Support for researchers
The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is a UK-wide agreement launched in 2008 to promote research careers and improve research for the benefit of UK society and the economy.
It provides a clear statement of the expectations and responsibilities of researchers (staff in substantive research roles, not academic or teaching roles), their managers, employers and funders in relation to researchers’ ongoing career development.
It consists of seven principles about how researchers are recruited, recognised, valued, managed and supported. These principles have been drawn up following extensive consultation across the sector and are endorsed by the key funders of public research:
- Principle 1: Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research.
- Principle 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.
- Principle 3: Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.
- Principle 4: The importance of researchers' personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.
- Principle 5: Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.
- Principle 6: Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers.
- Principle 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 Concordat is managed by Vitae, the national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of researchers.
The UK alignment with EC Charter and Code
The Concordat is the UK’s response to the Charter and Code - the European Commission’s Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, published in 2005. The Charter provides a career management framework for researchers and the Code promotes open and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures both with the aim of developing the European labour market for researchers.
UK HEIs can apply to gain the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award, which recognises their alignment with the principles of the Charter and Code. The UK process incorporates the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.
What is NTU’s strategy for implementing the Concordat?
One of the University’s strategic objectives is to be recognised both nationally and internationally for the relevance of our research. The second Strategic Platform of the University Strategic Plan 2010-2015 provides further details on our achievement aims in this regard.
NTU fully endorses the ethos of the Concordat and recognises that research staff are a valuable constituency within the University to ensure that we succeed in the delivery of our strategy. In recognition of the need to support the development of researchers, share best practice and reward success, NTU has developed and launched a Researcher Development Framework. The implementation of this Framework is overseen by each of the College Associate Deans for Research and there is a regular reporting cycle to the College and University Research Committees on the deliverables from this Framework.
To ensure that the Concordat is implemented and monitored, the University’s Concordat Management Group (CMG) is working to shape future strategy, policy and development in a manner that benefits our researchers. The group is represented by researchers (both early stage and senior), alongside senior academics and professional services staff. The Concordat Management Group is led by the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and reports to the University’s Research Committee. Overall, responsibility for the University's implementation of the Concordat is held by the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research as Chair of both of these bodies.
The strategy to enable NTU’s compliance with the Concordat is structured around three key areas:
- providing our staff with an understanding of policies and practices that support the Concordat and the Charter and Code
- highlighting individual researcher’s responsibility for engaging in their own personal and career development.
- ensuring that policies and practice are reviewed to provide the best environment for research staff
- promoting best practice across the University through dissemination of policy and practice via various media and sharing opportunities to ensure continual review and improvement
- influencing the future development opportunities available to research staff (we are fully committed to attracting the very best researchers and helping them to develop their careers and make their career choices realistically and effectively, whatever their chosen career path).
- using various models of communication, including web-based media, to maintain the fair and equal treatment of our researchers
- ensuring that our researchers, their supervisors and other staff are fully aware of policy and practice
- overseeing the communication of the Action Plan, according to the Universities UK letter, March 2010, Aligning your institution with the European Charter and Code.
If you would like to contact CMG with comments or suggestions please email Lindsay Davies.
We work closely with Vitae, the national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of researchers via their regular updates and through representation on regional fora. Vitae offers a range of information, resources and events which enable HEIs to ensure compliance with the Concordat and also explore ways to further enhance the development of our researchers.
Work to date
What have we done so far?
In recognising the principles of the Concordat, the initial Concordat Working Group was established in 2010 to initiate and oversee the preliminary stages of alignment. This group included the Associate Deans for Research, representatives from the NTU research community and members of professional services involved in the support of researcher development.
The initial action areas undertaken by this group were to:
- complete the survey of HEI strategies for implementing the Concordat, a national benchmarking study which was submitted in April 2010
- establish CWGs terms of reference and constituency
- commence NTU’s audit of compliance with the Concordat
- audit other HEIs' implementation plans
- report on the role of the Career Development Centre
- review and report on links with the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and Statement (RDS)
- consult with staff in substantive research roles and their line managers for their views on key areas of support, and
- draft the implementation plan.
