SFC news published since 2018. See SFC archived content for earlier news articles.

University researchers across Scotland are set to benefit from a renewed commitment to their professional development.

Launched today at the annual conference of Universities UK, the Researcher Development Concordat is designed to help improve the research environment and create the conditions for research talent to flourish.

Over 1,000 individuals and organisations across the UK have contributed to defining the new concordat. Amongst its first signatories are the Scottish Funding Council, UK Research and Innovation and Cancer Research UK.

Under the new concordat, research institutions will be expected to provide staff with opportunities to develop their research identity and broader leadership skills. There is also an obligation for researchers themselves to engage with these opportunities. As part of the agreement, organisations signing the concordat will publish an annual report measuring their progress in implementing its requirements.

According to the concordat’s proponents, it will play a vital role in improving the security of employment for researchers by reducing the use of fixed, short term contracts and introducing flexible criteria for maternity and paternity benefits.

Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council, said:

 “The new concordat points the way to a more inclusive approach to professional development for Scotland’s researchers, strengthening our globally significant research community while supporting Scotland’s Fair Work Action Plan. SFC looks forward to working with Scotland’s universities to help the concordat bring maximum benefit to researchers and their employers.”  

Drs Anjali Shah and Alison Tidy, co-chairs of the UK Research Staff Association, said:

 “Researchers welcome the publication of the revised Researcher Development Concordat because it sets out expectations for all key parties to together create the more supportive and inclusive culture necessary for conducting excellent research. We particularly appreciate the expectation of time and opportunities for researchers to develop their research identity and broader leadership skills, which should support their success in a wide range of careers.”

The Researcher Development Concordat is now available online.