Career development

Ulster University is proud to hold the HR Excellence in Research Award for its commitment to improving the working conditions and career development of its research staff.

This in turn will benefit the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of society and the economy. The award commits Ulster to ensuring the successful delivery of our action plan for recruiting and developing research staff to EU standards.

The award recognises:

The seven principles of the Concordat to support the career development of researchers are:

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 researcher's 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.

About the award

Ulster University has held this award since January 2013. Implementation of the Concordat by individual universities is externally reviewed every four years by a national body.

Universities holding the award are expected to conduct an internal review every two years, which should demonstrate progress to date and update the action plan based on developments in the University.

Since the inception of the Concordat to support the career development of researchers in 2008, Ulster University has had a Co-ordinator for the Implementation of the Concordat for the Development of Contract Researchers (CICDR) in place to ensure that the population of contract researchers (CRS) (currently 179 researchers) have a point of contact and to ensure that they have the opportunity to communicate their views and opinions regarding their experience of working at Ulster.

Working with representatives from human resources, staff development, employability and marketing unit (formerly careers and employability), policy and implementation unit (formerly equality and diversity unit) and the Office of the PVC Research & Impact the CICDCR has ensured through both formal and informal monitoring that the various Action Plans linked to Concordat and more recently (since 2012) the HR Research Excellence Award are implemented by the University.

The main formal mechanism for this monitoring has been through two university level committees, the HR Research Forum and the Research Concordat Steering Group, which meet on an annual basis. In addition to these committees the University has participated in the CROS survey to enable us to monitor performance in relation to the implementation of the key indicators of the Concordat.

The key findings from the CROS survey, which was last run in Ulster University in May 2017, will be disseminated at the various committee meetings and made public on the dedicated researcher development website. Also most importantly the findings from the CROS 2017 will form the backbone of discussions for the annual Campus Fora for Contract Research Staff, which are due to be held at the University’s three main campuses. The key issues which will be on the agenda at these Fora meetings will include the ongoing objective to set up an independent Contract Researcher Forum, how the university can help to enhance career development support, and ultimately the culture and climate for researchers, given the ongoing changes in the university.

As part of the process deigned to devise the most recent action plan and review documents in 2016, a new HR Excellence in Research Working Group was established with a more focused remit to review the on-going monitoring outputs and to develop and implement new activities designed to accelerate developmental policies and opportunities for all researchers.

These researcher development activities are underpinned in Ulster’s Five and Fifty Strategy and Ulster’s Research & Impact Strategy 2017-2021 Shaping Your Future.

New structures will now be put in place in Autumn 2017 aimed at achieving maximum engagement with Contract Researchers and other key stakeholders.

Information on:

2012 Concordat action plan

2014 Internal review documents

2017 external review documents

Ulster University HR Excellence in Research Four Year Review – January 2017
Ulster University HR Excellence in Research – Progress on Existing Action Plan January 2017
Ulster University HR Excellence in Research – New Action Plan January 2017 – January 2019
Ulster University Current Practice Aligned to Concordat Principles January 2017

See our researchers describe their career development experience

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Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Impact)

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Dr Bethany Waterhouse-Bradley, Research Associate (Project Co-ordinator) - Veteran Health and Well-Being

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Dr Leanne Calvert, Research Associate in Social History

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Dr Claire McCauley, Research Associate in Nursing and Health Research