Supporting researchers through the Researcher Development Concordat

Posted on: 8 September 2021 by Dan Wake (Length: 266 words - Read time: 1 minute, 19 seconds) in Blog posts

Dan Wake

The first question one might ask is, “what is a concordat”?

Editor’s note: Ahead of the National Postdoc Conference 2021 on 24 September we will be publishing a series of blog posts that reflect some of the sessions that will be on offer for researchers. In this post we hear from Dan Wake about the Researcher Development Concordat.

In essence, a concordat is a formal agreement between parties. In the case of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (the “Researcher Development Concordat” for short) it is an agreement signed up to by both institutions and funders. It sets out the conditions that its signatories believe are needed to create the very best culture for researchers, their careers, and their wellbeing to thrive.

Vitae provide a helpful background on the Concordat’s history, including how it evolved from the 1996 “Concordat to Provide a Framework for the Career Management of Contract Research Staff in Universities and Colleges”. It was last updated in 2019 but is very much seen as a living document: to reflect the sector’s evolution.

The Researcher Development Concordat contains three key principles: Environment and Culture, Employment, and Professional and Career Development. Within each of those principles, there are obligations for institutions, funders, managers of researchers and researchers themselves to fulfil. Indeed, it is important that researchers identify opportunities to work towards career goals and consider opportunities to develop experience of the wider research system.

The Concordat outlines a belief that “if all parties work together to ensure effective implementation of the Principles, all UK researchers will be working in healthy and supportive research environments within a decade”. A sentiment wholly supported by the government’s new Research and Development People and Culture Strategy, it is vital that we develop a positive, inclusive and respectful research culture that attracts a diversity of talented people to work and thrive.

About the author

Dan Wake leads Universities UK’s research policy programme, which includes activities on university research funding, culture, impact and collaboration. Before Universities UK, Dan worked for the British Universities Finance Directors Group and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. Dan studied politics at Loughborough University and spent a semester at Lund University in Sweden. Dan has an MA in Media and Cultural Analysis, also from Loughborough.

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