Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

Heriot-Watt was among the first UK universities to receive the European Commission's award for HR Excellence in Research, in September 2010. The award recognised:

Our Concordat commitment

In 2020 we signed up to the revised Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. In signing up to the Researcher Development Concordat, organisations are committing to meeting the signatory responsibilities, as well as those laid out for the four stakeholder groups under the Concordat Principles of environment and culture, employment, and professional and career development.  The principles are underpinned by obligations for the four key stakeholder groups, funders, institutions, researchers and managers of researchers.

Our Concordat Action plan sets out the key priorities for addressing the aims of the Concordat and indicates high-level approaches for how we might implement them. Progress against this plan is reported to our governing body annually. Further details on the actions can be found in our Concordat Report in the section below.

HWU Concordat Action Plan 2021 

HWU Concordat Report 2021

HWU Concordat Report 2022

HWU Concordat Report 2022 – Appendix

HWU Concordat Report 2023

HWU Concordat Report 2023 – Appendix

HR Excellence in Research Review timeline

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 and Development, the review process incorporated contributions from HR, Research and 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: In autumn 2018, we successfully retained our HR Excellence in Research award following an external review of our progress.Our submission for the 8-year external review process is below. This includes our overview report, our 2016-18 action plan with review of progress, and our 2018-20 action plan. There are also two case studies outlining our work on enhancing our communication and consultation with the RA community and the success of our public engagement activities.

2020-21 Our submission for the HR Excellence in Research 10-year internal review was successful.  Below are details of the submission, including our overview report, our 2018-20 action plan with review of progress, and our 2020-22 action plan based on the revised Concordat:

HR Excellence in Research Report 2020

HR Excellence in Research Action Plan 2018-20

HR Excellence in Research Action Plan 2020-22

2023 Heriot-Watt University stepped down from the HR Excellence in Research award process to focus on its new Research Culture programme and plans, including the Concordat Action Plan.

For further information on the Heriot-Watt Research Culture programme or the Concordat action plan, please contact

Key information

Research Futures