hannah Timpson (Reader in Socioeconomic and Health, Public Health Institute, LJMU) is leading on this at LJMU and will convene a Concordat Implementation and Review Group. The group will undertake a gap analysis to compare policies and practice against the Concordat Principles, carry out engagement activities with staff across the University, and develop and publish an Action Plan.
The Concordat Implementation and Review Lead reports to the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee. The Concordat will be aligned with other Concordats and frameworks across LJMU to ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach.
For more information on this, please contact Hannah Timpson, Concordat Implementation and Review Lead: H.Timpson@ljmu.ac.uk
The following documents show the evolution of the LJMU Concordat and its Action Plan for 2018-20:
- LJMU HR Excellence in Research Award Six-year institutional review (September 2018)
- LJMU Concordat Implementation Plan 2016-2018 with progress updated (September 2018)
- LJMU HR Excellence in Research Award Four-year institutional review (August 2016)
- LJMU review of the Concordat Implementation Plan 2014-2016 (August 2016)
- LJMU Concordat Implementation Summary and Action Plan 2010
See the full list of signatories of the Concordat.