The Researcher Development Concordat is an agreement among organizations in the UK in support of career development of researchers. It outlines a set of principles and requirements aimed at fostering a sustainable research culture within UK research institutions. The Concordat is focussed on the rights and obligations of researchers who are primarily engaged in research work, with a continued emphasis on the need to improve work culture and the broader research landscape. Its initial release in 2008 catalyzed the momentum of the reform movement to improve research environments. The updated Concordat (2019) outlines the crucial roles played by research managers, emphasizing their key responsibilities. It also acknowledges that funders are essential stakeholders, sharing responsibility for enhancing research cultures in the institutions they support, thereby promoting professional development of researchers. Everyone is therefore encouraged to uphold the principles of the Concordat at all levels, recognizing their collective responsibility and accountability. The three key Principles of the Researcher Development Concordat are:
- Environment and culture
- Professional and career development
Each of the Principles outlines the obligations of four different stakeholder categories: researchers, research managers, institutions, and funding bodies. Some key points concerning responsible research assessment are:
- Provide clear and transparent merit-based recognition, reward and promotion pathways that recognise the full range of researchers’ contributions, and the diversity of personal circumstances
- Commit to, and evidence, the inclusive, equitable and transparent recruitment, promotion, and reward of researchers
- Maintain an up-to-date professional career development plan and build a portfolio of evidence demonstrating their experience, that can be used to support job applications
Organizations with an interest in the career development of researchers are encouraged to become signatories of the Concordat. In addition to committing to the principles of the Concordat, signatories will be taking regular review and reporting their progress, participate in dissemination of best practices, and promoting improvement over the next decade.