Here is a list of case study examples for you to use and apply and/or modify within your institution. This list can be filtered by Beneficiaries, Stakeholders or Concordat principles using the navigation bar on the left
'Advancing in Academia' at King’s College London (KCL) is a four-week blended learning course for PGRs (doctoral researchers) and Research Staff who are considering or planning a career in academia. The course is designed and run in partnership with the researcher careers team at KCL and the College Centre for Doctoral Studies. The most recent version, in 2022, was run for people with dual academic and clinical careers. The course has run since 2017 focussing on different academic disciplines each time, and in 2022 it focussed specifically on clinical academics. Although the general principles described below apply to all iterations, the course run in 2022 represented the most challenging and also the most rewarding.
The University of Portsmouth is a modern University employing 120-140 Research Staff, depending largely on the number and type of externally funded research grants and contracts. Recognising that our existing structures were not delivering the levels of engagement necessary to deliver on the aspirations in our Concordat Action Plan, we redesigned the group that has oversight and governance of researcher development to bring in representation from PhD through to Professor, reinvigorating career stage fora.
We are not always good at saying thank you, especially for things that are difficult to measure. The Research Culture Awards aim to recognise and celebrate those who demonstrate good role modelling and make the environment better for others; staff can thank those around them who are good leaders, mentors or organise valued activities. The longer-term aim is to include these aspects in promotion criteria and to value them more formally, but this informal method has helped develop a community of people who actively think about good research culture and how to replicate it elsewhere.
Managers of researchers usually step into the role as a result of them winning grant funding to employ someone to work on their project. They often receive no specific training as a manager, or to fulfil the many, diverse obligations that the Concordat places on them. Following wide consultation with stakeholders, we have developed a training ‘bundle’ to support managers of researchers to meet their Concordat obligations that includes advice, resources, signposting to policies and support, and bespoke training. All content is available on demand and delivered in ‘bite-sized' chunks.
The Network of Women+ Professors at the University of Hertfordshire promotes career progression and progress towards gender equality in the professoriate in line with the institutional Athena Swan action plan and supports HR to close the gender pay gap and gender ratio in the professoriate. The network has established a mentoring scheme to support women aspiring for Reader, Associate Professor and Professor levels with individual mentoring support offered to people who identify as women+ at the University by nationally and internationally recognised colleagues.
The University of Liverpool Research Staff Association (UoL RSA) supported by the Academy is a research community-owned and -led initiative. It provides a voice for research staff across all faculties, and a platform for communication and networking. It helps co-ordinate central support for researcher development and builds a researcher community that, through representation on committees and working groups, empowers researchers to be involved in decision making.
Colleagues from Organisational Development and the Careers Service at Newcastle University worked together to develop and deliver an engaging series of career management workshops for early career researchers during the pandemic. They replaced face-to-face classroom-based delivery with blended learning. Four workshops ran over 8 weeks: Career Clarity, Curiosity, Courage and Capability with pre-work and follow-up resources. The workshops (on Zoom) included guest speakers, Q&A, quizzes and breakout discussions. Due to demand and positive feedback, we are continuing with this approach. In the face of adversity, we've created something very positive.
This case study describes the social science approach (termed Merging Knowledge) utilised to develop the University of Oxford's Concordat action plan. The case details the action plan design and drafting process, which involved participants from across the University, selected to represent the Concordat stakeholder groups and to reflect diversity across disciplines, career stage, ethnicity, and gender.
The Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF) aims to ensure Bournemouth University researchers have access to the support required to make a step change in their research activity and performance, strengthening the opportunities for career progression, retention of high-performing staff, and acceleration of research income. The RKEDF offers a range of standalone workshops, structured courses, and online resources. These are delivered by BU staff with topic expertise or external facilitators. In addition to many individual events, the RKEDF includes several targeted and cohort-based courses each year.
The Bournemouth University Academic Targeted Research Scheme (ATRS) was launched to attract and recruit talented early career researchers in targeted research areas, with the potential to become future research leaders. As an academic at Bournemouth University (BU), they are developing their career in an exciting work environment, provided with a high level of dedicated time to drive research activity and build capacity, and have the freedom to develop their research interests within targeted areas. Six appointments were made, which are still ongoing. The opportunity has led to strong research networks, collaboration, and time to achieve goals.
