HR Excellence in Research Badge

The University of Liverpool is fully committed to the implementation of the principles of the Concordat to support the career development of researchers. The Concordat is an agreement between funders and employers of researchers in the UK. It sets out expectations and responsibilities of each stakeholder in research careers, researchers themselves, their managers (PIs), employers and funders. It also articulates key principles for the support and management of research careers and illustrates how each principle may be embedded into institutional practice.

In recognition of the University's commitment, it was awarded the HR Excellence in Research Badge by the European Commission in September 2011. Information about the University’s Concordat Steering Group which oversees the review and planning coordination of the University’s Concordat Action Plan can be found on the Governance page.

The University has welcomed the recent revision to the Researcher Development Concordat and has now become a signatory via a public commitment by the Vice Chancellor.

In committing to implement the Principles of the Revised Researcher Development Concordat, the University will undertake regular review and reporting of its progress, and contribute to sharing practice across the sector, helping to ensure ongoing improvement. Further details about the University of Liverpool’s obligations and commitments to the Revised Researcher Development Concordat can be found on the Concordat pages.

HR Excellence in Research Badge Reviews and Documentation

Ten Year Award Review (2011-2022)

The University remains unremitting in its focus on supporting our postdoctoral and early career research staff to foster and articulate the strengths and skills that focus on multiple pathways for success. The refreshed University of Liverpool Strategy 2026 sets out our ambition to nurture, develop and celebrate those engaged with research. Our key achievements and progress are captured via rigorous internal review (now occurring annually in line with our UK Concordat signatory obligations) and based on CEDARS and data from pulse surveys, Concordat Steering Group (CSG) workshops and ongoing inclusive and accessible consultations with research staff via the University’s successful and active Research Staff Association. The coordination of this process has been led by the University’s CSG.

Summary of Impact of the Concordat at Liverpool (10 year review): 

  • Publication of the open-access Guidance for the Researcher Annual Professional Development Allowance, a living resource which is continually updated as the University cultivates its provision for supporting researchers to balance the delivery of their research and their own professional development.
  • Positive engagement with the Culture, Employment and Development in Academic Research Survey (CEDARS): 35% response rate in 2020 and 33% in 2021 helped inform the University’s UK Concordat gap analysis and HREinR reporting and forward action plan prioritisation, including identifying local differences between Faculties.
  • Establishment of the PI Network which gives PIs the opportunity to share experiences and build relationships with employer partners, opening up new networks and opportunities for collaboration; raise the profile and recognition accorded to successful postdoc development at institutional level; and share knowledge and learn from colleagues across a broad range of disciplines.
  • A highly successful and active University-wide Research Staff Association which led the planning and organisation of the 3rd biennial UK National Postdoc Conference 2021 (NPDC21) at which Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO of UKRI was the keynote speaker; attended by 2000+ individuals nationally.
  • Launch of the Prosper Portal, accessible to all research staff at the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster, with the aim of tackling equality, diversity and inclusivity issues that usually present barriers to training for postdoctoral researchers.
  • The University completed its second stage of self-assessment and action planning for the Technician Commitment which ensures greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines.
  • A robust Concordat Governance Structure chaired by the Pro Vice Chancellor R&I, ensures alignment with other committee structures to accelerate decision making, and enable efficient communication and implementation of ideas relating to the researcher experience.
  • Awareness of the Researcher Development Concordat and its benefits for research staff is also growing across the University with 27% (2020) reporting via CEDARS that they have some understanding, versus 37% in 2021.
  • 35% of research staff (increase of 10% compared with Jan 2020) are currently engaging with the University’s mentoring scheme (intranet link), of which 100 Mentors and 309 Mentees are on a research contract.
  • An updated Statement of Expectations for Principal Investigators (PIs) and Research Staff which ensures a minimum of 10 days pro rata, per year, for researchers to engage with professional development opportunities, utilising the University’s Guidance for the Researcher Annual Professional Development Allowance.

