HR Excellence in Research

HR Excellence in Research

HR Excellence in Research image

Providing researcher development opportunities is important to Queen's and is also is a national issue.  This is seen in the publication of the The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (2008).  Queen’s Researcher Career Development Booklet is one of the University’s responses to the Concordat.  Further to this Queen’s holds the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research award, which gives public recognition for the University’s efforts in improving the working conditions and the career development opportunities for its researchers, and providing a clear plan of action for future developments.  Queen’s was the first University across Ireland to receive the Award, in 2012, which helps to promote the University as an attractive destination for researchers from all over the world.

The Concordat outlines the seven principles that universities are expected to address in relation to the management of contract research staff. In the Concordat researchers are defined as individuals whose primary responsibility is to conduct research and who are employed for this purpose.

Information on:

2012 Concordat Action Plan

2014 Internal Review documents

2016 External Review documents

2018 Internal Review documents

Queen’s Response to the Concordat

A working group consisting of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and Postgraduates), Director of Human Resources and a range of other staff involved in the management and support of researchers conducted a gap analysis, in 2011, of Queen’s provision for research staff alongside the Concordat Principles.  A further stage in the implementation of the Concordat was addressed through the drafting of a Concordat Implementation Action Plan in October 2011. 
A copy of the 2012 Concordat Implementation Action Plan can be downloaded here.

Queens established the Concordat Implementation Review Group (CIRG) in January 2013 to co-ordinate, monitor and review the Concordat Implementation Action Plan. The membership of CIRG includes academic staff, researchers and professional support staff who bring expertise from their individual roles to the group. This group seeks to influence issues in relation to the Concordat action plan and act collectively to monitor, recommend, develop and implement initiatives in the Institutional action plan.


European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award
In implementing the Concordat Principles UK universities can demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the European Commission’s Charter and Code on Management of Researchers.  In so doing Queen’s successfully applied for the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research award (January 2012), which recognises adherence to the Charter and Code.  Queen’s conducted an internal review of progress on the action plan in 2014 and an external review was successfully completed in 2016.

-Progress Report January 2014

Updated Concordat Implementation Action Plan January 2014

External Review 2016

Progress Report January 2016

Updated Concordat Implementation Action Plan January 2016

During the internal review, January 2018, Organisational Development co-ordinated a consultation process with staff.  This has included conducting the Careers in Research Online Survey (2017), Principal Investigators/Research Leaders Survey and meeting with a range of staff.  Members of the Concordat Implementation Review Group have meet with research staff to discuss the concordat action plan, attending a meeting of the new University Post-Doc Forum.  Senior managers have also been included in this consultation process in order to gain agreement on the range of actions included in the updated Concordat Action Plan.  Alongside the updated action plan a Progress Report has been produced, these are available at the links below:

Progress Report January 2018  

Updated Concordat Implementation Action Plan January 2018  

Staff will be kept informed of progress on the implementation of the Concordat during 2018-20.  Information will be available on this website and will be circulated via other methods.
Further information is available at the Concordat to support the Career Development of Researchers.


Concordat Implementation Review Group (CIRG)

Established in January 2013 the CIRG brings together staff from across the University with knowledge of and responsibility for the management and development of Queen’s Research Staff.  The group is responsible for co-ordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Concordat to support the career development or researchers by Queen’s.  The University’s Concordat Implementation Plan forms the basis for the actions of this group.  The CIRG terms of reference are listed below.  In January 2012 the University successfully applied for the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award, with the Concordat Implementation Plan forming the basis of this application.  CIRG has co-ordinated the 2-year internal review and preparations for the 4-year external review of the Concordat Implementation Plan.

  Membership includes academic, academic-support staff and importantly research staff.  These research staff representatives are members of school-based research staff societies and forums.  They provide a researcher perspective on the issues and how to progress the actions in the implementation plan. 

 A number of members of the CIRG are also SWAN champions within University schools.  This has enabled the sharing of information on career development initiatives undertaken as part of the Queens Gender Initiative and the researcher development programme.  Many of the best practice examples gathered by CIRG are based on initiatives which have a SWAN focus but have developed into resources available to all research staff.

 In order to raise awareness about the Concordat and in preparation for the review of the HR Excellence in Research Award, members of CIRG meet with a range of staff across the University, e.g. Directors of Research and Research Staff Societies and Forums.


Terms of Reference and membership

Summaries of meetings:

Examples of Best Practice

 Paul's Concordat Image‌                      ‌