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Heriot-Watt University was amongst the first in the UK to receive the "HR Excellence in Research" recognition from the European Commission in September 2010. The award recognises:

The UK approach includes ongoing evaluation and benchmarking, and also considers the incorporation of the Chapter B11 of the UK Quality Code. The seven principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers are:

Principle 1
Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research.
Principle 2
Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisations Human Resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world class research.
Principle 3
Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.
Principle 4
The importance of researcher's personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.
Principle 5
Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.
Principle 6
Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers.
Principle 7
The sector and all stakeholders will undertake regular and collective review of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK.

Heriot-Watt has held this award for six years, as a result of a number of initiatives across the University to improve the career development support for researchers. These include improvements in the management of fixed-term contracts, new promotional procedures for researchers, the enhanced career support and leadership development for researchers provided through the 'Centre for Academic Leadership & Development' and via 'Organisational Development' and the improved knowledge exchange support provided through highly successful initiatives such as Converge Challenge and HW Engage. In autumn 2016, we successfully retained our HR Excellence in Research Award following an internal review of our progress.

The process

2010: The University undertook a gap analysis and drew up a two year 2010-12 Action Plan, for the implementation of the Concordat to Support the Development of Researchers at Heriot-Watt University. We were one of the first UK universities to gain the HR Excellence in Research Award.

2012: The University underwent an internal review of its progress, and reported on completed actions from the initial action plan. This included an Action Plan for 2012-14.

2014: The University was among the first in the UK to undergo the four-year, external evaluation of our Concordat implementation. The University was reviewed by researcher development professionals from across the UK and Europe in September 2014, and successfully retained the Award. The planning and implementation of the Concordat encompasses the whole University, and the review was carried out as a collaborative undertaking. Led by the Centre for Academic Leadership & Development, the review process incorporated contributions from HR, Research & Enterprise Services, Organisational Development and Information Services.

2016: We successfully retained our HR Excellence in Research Award at the 6-year review stage, reflecting back on the progress made against the 2014-2018 Action Plan so far (below), and looking forward, with a new Action Plan for 2016-2018.

2018: Our submission for the 8 year External Review process is attached below. This includes our Overview Report, 2016-18 Action plan with review of progress and 2018-10 action plan.  In addition there are two case studies outlining our work on enhancing our communication and consultation with the RA community and the success of our Public Engagement activities.

For further information on the “HR Excellence in Research” award or on the Heriot-Watt Concordat action plan, please contact