HR Excellence in Research

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:

We continue to hold the award as a result of a number of initiatives designed to improve career development support for our researchers. These include:

  • improvements in the management of fixed-term contracts
  • new promotional procedures for researchers
  • enhanced career support and leadership development for researchers through HR and the Reserach Futures Academy (formerly the Centre for Academic Leadership and Development)
  • improved knowledge exchange support through initiatives such as Converge Challenge and HW Engage.

Latest review

Our submission for the 10-year internal review process is below. This includes 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

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.

Our approach includes ongoing evaluation and benchmarking, and also considers the incorporation of the Chapter B11 of the UK Quality Code.

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

Key information

Research Futures