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Bristol leads the way in Europe for HR excellence in research

HR Excellence in Research logo

HR Excellence in Research logo

Press release issued: 17 December 2010

The University of Bristol has gained a coveted European Commission award in recognition of its commitment to ensuring good working conditions and career development for its researchers.

The University of Bristol has gained a coveted European Commission award in recognition of its commitment to ensuring good working conditions and career development for its researchers.

The European Commission HR Excellence in Research badge aims to encourage a step-change in the way that universities across Europe recruit, manage and develop researchers.  The award, announced this week, entitles the University to use the badge to demonstrate its excellence in the career management of its researchers. 

Bristol is one of 23 UK institutions compared to just 15 other European universities to have gained the award. To be eligible for the badge, UK universities must demonstrate their alignment to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their recruitment. In the UK, this process incorporates both the QAA Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and the ‘Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers’.  It also includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is a signatory to the Concordat and implementing the Concordat is central to the objectives of the research councils because of the contribution trained researchers make to the academic sector and the wider economy.

David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science: said: “I am delighted to announce that thirteen UK institutions have been awarded the HR Excellence in Research badge by the European Commission for their work to implement the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. It is right that as we put research at the heart of our plans for future prosperity, we prioritise the development of excellent researchers able to capitalise on the impact of that research. “

Professor Guy Orpen, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, said: “This award reflects the University’s strong links between researcher training and development, and our research strategy.  We recognise that creating a positive research environment and infrastructure will attract and retain high-quality researchers and postgraduate students. This endorsement of our employment and training practice from the European Commission is the culmination of many years’ hard work by colleagues from all over the University, which recognises research staff as being central to our success as an institution.”

Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, Chair of the Concordat Strategy Group, said: “The Concordat was launched with explicit recognition that research is crucially important to the UK - not just to the success of our academic institutions, but to the growth of our economy and society. Two years after the launch of the Concordat it is clear that UK institutions are putting in place policies and structures to ensure that research staff employment conditions and career development are central to university strategies. However, there remain some serious challenges for sustaining the research workforce in higher education, not least the importance of providing frameworks for career progression within an increasingly competitive environment of short term, and uncertain, funding.”

The Bristol team behind the award was led by Dr Alison Leggett, Staff Development Manager, from the University's Organisational Development function with support from Equality and Diversity colleagues as well as research staff themselves.

More information on our commitment to the development of research staff is available on the  Research Staff web site.

Further information

Please contact Dr Alison Leggett for further information.
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