The revised Concordat to support the career development for researchers includes reference to researchers having opportunities, structured support, encouragement and time to engage in a minimum of 10 days professional development pro rata per year.
Professional development can take a variety of forms and varies with career stage. The University of Liverpool have developed a web resource Development Activity Guidance which includes examples of opportunities that enable researchers to develop skills and experience to support their career and professional development.
Many postdocs move into scientific leadership roles beyond academia. ICR wanted its training offer to reflect that, giving agency to those not aiming for an independent academic career. ICR tagged training and career development opportunities as ‘succeeding in industry’ and/or ‘succeeding in academia’, and offered specific support and events on applications and recruitment in industry. ICR wanted to acknowledge that researchers might also be undecided, or plan to move between academia and industry, and the institute connected with alumni and Faculty who have done this successfully to deliver these sessions.
To celebrate and recognise the achievement of the University’s research staff, the Research Staff Strategy Group (RSSG) introduced a new University awards scheme exclusively for research staff (defined as research assistants, associates/postdocs and fellows). The four categories of award (Research Staff of the Year, Best Outstanding Output, Best Outstanding Contribution to Research Impact, and Best Outstanding Contribution to the Research Environment) showcase the excellent work of research staff and raise their profile and visibility across the University.
Research Tuesdays is a programme of events based on a constructivist approach to learning where communities of practice are developed between new members of staff and more experienced researchers. Events are designed to showcase the creative practice of academics who may not have previously encountered research in an arts university. This intervention has led to emerging practice-based researchers becoming more confident in starting up interest groups that have created group exhibitions, symposia and publications.
Strathclyde’s Researchers Group is an Institutional Research Staff Association. As a highly effective route for the Researcher Voice to be heard at an Institutional level, the Group allows the Researchers to be central to understanding and addressing all aspects of the Researcher Development Concordat while providing opportunities for the Researchers’ own professional, career and leadership development.
The University of Exeter's ambitious exploration of research culture in each department across the whole University using technology to promote discussion.
The Making an Impact series has been designed around a framework of Knowledge Exchange ‘lenses’, on impact in cultural, health science, public policy, economic, industrial, digital, environmental and third sectors. The KirkPatrick model of evaluation assesses long term outcomes and feeds into programme design.
Equity, accessibility and inclusivity is central to the Series, which provides a mixture of live sessions delivered by internal and external experts across research-related academic, administrative and industry stakeholder roles, augmented with asynchronous materials on a dedicated Resource Hub.
The Series plays a significant role in creating new connections, impactful collaboration and a culture of innovation.
The Researcher Forum at Plymouth enables the University to facilitate communications, consultation, practice sharing, development and support with our Researchers. The Researcher Forum facilitates discussion and networking between our researchers, managers, academics and staff supporting researchers and is key to supporting our researchers. Meetings are themed according to Concordat-related activities, University initiatives and priorities for researchers, for example: Concordat consultation, REF, career development, funding support, Open Access and, Impact. The Concordat Working Group works closely with the Researcher Forum and Research Staff representatives on Concordat-related activities, providing a pivotal link with our community of researchers. Faculty ECR Forums have been established for the Faculties of Health; Science and Engineering; and Arts, Humanities and Business. Faculty ECR Forums are conduits for information, consultation, representation, career development and support for researchers aligned with each group. Establishing Faculty ECR Forums has led to further opportunities for research staff through 'Faculty crossover representatives', which provides an excellent opportunity for researchers who are interested in developing their experience/research beyond their Faculty network.
The University of Manchester has an annual promotion round open to all Research Staff irrespective of their contractual status and external funding stream. Clear promotion criteria is available for all grades of Research Staff and promotion committees openly invite and encourage applications providing evidence of working at a higher level.
This case study describes our reflective practice approach. Through the creation of the Developing Excellent Researchers Subcommittee, we widened engagement making it more inclusive and balanced academic and Human Resources need. This established network means that research staff can contribute to the institutional strategic research agenda. This was important in developing our HR Excellence in Research Award submission as it ensured that we engaged with individuals from our research staff cohort through to those in senior research management roles. Changing the focus of support for HR Excellence in Research and widening engagement has facilitated a more reflective approach. This will continue to evolve as the agenda turns to research culture.