EU Commission recognition for researcher development

14 Sep 2011 16:29:45.207

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The University of Nottingham is among the latest 15 UK universities to gain the HR Excellence in Research award from the European Commission. The UK now has 38 of its higher education institutions recognised in this way.

In order to achieve the award The University of Nottingham has demonstrated its commitment to supporting research staff and to implementing the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

Professor Jerry Roberts, Dean of the Graduate School, said “The University of Nottingham has more than 1,000 research staff and I am delighted that our activities to support these researchers have been recognised by the European Commission through this HR Excellence in Research Award.”

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The news was announced at this year’s Vitae Researcher Development International Conference in Manchester.

Professor Sarah O’Hara, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, said: “It is an honour to receive this prestigious award. The University of Nottingham recognises the importance of continually investing in the talents and abilities of our staff to develop genuinely world-changing ideas and discoveries that address the problems and challenges which affect societies and people on a global scale. To ensure we attract and retain the very best researchers we have continued our investment in state-of-the-art facilities.”

A UK-wide process enables UK higher education institutions to gain the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research award. The award acknowledges their alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. The UK process incorporates both the QAA Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers to enable institutions that have published Concordat implementation plans to gain the HR Excellence in Research badge. The UK approach includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science said: “The European Commission, through its Innovation Union flagship initiative, is committed to putting research and innovation at the top of the political agenda. We want to turn ideas into growth and jobs. UK universities play an important part in strengthening the excellent research base in Europe and ensure that our researchers have the right skills to maximise the value of innovation across all sectors.”

Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, Chair of the Concordat Strategy Group, said: “I am delighted that a further 15 UK institutions have gained the HR Excellence in Research award from the European Commission. These announcements highlight our commitment in the UK to training and developing researchers and to continual improvements in provision as we implement the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

“However, the current economic climate presents some serious challenges for sustaining the research workforce in higher education, not least the importance of providing frameworks for career progression within an environment of short term, and increasingly competitive, funding.”

Ellen Pearce, Director, Vitae, UK representative on the European Commission HR Strategy Group:

“We are delighted that UK universities are receiving international recognition for their work to develop researcher careers. We hope that many other UK institutions will gain the recognition from the European Commission over the coming months.”

Vitae is supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK), managed by CRAC: The Career Development Organisation and delivered in partnership with regional Hub host universities.

The badge acknowledges that institutions have completed a gap analysis of their existing policies and practice against the Concordat, developed a robust action plan for implementation, and taken into account the views of researchers

Further information can be found on The University of Nottingham’s research staff website at

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Vitae is a national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of postgraduate researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes. We play a major role in the drive for high-level skills and innovation and in the UK's goal to produce world class researchers. Our vision is for the UK to be world-class in supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers. Vitae is supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK), managed by CRAC: The Career Development Organisation and delivered in partnership with regional Hub host universities.

For more information about Vitae activities, visit the website


Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils. We invest annually around £3 billion in research. Our focus is on excellence with impact. We nurture the highest quality research, as judged by international peer review providing the UK with a

competitive advantage. Global research requires we sustain a diversity of funding approaches, fostering international collaborations, and providing access to the best facilities and infrastructure, and locating skilled researchers in stimulating environments. Our research achieves impact — the demonstrable contribution to society and the economy made by knowledge and skilled people. To deliver impact, researchers and businesses need to engage and collaborate with the public, business, government and charitable organisations.


CRAC: The Career Development Organisation is an independent, charitable organisation with a core aim to promote and encourage career development and active career-related learning. CRAC manages a number of innovative programmes within education and skills development sector.

Notes to editors:  The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at:

Story credits

More information is available from  Dr Jane Wellens, Head of Researcher Development, Graduate School on +44 (0)115  846 7944; or Ruth Kirkman, Communications Manager VITAE on +44 (0)1223 448510,
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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