HR Excellence in Research Award | what do you think?

You may have noticed reference to the “HR Excellence in Research Award” on our website or in our brochures and not given it much thought, but it’s worth paying some attention to – and we’d really appreciate hearing from you if you have. The Institute for Academic Development is currently in the process of working on our review for the Award.  We were amongst the first Universities to receive the Award from the European Commission in September 2010 and it’s had a significant impact on that way we support you, our researchers.

The award framework requires us to review our support of research staff every two years and it’s led to a number of projects, initiatives and new approaches. These include

  • Rewriting our Code of Practice so it is more researcher-focused and includes clear roles and responsibilities for researchers, their managers and the University
  • Working in collaboration with HR Learning & Development to deliver a university wide mentoring programme – Mentoring Connections – for all staff, with the IAD focusing on supporting the academic mentoring partnerships
  • A researcher-led development fund, which has evolved into the IAD Action Fund, which supports staff and students to develop academic communities and/or test ideas for creative learning activities. Funding is also available to support the professional and personal development of groups of students, researchers and academics at every stage of their career

Every other biennial review involves UK peer reviewers working alongside a selected number of international reviewers to assess all UK submissions. We welcome this additional scrutiny as it helps us to hear about good practice from across and beyond the UK. The recommendations from the review will also help us to secure internal support for new researcher development ideas.

The ‘HR excellence in Research’ badge acknowledges our alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment[i].  In the UK this also includes the QAA Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers – you may be familiar with the latter as it is currently being reviewed and we expect the revised Concordat to make more robust recommendations to funders and universities to further improve their support for researchers. As this long list of Codes and Condordats suggests, the action plan that we produce and follow is detailed and lengthy, but it’s one that we’d like more of our researchers to see and comment on. You can find our current action plan and further information about the award on our website:

Although we work in partnerships with Colleges, Schools and various networks, centres and institutes, we’re aware that we are only hearing a fraction of the researcher voices in the University. This is your chance to contribute to this key process and to let us know

  • If you are aware of the HR Excellence in Research Award
  • Which initiatives you’re aware of and how you are benefiting from them
  • What should be in the 2018 action plan for researchers or research staff societies

So, if you are an Edinburgh researcher, please share with us your perceptions of the effects of the various initiatives we’re already running and what you would like to see included in the 2018 action plan.

Please email with any comments/feedback

[i] In 2005 the European Commission launched the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers which set out some principles for good working conditions for researchers.  The European Commission (EC) seeks to ensure that steps are being put in place by institutions to enhance working conditions for researchers across Europe as set out in the European Charter and Code and this is done through the ‘HR Excellence in Research’ Award.


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