Following on from this in 2012, the ADRs and HR undertook a detailed gap analysis of NTU’s alignment with the Concordat and produced an action plan to ensure our good practice and to support our application for the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award. The action plan was presented to the University Research Committee in May 2012 and was approved.
Summary of Findings of the Gap Analysis
Principle 1: NTU has robust processes and procedures for the recruitment and selection of all staff, however, there are several opportunities to enhance our practices with relation to research staff. These include:
- development of resources to support effective recruitment and selection of researchers
- consideration of the Concordat principles with regard to the scheduled new recruitment system (2012-13).
Principle 2: Our existing training and resources for the induction, management and development of all staff are fit for purpose but further review is needed to ensure alignment with the Concordat in relation to:
- induction for researchers
- annual and mid-term performance review for researchers
- development opportunities for line managers of researchers
- NTU redeployment policy with reference to researchers.
Principle 3: Feedback from researchers and line managers has highlighted that there is limited information on research career pathways both within NTU and within the wider context of research employment. An easily accessible package of resources and guidance are needed to enable our researchers to make informed careers development decisions.
Principle 4: A substantial range of professional development and career enhancement activities already exist across NTU. However, these are not disseminated specifically to researchers and there is a low uptake. The Centre for Professional Learning and Development (CPLD) are currently mapping our provision to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and when completed this should be circulated to researchers and their line managers to support professional development.
Principle 5: This principle relates to researchers in terms of ethical considerations and personal responsibility:
- NTU has existing clear and accessible guidance, support and processes relating to the ethical dimensions of research which staff are required to follow.
- Currently there are no mechanisms for supporting researchers in taking responsibility for their own career development. The Concordat Consultation Events in 2011-12 were useful in raising the profile of Principle 5 and could be repeated. In addition, we should provide resources which highlight Principle 5 and signpost activities which researchers can use in developing reflective strategies and personal development planning.
Principle 6: NTU’s Equality and Diversity processes and procedures are appropriate and align with the principles of the Concordat. However, there are two key points to be addressed:
- incorporation of the Concordat and researcher considerations into all Equality and Diversity training and resources as appropriate
- provision of further support for our female research staff via participation in the Athena SWAN initiative
- ensuring activities and initiatives complete Equality Impact Assessments as appropriate.
Principle 7: To ensure ongoing effective implementation and review, the Concordat needs to be embedded within NTU governance framework. This work will be undertaken by a new Concordat Management Group (CMG) whose Terms of Reference will be:
- to undertake and influence activities to comply with the principles of the Concordat
- to seek out and disseminate good practice
- to prioritise duties and responsibilities across different parts of the University
- to meet twice per year (November and May)
- to report to the University Research Committee.
The members will be:
- Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)
- Associate Deans for Research (rotating Chair)
- Members of research staff from each College
- Research staff managers from each College
- Representatives from Professional Services involved in researcher management and development.
To ensure the currency and accuracy of data relating to the implementation of the Concordat, it is recommended that the CMG undertakes systematic feedback and consultation with research staff, line managers and Principal Investigators which should include participation in the national Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) and Principle Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) initiatives.
What are we doing next?
In addressing the findings of the gap analysis, the Concordat Management Group (CMG) will continue to lead on implementation of the Concordat action plan.
Our targets are to:
- produce and implement resources to inform the recruitment and selection of research staff in line with the NTU implementation of the Concord
- incorporate appropriate development and career enhancement activities (including mentoring and transferable skills) into the NTU Researcher Continuing Professional Development framework and disseminate these to all research staff and their line managers
- incorporate awareness of the special challenges faced by researchers as an identified group into all equality and diversity training and resources
- produce resources to support researchers’ understanding of their responsibilities enabling them to actively engage with their own career and skills development
- design and implement training, guidance and resources for managers of researchers to support the induction, management and development of research staff
- support researchers in their career decision making by producing and disseminating resources presenting typical career journeys both within NTU and within the wider context of researcher careers, including case studies
- support women researchers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine subjects through participation in the Athena Swan Charter initiative
- ensure the ongoing implementation and monitoring of the action plan through the work of the Concordat Management Group
- facilitate ongoing dialogue with our researchers through our own consultation initiatives, open communication channels and via national opportunities including participation in the Careers in Research Online Survey and the Principle Investigators and Research Leaders Survey. Researcher and manager perspectives gathered from these sources will be fed back into the work of the CMG and the implementation process.
