Researchers

We define Early Career Researchers as those who do research and are employed on fixed term basis. Typically, this will be post docs working on research projects. In some cases, these will be people on teaching only contracts who continue to do research with a view to gaining an academic position. Not included are PGRs or academic staff on open ended contracts.  

Researcher Responsibilities:

Environment and culture 

Excellent research requires a supportive and inclusive research culture 

Healthy working environments attract and develop a more diverse workforce, impact positively on individual and institutional performance, and enhance staff engagement.  This Principle recognises that a proactive and collaborative approach is required between all stakeholders, to create and develop positive environments and cultures in which all researchers can flourish and achieve their full potential. 

Researchers must: 

  • Actively contribute to the development and maintenance of a supportive, fair and inclusive research culture and be a supportive colleague, particularly to newer researchers and students. 
  • Ensure they act in accordance with employer and funder policies related to research integrity, and equality, diversity and inclusion. 
  • Take positive action towards maintaining their wellbeing and mental health. 
  • Use available mechanisms to report staff who fail to meet the expected standards of behaviour, particularly in relation to discrimination, harassment, bullying, and research misconduct.
  • Consider opportunities to contribute to policy development aimed at creating a more positive research environment and culture within their institution. 

Employment 

Researchers are recruited, employed and managed under conditions that recognise and value their contributions 

Provision of good employment conditions for researchers has positive impacts on researcher wellbeing, the attractiveness of research careers, and research excellence.  This Principle recognises the importance of fair, transparent and merit-based recruitment, progression and promotion, effective performance management, and a good work-life balance. All stakeholders need to address long-standing challenges around insecurity of employment and career progression, ensuring equality of experience and opportunity for all, irrespective of background, contract type and personal circumstances. 

Researchers must: 

  • Ensure that they work in accordance with, institutional policies, procedures and employment legislation, as well as the requirements of their funder. 
  • Understand their reporting obligations and responsibilities. 
  • Positively engage with performance management discussions and reviews with their managers. 
  • Recognise and act on their role as key stakeholders within their institution and the wider academic community. 

Professional and career development

Professional and career development are integral to enabling researchers to develop their full potential 

Researchers must be equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse global research environment and employment market.  This Principle recognises the importance of continuous professional and career development, particularly as researchers pursue a wide range of careers. 

Researchers must: 

  • Take ownership of their career, identifying opportunities to work towards career goals, including engaging in a minimum of 10 days’ professional development pro rata, per year. 
  • Explore and prepare for a range of employment options across different sectors, such as by making use of mentors, careers professionals, training and secondments. 
  • 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. 
  • Positively engage in career development reviews with their managers. 
  • Seek out, and engage with, opportunities to develop their research identity and broader leadership skills.
  • Consider opportunities to develop their awareness and experience of the wider research system through, for example, knowledge exchange, policy development, public engagement and commercialisation. 

How we are supporting you to do this: 

  • Providing researchers with 10 days protected time for development, written into all our postdoctoral contracts 
  • Including researchers on committees to inform policy, ensuring their voice is heard 
  • Implementing an Action Group where researchers can meet the Chair of the Early Career Researcher Development Steering group to raise issues and share information 
  • Creating opportunities for researchers to engage with relevant development including support for fellowships and funding bidsteaching accreditation and careers
  • Recruiting a careers consultant to work with researchers to explore careers with research and to equip them with the skills they need for career progression 
  • Providing a leadership course aimed at early career researchers 
  • Updating our Employment of Researchers Guidance to ensure they are aware of our institutional policies, procedures and employee review processes 
  • Creating a guide to support SRDS discussions to include career intentions 
  • Running a researcher survey to determine how we are doing 

Full details of our plans can be found in our Concordat Implementation Plan 

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