You are here

  1. Home
  2. Research environment
  3. Support for researchers
  4. Concordat to support the Career Development of Researchers

Concordat to support the Career Development of Researchers

Woman wearing a red top and black trousers, walking through the countryside

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is an agreement between employers of researchers and research funders that outlines obligations and expectations for the professional development and employment conditions of researchers in the UK.

The Concordat lays out a set of benchmark conditions considered essential for creating an excellent culture for researchers to thrive. The three defining Principles cover Environment and Culture, Employment, and Professional and Career Development. For each of these Principles, the Concordat outlines key responsibilities of researchers, managers of researchers, institutions, and funders.

The Open University (OU) is committed to supporting the career progression of our research staff, with opportunities for professional and personal development. The former Vice-Chancellor, Tim Blackman, signed a Letter of Commitment in November 2020, publicly declaring the support the OU will provide for the career development of researchers who are working here.

The recognition for commitment to and action towards these principles by institutions is the 'HR Excellence in Research' Award (HREiR), administered by Vitae and Universities UK. The HREiR logo tells researchers that the institution is committed to providing a supportive career environment and adds value to funding applications. The OU is delighted to retain the award at the 10 year review point in 2023. The University's original implementation plan, 6-year, 8-year and 10-year review reports and action plan are available below.

The University’s Action Plan 2022-2023 was co-developed between researchers, research managers and professional services colleagues and outlines how the University is continuing to improve employment, career development and the research environment and culture at the OU. Progress has been, and will continue to be, achieved through close collaboration between Faculty, School and central teams.

Over the last three years particular successes to note include:

  • Facilitation of a concerted campaign to raise awareness of how important Early Career Researchers are to the OU
  • Development of a 'Fellowship Academy' to support researchers to bid for independent research fellowships
  • Development of a range of Faculty initiatives to support Early Career Researchers, including the STEM Early Academic Research Career Hub in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics, and a Reseacher Working Group in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies

Concordat activities are discussed and monitored by a Concordat Steering Group three times a year. The Steering Group contains representation across all career stages of research activity (early, mid and late) across all Faculties. Specialist input from Equality, Diversity and Equity teams, the Universities and Colleges Union and the Graduate School is also sought to ensure an equitable approach to all our activities.

Concordat activities feed into, and are informed by, other kitemark activities at the OU including Athena Swan, Race Equality Charter, Disability Confident and the Technician Commitment.

Contact us to find out more