Four-year review of the EU HR Excellence in Research Award
In autumn 2016 the University Concordat Management Group undertook a four-year review against the implementation and action plan. Documents relating to this review can be found below:
- HR Excellence in Research Award: four-year progress report (2017)
- 2015-2017 Action Plan: Review of progress (2017)
- 2017-2019 updated Action Plan
Two-year review of the EU HR Excellence in Research Award
Between December 2014 and January 2015 the University Concordat Management Group undertook an internal self-assessment against the original implementation and action plan. Documents relating to this review can be found below:
Our Institutional Repository (IRep) enables us to share our research and intellectual outputs, both internally and externally.
- research collections, such as journal articles and conference papers
- a corporate collection for material such as corporate images and presentations, and
- a learning and teaching collection, aimed at sharing innovative practice with the wider academic community.
Scopus is a large and continually updated abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed academic content in the fields of Life Sciences (4,000+ titles), Physical Sciences (7,000+), Health Sciences (6,000+) and Social Sciences and Humanities (5,000+). Scopus provides a range of tools to track trends, patterns and citation and research impact. On-campus access is direct; off-campus access requires University username and password.
Nottingham Trent University considers the effective management of data throughout a research project's lifecycle essential if return on research investment is to be realised. We are committed to managing research data to the highest standards throughout its lifecycle.
We acknowledge the support of our research funders and will ensure compliance with their expectations around data management recognising that managing, preserving and making data discoverable is a key component of good research practice and supports a culture of research excellence. To this end we support our researchers through policy, data management infrastructure and support and guidance.
We have published the NTU Research Data Management Policy which outlines our approach to research data management and sets out the requirements for those completing research within the University, with particular reference to:
- data management planning
- managing active data
- archiving and preserving research data
- access to research data
- data citation.
NTU Research Data Management Policy
Title: Research Data Management Policy
Approved on: 30 June 2014
Approved by: Senior Management Team
Section one: Definitions
Section two: Implementation timelines
Section three: University policy
Section four: Other relevant policies
Section five: Document governance
In this Policy, unless otherwise indicated:
1.1. “Principal Investigator (PI)” means the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) employee primarily tasked with delivering a programme of research on behalf of NTU, whether or not he/she is referred to as such in a research grant.
1.2. “Researcher” means any person undertaking research or involved in collecting, generating or creating Research Data, for or on behalf of NTU which shall include but not be limited to employees, workers, visiting researchers, postgraduate research students and the PI.
1.3. “Research Data” means information in digital, computer-readable format or paper-based that:
1.3.1. is contained or presented in various ways including notes, facts, figures, tables, images (still and moving), audio or visual recordings; and
1.3.2. is collected, generated or obtained during the course of or as a result of undertaking research (which includes but is not limited to conducting field or laboratory experiments, conducting trials, surveys, interviews, focus groups or analysis of data); and
1.3.3. is subsequently used by the Researcher as a basis for making calculations or drawing conclusions to develop, support or revise theories, practices and findings.
1.4. “Repository” means the repository or repositories which NTU owns or controls and makes available to Researchers for the storage of Research Data.
1.5. “Access” means methods, tools, software and devices to access the stored Research Data.
2. Implementation timelines
The Senior Management Team and University Research Committee of NTU have approved this Policy on Research Data Management. It is acknowledged that complete implementation of this Policy by all researchers will need to be phased. The timing of this phasing will be determined by the mandated requirements of external funders of research activities at NTU.
3. University policy
3.1 Research data will be managed to the highest standards throughout the research data lifecycle as part of the NTU’s commitment to research excellence.
3.2 Responsibility for research data management through a sound research data management plan during any research project or programme lies primarily with the Principal Investigators (PIs).
3.3 All new research proposals, from 30 June 2014, must include research data management plans or protocols that explicitly address data capture, management, integrity, confidentiality, retention, access, sharing and publication.
