Our network draws together researchers and staff from across the researcher community to contribute advice, expertise and insight that informs university and research funders' decisions and strategies.
The Researcher Academy strategically advocates and advises on researcher issues, drawing on insights and expertise from researchers and staff across its network. We contribute to shaping the university’s policies on researcher culture, environment, and provision, and work with colleagues to ensure standards across faculties and doctoral training programmes.
Underpinning our advocacy activity is the work of our Researcher Academy Faculty Leads (RAFLs), senior academics who facilitate and coordinate activities within Faculties to support postgraduates and early career researchers, and advocate for them within Faculty and University structures. The RAFLs also work closely with the School-based PG Directors and Research Staff Champions, PGR LCFs and Research Staff Forums to ensure communication is both ways.
We encourage our staff and stakeholders to be curious and inquiring about the diverse needs of researchers. Drawing on surveys and consultations, including the Researcher Academy managed Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, our network is able to offer a well-rounded and informed picture of researcher experience.
The Researcher Academy aims to locate our stakeholders in the right places to champion researcher voices and needs. At a policy level we currently have representation on:
Our Researcher Academy managed BBSRC, M4C, NERC and ESRC Doctoral Training Programmes also act as models of excellence for training centre and training programme development and have been leaders in making improvements around EDI in recruitment and mental health in academia.
We also organise events, such as the Stronger Together Conference, the 2019 instance of which was the first postgraduate research focused Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) event ever held at a U.K. university.
We have also published a handbook ‘Supervising postgraduate researchers from diverse backgrounds' which was developed in consultation with researchers and supervisors from our network.
Responding to the Researcher Development Concordat
The Researcher Academy community will play a key role in shaping the University of Nottingham's implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, an agreement to improve employment and support for researchers and researcher careers in higher education in the UK. The University of Nottingham first received the HR Excellence in Research award in 2010/11 for its work on the 2008 Concordat, becoming a signatory to the revised 2019 Researcher Development Concordat in 2021.
The principles of the revised Concordat (2019) are underpinned by obligations for the funders, institutions, researchers and managers of researchers, and the Researcher Academy is the primary network in which these four key stakeholder groups share membership. The Researcher Academy's expertise will therefore be essential in supporting the University of Nottingham as it works to develop and implement its action plan for the revised Concordat's three principles of environment and culture, employment, and professional and career development.