University retains HR Excellence in Research Awards



14 February 2013

Today (Thursday 14 February) it was confirmed byVitae, the UK organisation championing research in higher education institutions, that Aberystwyth University is among 12 UK institutions to have successfully retained their HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission.

The Award demonstrates a university’s commitment to improving the working conditions and career development for research staff, which will in turn improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy. 

Gary Reed, Head of the Research Office at Aberystwyth University, explains, “It was extremely important to us that we retained this award. It demonstrates the steps Aberystwyth has made in enhancing the experience of research staff and will help us to attract researchers and secure external research funding in future.”

“There is still more to do. We look forward to implementing the two year plan and in particular, reviewing our researcher development provision and launching a new programme for all levels of researchers across the University.”

The panel that reviews submissions commented, “Overall, the panel were pleased with the progress that institutions were reporting and welcomed their new implementation plans to enhance the experiences of research staff, particularly their career and professional development.”

Two years after gaining the Award, institutions undertake a two-year internal review to assess progress against their stated strategy and implementation plan. They also set out their priorities for the future and how they will measure success in the four-year evaluation. These are reviewed by a panel of experts to confirm that the institution retains the Award.

Seventy two UK organisations now have the HR Excellence in Research Award committing them to a programme of improvements in working conditions for researchers and internal and external evaluation. Fifty seven institutions across Europe have achieved the Award.

To gain the Award, employers and funders of researchers have to demonstrate robust implementation plans to improve how they attract, manage and develop research staff. This is part of the strategy outlined in the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers 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.

The 12 organisations to retain their award were Aberystwyth University, University of Aberdeen, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Glasgow, University of Hertfordshire, Institute of Cancer Research, University of Leeds, London School of Economics and Politics, Loughborough University and Swansea University.