3.3.1 A data plan should be made for each proposed research project or funding application.
3.3.2 Sufficient metadata should be created and stored to assist with discovery and reuse.
3.3.3 The data plan should comply with relevant legislative frameworks such as (but not limited to) data protection, intellectual property, ethics and human rights.
3.3.4 The data plan should evolve and be version controlled as the project develops.
3.3.5 The final data plan should be retained within NTU alongside the project data outputs (in accordance with the Retention Policy).
3.4 NTU will provide training, support, advice and where appropriate guidelines and templates for research data management and research data management plans.
3.4.1 NTU will provide mechanisms and services for storage, backup, registration, deposit, retention and access of research data assets in support of current and future access, during and after completion of research projects. This includes tools to ensure the stored Research Data is discoverable and accessible. Once a project has closed, the Research Data should be offered and assessed for preservation in NTU supported repository.
3.4.2 On project completion, the Principal Investigator is responsible for data transformation or format conversion required to archive and access the Research Data.
3.4.3 On project completion, the Principal Investigator should ensure all relevant Research Data is made available in the location specified in the data management plan.
3.5 Any Research Data which is to be retained elsewhere, for example in an international data service or domain repository should be registered with NTU. The registration must include the retention and access policy of the relevant data service to help determine compliance with this Policy.
3.6 Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that any external Research Data to be incorporated into their research is registered with NTU. The registration must include the retention and access policy governing the Research Data to help determine compliance with this Policy.
3.7 Research data management plans must ensure that research Data are available for access and re-use where appropriate and under appropriate safeguards.
3.8 Principal Investigators are responsible for deciding, subject to legal, ethical and commercial constraints, which Research Data are to be released to meet their obligations. Research Data shall be released for access and re-use as soon as practicable after research activity is completed and results published.
3.9 The privacy and other legitimate interests of the subjects of Research Data must be protected.
3.10 Research Data of future historical interest, and all Research Data that represent records of NTU, including data that substantiate research findings, will be offered and assessed for deposit and retention in an appropriate national or international data service or domain repository, or an NTU repository.
3.11 As a basic principle NTU should retain the right to use its Research Data and outputs for its own teaching and non-commercial research purposes. Exclusive rights to reuse or publish Research Data should not be granted to commercial publishers or agents without retaining the rights to make the data openly available for re-use. Where the granting of such exclusive rights is a requirement of the funder, advice should be sought from NTU’S Legal Services Team to ensure that NTU can comply with its obligations under charity law.
3.12 If Research Data is to be deleted or destroyed, either because the agreed retention period has expired or for legal or ethical reasons, this should be done so in accordance with all legal, ethical, research funder and collaborator requirements with particular attention to confidentiality and security.
4. Other relevant policies
NTU has a range of policy documents and guidance which offers advice and sets out the regulations pertaining to a number of areas, some of which may impact on the Research Data Management Policy:
* Code of Practice for Research
* Professional Standards in research
* Legal Agreements and Intellectual Property
* IT Security policy
* Staff Disciplinary Procedures
5. Document governance
5.1 Responsibilities - Policy owner: Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research
5.2 Version Control and Change History
Version Approval date Approved by Amendment 1.0 30/06/2014 Senior Management Team New policy 1.1 26/03/2015 University Research Committee 3.3 Addition of date of adoption
4. "Research Ethics Policy" updated to "Code of Practice for Research"
5.3 Text updated
5.3 Document review
This policy will be reviewed annually by the University Research Committee in response to statutory changes, changes in NTU procedures or structures, or as a result of monitoring the application of the Policy.
Platforms and tools
We provide platforms and tools to support data management including solutions for the management of active data and the preservation and discoverability of data-sets produced by NTU's research community. Data-sets may be discovered using NTU's institutional repository, IRep.
Support and guidance
We offer our researchers support and guidance around:
- data management planning
- managing active data
- the preservation and discoverability of data.
Support is provided by the Library Research Team with assistance from Information Systems, the Research Office and Legal Services.
If you have any queries about NTU’s implementation of the Concordat please get in touch with:
Fiona McKerlie, Researcher Development Manager & Chair Concordat Management Group
Telephone: 0115 84 86804 (internal extension 86804)
Email Fiona McKerlie