‘HR excellence’ is boost for universities and researchers

September 7, 2010

Nine UK universities have been recognised by the European Commission for their efforts to improve working conditions and career-development opportunities for research staff.

The institutions have received the UK’s first “HR excellence in research” accreditation for their progress in implementing the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their Recruitment.

In concert with the UK’s Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, they call for measures such as development programmes for research staff and a reduction in the use of fixed-term contracts.

The recipients will be announced today in Manchester at the annual conference of Vitae, the Research Councils UK-funded body that champions the development of academic researchers.

The universities are: Aston, Cardiff, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newcastle, Reading, Salford and York.

Only 12 other European institutions have received the accolade.

Ellen Pearce, director of Vitae, said: “Investment through Roberts funding, combined with the new concordat, has provided impetus for real progress. We hope many other UK institutions will gain the recognition from the Commission over the coming months.”

Sir Ivor Crewe, chair of the Concordat Strategy Group, welcomed the accolades, but warned that “serious challenges” remained, “not least providing frameworks for career progression within an environment of short-term and increasingly uncertain funding”.

In a Vitae survey earlier this year, the results of which will also be presented at today’s conference, 28 per cent of 103 respondents say they have adopted a strategy to implement the concordat and 54 per cent say they are drawing one up.

However, only 17 per cent have reviewed their policies on fixed-term contracts.

paul.jump@tsleducation.com

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