Tagged / Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

BU retains the HR Excellence in Research Award

We are delighted to announce that we have successfully retained the HR Excellence in Research Award, recognising our support for the career development of researchers.

HR excellence in research logoThe award demonstrates our commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and thereby improving the working conditions and career development for research staff. In turn this will improve the quantity, quality and impact of research.

We have held the HR Excellence in Research Award since 2013 and successfully retained the award following a rigorous external review.

Dr Rebecca Edwards, Senior Research Development and Support Manager and Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group, said: “I am delighted that BU has retained this prestigious award, which recognises the achievements of the cross-University team comprising colleagues in HR, OD, RDS, academics across all Faculties and our amazing Research Staff Association.”

BU is one of two universities to retain the award following their eight-year review and is one of 96 Vitae UK member institutions with the award.

As part of the review process, institutions need to demonstrate that they have completed a gap analysis of their existing policies and practice against the Concordat, developed a robust action plan for implementation, and taken into account the views of researchers.

Key achievements and progress highlighted in BU’s eight-year review submission include:

  • Dedicated support and development opportunities for research staff and Early Career Researchers (ECRs), such as through the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF) which offers upwards of 100 training and development events per year
  • Investment in the Academic Targeted Research Scheme to recruit talented early career researchers in targeted research areas, with dedicated time to develop their research interests
  • The availability of bridging funding to provide continuous employment for research staff for short periods between externally funded contracts

We have also committed to investing in the creation of fifteen new post-doctoral researcher fellow positions through the Research Capacity Transformation Scheme.

A new action plan, taking us to 2023, has now been developed – driven by our community of researchers.

The plan focuses on supporting research careers through appropriate management, appraisal and development opportunities.

This includes the creation of a virtual hub with the full programme of opportunities available to research staff; a new career development framework; and for all researchers to receive annual appraisals, regular performance reviews, careers guidance and development opportunities.

Professor Mike Silk, Deputy Dean for Research and Professional Practice in the Business School and Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group, said: “At BU, we are committed to nurturing the supportive and healthy culture required to ensure all of our research staff have the opportunity to grow, develop and thrive.

“Working with the Research Staff Association, individual researchers and those who have responsibility for managing researchers, the Research Concordat Steering Group aims to ensure all researchers have the opportunity to realise their potential, deliver high quality outcomes whilst at BU, and be equipped with multiple skill-sets that will enable success in future careers.

“The award recognises the steps we have made at BU to create the very best culture and environment possible for our researchers to thrive.”

Find out more about our commitment to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers 

Reminder about the BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who are often employed on short term contacts linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment due to breaks in employment, job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances through early career planning, forward research project planning, redeployment where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered in exceptional situations) between research grants. BU’s Bridging Fund Scheme is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

 

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

 

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena Swan action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

Reminder about the BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who are often employed on short term contacts linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment due to breaks in employment, job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances through early career planning, forward research project planning, redeployment where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered in exceptional situations) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2020 to:

  1. Update the process to link the funding model with the conditions at the point of application:
    1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap between funding (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered). If these conditions are met at the point of application and the application is approved then the central budget will cover 100 per cent of the salary and employers’ on-costs during the bridging period.
    2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period. If these conditions are met at the point of application and the application is approved then the central budget will cover 50 per cent of the salary costs during the bridging period. The Faculty will be required to meet the remaining 50 per cent of the salary and employers’ on-costs during the bridging period.
  2. Employment legislation updates.
  3. Add an additional financial approval to the application process.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

 

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena Swan action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).