Heriot-Watt retains HR Excellence in Research Award

Heriot-Watt University has successfully retained its HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission. This award recognises the positive actions the University has taken to support the career development of researchers which is vital in ensuring continued research excellence.

Internal review of progress

Heriot-Watt was one of the first ten universities in the UK to receive the award in 2010. Our retention of this award has been achieved through an internal review of progress against our original implementation plan for the Concordat to Support the Development of Researchers which was then externally evaluated by the UK panel.

The internal evaluation was led by Dr Rob Daley, Researcher Development Co-ordinator within Academic Enhancement with support from Professor Alan Miller, Deputy Principal (Research and Knowledge Transfer) and Mark Adderley, Director of Human Resources. It involved reviewing policies; measuring engagement with researcher development workshops; collating researchers' views and analysing institutional data from two 2011 national surveys - the 'Careers in Research Online Survey' and 'Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey'. The results of the review were presented to the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Board and will be used to inform future policy and practice developments within Heriot-Watt's Human Resources and Development directorate.

Key achievements  

Key achievements against the original action plan relate to the revised policy for the management of fixed-term contracts, a new promotions' procedure for research staff focusing on simplification, standardisation and increased transparency of process, and an increase in activities to improve Knowledge Exchange support for academics and research staff.

Mark Adderley, commenting on the Concordat Implementation Plan said, "It is vital that we retain the excellent research staff within Heriot-Watt and provide opportunities for them to be the best that they can be. Since reviewing our policies, 24 research staff have benefited by moving from fixed-term contract to open ended contracts and 28 have been successful in gaining promotion through the new process. In addition, over the last two years Heriot-Watt has seen a step change increase in the support and development provided to researchers and academics around knowledge exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration and public engagement."

Professor Alan Miller said, "I am proud that Heriot-Watt has been recognised as being at the forefront of activity in this area. We are committed to research excellence and our staff are our most valuable asset. The unique development opportunities provided by our Researcher Development programmes, Heriot-Watt and Scottish Crucible and Converge activities as well as our local and national partnerships through Beltane and KE Scotland will no doubt help to ensure our continued research success."

Read more about the Award and the Concordat plans.