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National developments affecting research staff

The following lists recent initiatives that offer guidance to support the management and careers of research staff:

  • Vitae is a national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes. It builds on the work and activities of the UK Higher Education Researcher Development  (UKHERD) network for research staff.  Vitae is funded by the Research Councils UK  and managed by CRAC: The Career Development Organisation  and delivered in partnership with regional Hub host universities. Vitae works together with higher education institutions and research institutes to provide specific support for research staff and to champion the interests of all researchers. Vitae maintains a Researchers' Portal with useful information and advice for researchers, supervisors, research managers and employers.
  • The 2008 Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers sets out the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders. It aims to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK and to improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy. It builds on the The 1996 Concordat on Contract Research Staff Career Management (pdf), which provided a framework for the management of researchers and better support for their career development.
  • EURAXESS, the researchers' mobility portal, is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the 33 countries participating in the European Union's Sixth Framework Programme for research  Its purpose is facilitate mobility of researchers across Europe. EURAXESS provides access through links to a selection of international, European, national, regional and sectoral web resources covering: general information about research fellowships and grants; research job vacancies within the European research community; practical information about administrative and legal issues when moving from one country to another; and general information about research policies relevant to the career development of researchers in Europe.
  • The European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers was adopted by the EC in March 2005. The aim of these documents is to further the strategic objectives of the EU's Lisbon agenda through enhancing the profile, professionalism and the mobility of researchers throughout the Union. They seek to make 'research' (in both the public and private sectors) an attractive career choice.
  • Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, a European Directive that has been adopted into UK law, sets out conditions to protect fixed-term employees from being treated less favourably than full-time employees undertaking comparable roles. It has applicability to the employment of fixed-term research staff in UK universities.
  • The Roberts Review: SET for success: the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematic skills (2002) made several recommendation with respect to postdoctoral researchers, including that they should have a clear career development plan and access to appropriate training opportunities. In response to the review the government provided funding to Research Councils UK to finance this 'Roberts agenda', including funding for a new Academic Fellowships scheme and transferable skills training.
  • Supporting research staff: Making a difference project initiated in November 2000
    This is a project funded by HEFCE and was carried out in direct response to the Research Careers Initiative (RCI). This project promotes good management practices for researchers and was carried out by the universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Loughborough, working in partnership with 14 other universities. A Final report detailing good practice guidelines in managing research staff was made available in September 2002.
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