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The University of Southampton
Working as a Researcher

The Concordat

Front page of the Concordat

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is an important national document that details the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders.

It contains seven key principles and by implementing the Concordat, the University is aligning with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment.

The seven key principles are:

1. Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research

2. Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisation’s human resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

3. Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.

4. The importance of researchers’ personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.

5. Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.

6. Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers.

7. The sector and all stakeholders will undertake regular and collective review of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK.

The University is a signatory to the Concordat through Universities UK and is implementing the seven principles throughout the institution.

 The University is a signatory to the Concordat through Universities UK and is implementing the seven principles throughout the institution.


Key Documentation

Why does the Concordat Matter?

The University is committed to delivering world-class research and to creating a community that values independent thought and encourages originality and innovation among its staff and students. It is through our staff that the University has distinguished itself internationally as a hub of invention, creativity and research leadership. We will attract, reward, nurture and retain staff of the highest academic ability, working to create a dynamic, exciting and profoundly interconnected research environment in which they can flourish.

The Concordat is a key policy driver and enabling document for ensuring we place researchers at the heart of realising our strategic ambition. The Concordat requires us as employers and employees to take our policies, procedures, rights and responsibilities seriously. The Concordat has important implications for the following groups:

The Vitae Concordat webpage contains lots of useful information, including briefing notes for all of the above groups, strategy, news and events.

What is the University doing about the Concordat?

In January 2012 the European Commission presented the University of Southampton with the HR (Human Resources) Excellence in Research award in recognition of our commitment to implementing the Concordat. This award was a very important step towards ensuring that the Principles of the Concordat are applied throughout the organisation in an equitable and meaningful way so as to make a genuine difference to the experience and employment prospects of our research staff.

The University has:

  • Created Concordat Champions in each Faculty and established the Career Development of Researchers Working Group (CDR WG), which has oversight of the implementation of The Concordat
  • Conducted an institutional ‘gap’ analysis and identified areas for action, which we continue to monitor and discuss at CDR WG meetings
  • Produced an implementation plan in 2011, which was reviewed regularly and updated in 2014 and 2016 (see here) and will be reviewed in May 2018 and 2020
  • Produced a new 2016-2020 Action Plan (see here)
  • Considered the seven Principles at Faculty level and produced local Action Plans
  • Invited researchers to participate in the Careers in Research On-line Survey (CROS 2009/2011/2013/2015/2017)
  • We have reviewed our recruitment processes against the Open, Transparent and Merit Based Recruitment of Researchers (OTM-R) checklist, which can be viewed here.

For details of the University actions, implementation schedule, review documents and Faculty Plans, navigate to the relevant page using the menu headings at the top of this page.

The University of Southampton retained the HR Excellence in Research award in 2014 following an internal review and in 2016 following an external review – see here for our 2020 Action Plan.

What is my role within the Concordat?

All staff connected with research should:

  • Familiarise themselves with the principles of the Concordat
  • Be aware of the University and their Faculty’s Action Plans
  • Apply existing HR processes and procedures to researchers

PIs/line managers of researchers should:

  • Have a specific responsibility to ensure HR policies and procedures are always applied to researchers
  • Enable researchers to build their CVs and develop their professional careers

Research staff are encouraged to:

  • Join their local research staff group or post-doc association, to participate in the implementation process in their Faculty and/or academic unit
  • Be pro-active e.g. raise issues, vocalise concerns and share examples of good practice
  • Participate in CROS
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