HR Excellence in Research Award
The University of Surrey is a proud participant in the HR Excellence in Research Award and has held this prestigious badge since January 2012.
The University of Surrey is committed to the Principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the European Charter and Code for Researchers. The university signed the Concordat in October 2020 and is a proud participant in the HR Excellence in Research (HREiR) Award, having held this prestigious badge since January 2012.
The HREiR process requires an institution to engage with early career researchers (ECRs) and other stakeholders, to reflect on practice and support of ECRs, and to identify specific actions to enhance the experience and career progression of these researchers. It is a journey of continual progress, inspiring universities to progressively improve year on year, with peer review taking place every two years. The HR Excellence badge is increasingly expected by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and EU funders, and is recognised by research collaborators and job applicants as an indicator of good practice in the support and development of our ECRs.
In the UK, the HREiR process focuses on the three core principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers:
- Environment and Culture
- Professional and Career Development
The Concordat’s emphasis is on ECRs, primarily those who are on fixed-term contracts linked to external research funding, but institutions are encouraged to apply the principles to other staff groups who engage in research, such as Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs), those on teaching and research or teaching-only contracts, and clinicians and technicians. The Concordat outlines the four main stakeholder groups responsible for implementing the principles and their key responsibilities:
- Managers of Researchers
For both the HREiR and the Concordat the University of Surrey has adopted a broad and inclusive definition for the term ECR; this includes a range of contract types due to the diversity of research active disciplines at Surrey. We are committed to supporting ECRs with the transition stages of their career, whether that is to another fixed-term contract, a new role at Surrey or in a different Higher Education Institution, or to move to other sectors of employment outside of academia. Furthermore, we ensure our researchers are valued and treated equally, regardless of contract type and career trajectory (within or outside of academia).
Our HR Excellence action plan (please refer to 2020-2024 HR Excellence Submission below) has identified actions important for all ECRs, as well as specific actions to ensure equitable recognition and support of sub-groups of ECRs, such as those on fixed-term contracts. See more about the Concordat Principles.
The following is a complete collection of all previous action plans and reports to illustrate the University of Surrey’s HR Excellence in Research journey since 2012:
Documentation relating to the University of Surrey’s submission to the Human Resources Excellence in Research (HREiR) award and the Researcher Development Concordat (RDC):
- Executive summary (PDF)
- Retrospective action plan (PDF)
- Gap analysis (PDF)
- Forward looking action plan (PDF).
This documentation was submitted in summer 2022.
Understanding the Concordat Principles
In the preface of the concordat it states: “We recognise that researchers in Higher Education and research institutions constitute a diverse group, including postgraduate students, research-only employees on short-term projects, part-time staff, lecturers and professors with a range of duties including research. The principles set out here apply equally to any member of staff engaged in research, and provide a framework of good practice for the management of all researchers and their careers.
Nevertheless, the focus of this document is on employees engaged principally to undertake research, the majority of whom are necessarily supported by fixed-term project funding. Despite progress made since the Concordat of 1996, this group is still rendered vulnerable by the uncertainty of research funding. The aim of this Concordat is to ensure maximum benefit to the researcher, their employing organisations and the research base during their period of employment as researchers in higher education and research institutions, recognising that this may be only part of a much longer career track.”
The signatories of this Concordat are:
Universities UK, Research Councils UK, The Royal Society, The British Academy, The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Wellcome Trust, Higher Education Funding Council for England, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council, Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, The National Institute for Health Research, The Department of Health Scottish Government Health Directorates, British Heart Foundation, Technology Strategy Board, GuildHE.
The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers Steering Committee is formed of representatives from all faculties and key operational areas including:
- Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation
- Doctoral College
- Researcher Development Programme
- Human Resources
- Employability and Careers
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
- Research and Innovation Services
- ECR representation from each faculty (inclusive of different ECR contract types)
This committee meets quarterly and welcomes input from any ECR, or member of staff involved in supporting ECRs.
Throughout the year, we will sponsor events, opportunities and seminars aimed at supporting and recognising the contribution of ECRs to the University’s research culture.
These include engagement activities, such as interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral networking sessions, funding opportunities, such as the Building Research and Innovation Culture Competition 2022, career development workshops, and seminars highlighting the work of our ECRs.
In September we celebrate Postdoc Appreciation Week, and in November, Academic Writing Month. The flagship opportunity for the university’s postgraduate and ECR community, delivered with the support of the Doctoral College, remains the annual Doctoral College Conference. This year the conference will take place 22-23 June. For more information and to check for announcements click here.
Feel free to email with feedback on events or ideas for new events: firstname.lastname@example.org