Below you will find answers to all the questions you might have on what the Researcher Development Concordat is and how it works.

What is the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, commonly know as the Researcher Development Concordat?

The Researcher Development Concordat is an agreement between stakeholders to improve the employment and support for researchers and researcher careers in higher education in the UK.

It sets out three clear principles of environment and cultureemployment, and professional and career development. The principles are underpinned by obligations for the four key stakeholder groupsfundersinstitutions, researchers and managers of researchers, to realise the aims of the Concordat.

Who is it for?

The Researcher Development Concordat has been created for the benefit of the whole research community within the UK to improve the environment and culture within which research is conducted. It will benefit those conducting and managing research, as well as the quality of the research itself.

What does it mean for me as a researcher?

The Concordat also sets out expectations for you, your managers, and research funders, to recognise that career development is a shared responsibility. You should familiarise yourself with these expectations, some of which may also be included in your employment contract or funding conditions. The Concordat is an aspirational, flexible and living document that will adapt to the evolving research environment. As a researcher working within an organisation that is signed up to the Researcher Development Concordat you have certain responsibilities to uphold the Principles. In line with new principles of the Concordat, the University has updated its Statement of Expectations for Principal Investigators (PIs) and Research Staff. The Statement enhances expectations around time for development, with PIs now asked to allocate a minimum of 10 days pro rata, per year, for their researchers to engage with professional development opportunities.

What are my organisation's responsibilities as a signatory?

The Concordat highlights the University of Liverpool’s commitment to effectively supporting researchers, through a rigorous process focused on their employment, their working environment and culture and their professional and career development. Signatories also have additional responsibilities when they choose to commit to the Concordat.

What are my responsibilities as a PI or manager of researchers?

As a manager of researchers working within an organisation that is signed up to the Researcher Development Concordat you will have certain responsibilities to uphold the Principles. For more information on how the Concordat affects you, please see here.

What is the University doing to implement the Principles of the Researcher Development Concordat and how is progress being measured?

To find out what Liverpool is doing, you can take a look at the HR Excellence in Research Award page at which we publish publicly-available progress reports and action plans in how we are delivering on the aims of the Concordat. Our institutional Action Plan and Review Reports are shared with the University's Research and Impact Commitee, Senate and Council. These documents include our strategic objectives, measures of success, implementation plan and progress.  

What are funders doing to implement the Principles of the Researcher Development Concordat?

To find out what funders are doing you can take a look at the examples of practice page. Over time, signatories will be expected to publish progress reports and action plans in how they are delivering on the aims of the Concordat.

What are Funders' policies in relation to costing in 10 days researcher development time in grant applications?

The Concordat’s Funders principles page commits to ‘incorporate specific professional development requirements in relevant funding calls, terms and conditions, grant reporting and policies.  This should include researchers engagement in a minimum of 10 days professional development pro rate per year, and evidence of effective career development planning’. Funder signatories can be found here: https://www.vitae.ac.uk/policy/concordat/signatories.

Who is responsible for governance of the Researcher Development Concordat at Liverpool?

The Concordat Steering Group is responsible for promoting the implementation of the Principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers across the University, in line with its implementation strategy and in partnership with other bodies. 

Will the Concordat be updated?

The Researcher Development Concordat is a live document which will evolve over time as the research environment changes. This will be overseen by the Concordat Strategy Group.

How do I get a physical copy of the Concordat report?

The press ready file of the new Concordat is available for individuals to print their own copies.

What do you mean by professional development?

Professional Development takes a variety of forms, depending on your role, career stage and career aspirations. It is important to note that an activity would only count as development if it does not form a normal part of your job description, i.e., teaching would only be a development activity if teaching (or that particular form/course/audience) is not a job requirement. This is to ensure fairness and transparency over the fact that development is about adding value to the status quo of your role.

Development needs (and the activities associated with them) vary with career stages. Therefore, individuals are encouraged to choose the activities most relevant to their current situation with input from and the agreement of their PI. Development activities might take place in a university setting, but importantly do not have to. Research staff are encouraged to explore a range of careers outside academia.

Some examples of professional development activities and Liverpool resources to support them can be found on our Development Activity Guidance web page.

Where can I find an easy-to-digest summary of the Concordat at Liverpool?

The University has produced an online Module on The Researcher Development Concordat for University of Liverpool Staff. This new development module is the first of its kind in the Higher Education sector nationally and further embodies the University’s focus on sector-leading researcher development.

The module aims to further enhance the career and professional development of researchers, managers of researchers and professional colleagues supporting our researcher community. It serves to foster conversations that nurture a positive and inclusive culture in which researchers take responsibility for the development of their personal and professional practice.

Completing this module will help you to learn more about the Concordat and reflect on how you can enhance your own personal and professional practices by embedding the Concordat’s principles in your role at University of Liverpool. View and complete the module.