Eight Year Award Review (2011-2020)

The University continues to be unequivocally committed to creating a community that values independent thought and encourages originality and innovation among its research staff.  Key achievements and progress that we have made since we gained the HR Excellence in Research Award in 2011, and the focus of our strategy, success measures and next steps for the next four years are included in the documents below. The review of these documents is based on data collected from internal University processes, including ongoing consultation with research staff. The coordination of this process has been led by the University’s Concordat Steering Group (CSG).

Summary of Impact of the Concordat at Liverpool (8 year review): 

  • An updated Statement of Expectations for Principal Investigators (PIs) and Research Staff which ensures a minimum of 10 days pro rata, per year, for researchers to engage with professional development opportunities.
  • The University has been awarded £3.6M by Research England towards the innovative £4.4M Prosper Project which will tackle equality, diversity and inclusivity issues that usually present barriers to training for postdoctoral researchers.
  • An active University-wide Research Staff Association which provides a forum for shared development, policy input and representation of research staff issues and concerns
  • Increased levels of engagement have been facilitated in part by the led by a RSA’s Steering Committee reps. This model has been adopted by other universities following an invitation to showcase the Liverpool exemplar at the Vitae Researcher Developer International Conference 2019.
  • A robust Concordat Governance Structure chaired by the Pro Vice Chancellor R&I, including 6-8 weekly meetings that monitor and discuss the identified areas for action.
  • 44% more researchers attended the day-long Annual Research Conference in 2019 than in 2018.
  • 25% of research staff are currently engaging with the University’s mentoring scheme [intranet link], of which 72% (151/211) are early career researcher mentees, and a growing number of mentors are PIs.
  • Establishment of the University’s flagship Making an Impact series of development activities focused around the Industrial Strategy priorities, supporting research staff to develop their multi-disciplinary research-impact related knowledge, skills, attributes and competencies.
  • Positive engagement with the 2018 Independent Review of the Concordat. Liverpool‘s internal consultation yielded 55 individual responses, and the eighth highest number of group responses (6). Many of Liverpool’s practices are currently highlighted as case studies of best practice evidencing how we meet our responsibilities under the Principles of the Concordat.

Six Year Award Review (2011-2017)

Updates and review of the University’s previous Concordat Implementation Plans are included in the documents below. In addition, a new action plan for the period 2017 – 2019 has been formulated based on the achievement of past implementation plans, and the University’s 2026 Strategic Plan incorporating the Research and Impact Strategy. The review of these documents is based on data collected from internal university processes. The coordination of this process has been led by the university’s Concordat Steering Group (CSG) with direct input from research staff, the university’s senior management and professional services representatives.

The Technician Commitment

In response to the 2017-2019 action plan, The University of Liverpool was proud to become a signatory of the Technician Commitment in October 2017. The Technician Commitment is a university and research institution initiative, led by a steering group of sector bodies, with support from the Science Council and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Technicians Make It Happen campaign. The Commitment aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines. 
- The Self-Assessment document outlines the work done around the commitments themes thus far.
- Moving forward a 24 Month Action Plan has been produced that will determine our focus for the ongoing period.

Four Year Award Review (2011-2015)

Updates and review of the previous two plans are included in the documents below. In addition, a new action plan for the period 2015 – 2017 has been added in these documents. The review of these documents is based on data collected from internal university processes and from CROS (2011; 2013; 2015) and PIRLS (2013; 2015) surveys. The coordination of this process has been led by the university’s Concordat Implementation Group (CIG) with direct input from all research staff associations, the university’s senior management and professional services representatives.

Two Year Award Review (2011–2013)

The University reviewed its original implementation plan. Below you will find the review report and the revised implementation plan:

Original Action Plan (2011)

A full gap analysis and demonstration of good practice in the support and development of Liverpool Research staff against the principles of the Concordat was carried out with key stakeholders including faculties, professional services divisions and research staff through focus groups and surveys (Careers in Research Online Survey, 2011).