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Career Development Support for Researchers at the University of Manchester

The University recognises the crucial contributions made by research staff in achieving the objectives of the institution’s strategic and research ambitions. The University is committed to providing first class development and career support to its researchers underpinned by adoption of the Principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers in full. This ambition is made explicit in the University’s high level Research Strategy.

In 2010, the Associate Vice President for Research, Professor Matt Lambon Ralph, assumed leadership of the newly formed Research Staff Development Working Group (RSDWG). The Group consists of a representative from: research staff (one from each Faculty); the Faculty Researcher Development Teams; the Careers Service; the Staff Training & Development Unit; HR; and the University’s Skills Development Coordinator. The responsibilities of the Group are to:

  • Provide University-wide strategic and operational direction, including best practice guidelines written for key stakeholders, for implementing the Principles of the Concordat;
  • Monitor implementation of the above;
  • Champion the Concordat, the University’s Concordat Implementation Plan and the work of the Group, helping to raise University-wide awareness of the key issues referenced in relevant internal and external satisfaction surveys and the Concordat.

Its first task was to compile a formal response to Universities UK who, in 2010, conducted a survey of HEI strategies for implementing the Concordat. The University’s survey reply cited many examples of good existing practice and policy embedded at the institutional, Faculty and School level that align with the Principles of the Concordat. However, the survey, together with the 2009 CROS data from this University, identified areas where improvement was needed.

Before drafting a Concordat Implementation Plan, further work was undertaken and each Head of the 27 Schools at the University was asked to provide information of local practice in relation to each of the Principles of the Concordat.

Using data from the University’s response to the UUK survey, the 2009 CROS data and the responses from Head’s of Schools, a gap analysis was undertaken to identify what the University does well in relation to The Concordat Principles and where there was room for improvement. This analysis formed the basis for drafting the University’s Concordat Implementation Plan. Working drafts underwent extensive University – wide consultation with key stakeholders before a final version was approved by the University’s senior HR Sub Committee. Monitoring of progress against each action is undertaken by the RSDWG, reporting to the University’s senior management.

In recognition of its Concordat Implementation Plan, the University was awarded the HR Excellence in research badge by the EU Commission in 2011. The award requires the University to undertake an internal assessment process after 2 years post award, and engage with an external assessment after 4 years, both to measure progress against the Plan. Our 2-year self-assessment is now available here.

HR Excellence in Research