RVC Concordat Action Plan and Implementation Strategy 2018 – 2020

Progress Update October 2019

To note: this action plan is reordered to align with the revised Concordat. The original actions remain and some further actions have been added in response to the latest surveys and the themes in the revised Concordat

Principle

Aims and Actions

Timescale

Accountable

Measurement of completion or success

Progress

Environment and Culture Enhance awareness of vitae, concordat and RDF 
Offer termly Researcher events - include concordat awareness and support for researchers from the RVC By March 2020 HR and Research Office 70% have heard of ‘concordat to support the career development of researchers’ in the next CROS survey NEW
Continue to include information on the Concordat and the latest themes from this Action Plan in the ‘Experienced supervisor’ training sessions Ongoing HR  
Raise awareness of Research Integrity Concordat and disseminate best practice in reproducibility of research By March 2020 VPRI & Dominic Wells & RA Run seminars and elect RA Research Integrity/Reproducibility champion
Enhance confidence and increase  awareness of underrepresented role models in our research staff 
Set up a series of female and BAME STEM talks in liaison with internal research seminars July 2020 RA and EDC Monitoring of Athena SWAN action plan and achievement of the Silver award The first seminar has taken place.
Publicising support for welfare 
Ensure researchers are aware of support for their welfare by publicising the availability of departmental and support staff leads, the employee assistance programme, the employee relations lead, ‘dignity at work’ ambassadors, and the Researcher Association. Nov 2018   65% of respondents to the CROS/RA surveys are aware of support for their welfare

Metric achieved but action on-going

CROS survey: 64% have sufficient awareness; 31% know it exists but don’t know the detail

More ‘dignity at work ambassadors’ have recently been trained and the dignity at work policy is under revision.

Re-publicise the role and confidentiality of dignity at work advisors when new policy complete Dec 2020     NEW
Recognition of researchers by Professional support teams    
Ensure Researchers feel better recognised and valued by Professional support teams and promote the support and services available to researchers. Nov 2018 HR, IT and Research Office 65% of respondents to the CROS/RA survey feel valued by the RVC 

Achieved and on-going

CROS survey 2019: 79% agree that they are appreciated as a post-doc/Fellow/contract researcher at the RVC

Publish lead contacts/contract research champions in HR and Research Office and ensure the support advice is integrated between these two departments        
A comprehensive list of FAQs developed with clear signposting as to where to go for advice.       FAQs developed and on intranet and circulated
Events to be run to raise awareness of concordat and support available to researchers (see first action in this action plan).   Research Office and HR   The RA is continuing to work with various support departments to highlight researcher needs.
Action Plan update
In order to communicate to contract researchers that they are valued we will publish 6-monthly updates on the website so that people are aware of the good work that we are doing in line with the Action Plan. Ongoing RCWG Updates of progress against the action plan are clearly detailed on our website. Last update was longer than 6 months- next update in 6 months.
Review
Work to increase engagement in future CROS and PIRLS surveys using the learning from how the RA survey was promoted. Leading up to the next CROS Survey RCWG Achieve a >40% response rate in our next CROS survey

Achieved

44 respondents (58% of contract researchers) in the 2019 survey.

RCWG to review action plan in light of Equality and Diversity. Each RCWG meeting     NEW

Principle

Aims and Actions

Timescale

Accountable

Measurement of completion or success

Progress

Employment Recruitment Process 
               Recruitment data for researchers will be monitored for bias. June – annually RCWG Where trends or concerns are identified they will be addressed as part of the E+D local action plans. 

Ongoing

In our statistics for 2018-19 for researcher recruitment we found a lower proportion of BAME applicants were shortlisted as a proportion of those who applied- we are currently investigating this in more detail.  The data for gender and for disability are also monitored- see the Annual Equality Report on the RVC website.

Minimise bias in recruitment decisions
Promote new recruitment training for those with some experience but no previous/recent training. June 2019 HR A trained panel member on each recruitment board and 70% of panel members trained by July 2019

Achieved

We have trained 172 people via a refresher course. Our policy is now that all panel members should be trained. 

Enhance induction and probation
Bring the line manager induction process on line (see section 4iii for further detail and measures) Dec 2018 RA and VPRI 60% positive response regarding College induction in CROS/RA surveys

CROS survey 44% said Institution wide induction useful/v useful; 69% said local induction useful.

The local induction on-line system is ready for user acceptance testing.

Bi-monthly ‘meet the RA’ coffee sessions will be run and new starters invited to meet the RA and key College Research leads.       Meet the RA coffee sessions have begun – we are working to increase attendance
Recognition of teaching in Research
Further development of the TLiHE course to enhance the relevance of one to one project supervision and teaching. September   2019 VPRI/VPT/Vet Ed Dept Course evaluation shows improved relevance for contract researchers

Enhancement to the course to be implemented shortly

CROS survey indicated that some still felt undervalued for their contribution to teaching.

Investigate the nature of the teaching that researchers are doing; follow up with those who are teaching to see if they feel valued and if not what would change this December 2019 RA CROS 2021 shows 66% (of those who express an opinion) feel valued for their teaching activity

NEW

Focus groups have recently been held

Supporting Principal Investigators in management skills
Revisit the support to PIs to ensure themes coming through from Research surveys are better highlighted July 2020 RCWG 80% of PIs who participate in supervision, management and leadership development activities would recommend them to colleagues A session has been added to the experienced supervisor/PI training course –covering current themes for contract researchers
Review our development offering to PIs   HR  

PIRLS 2019 :61% have done development in the last 2 years in supervision, management or leadership (22 respondents)

92% of those who commented said they would recommend this to others

Involvement in RVC Decision making
RA to publicise when a committee is coming up and ask for any issues that researchers wish to raise; feedback to be circulated on what was discussed of relevance to researchers December 2019 and then ongoing RA  CROS 2021 survey response re feeling involved in decisions 60%

NEW

Email went out ahead of the latest committees- limited response.

Principle

Aims and Actions

Timescale

Accountable

Measurement of completion or success

Progress

Professional and Career Development             Enhance awareness that researchers are encouraged to engage in a minimum of 10 days of professional development
Set out RVC expectations in line with revised concordat expressing release time for development of ECRs and ideas for taking development forward April 2020 and ongoing HR 2021 CROSContinuous improvement towards the aspirational target of 10 plus days of development as reported in the CROS survey NEW
Supporting contract researchers in applying for Research Funding        
Promote a workshop specifically for contract researchers interested in writing fellowships. July 2019 VPRI/RO 50% of CROS/RA survey respondents feel supported in grant writing

Achieved

CROS 2019: 65% are positive about support for writing and submitting a grant proposal

Two training events targeted specifically at contract researchers have taken place and were well received. In addition several speakers referred to funding strategies as part of the Careers event ‘Shaping Successful Scientists’.

Enhancing the range of development on offer to researchers
Set up a mentoring scheme for researchers June 2020 HR Feedback following participation in the first cohort is positive. NEW
Career development communication
A quarterly newsletter for contract researchers will be trialled. It will cover career development opportunities, funding opportunities, points of contact within HR, Research Office and Researcher Association. Nov 2018 RA  Increasing engagement with the RA newsletter email CTR (click through rates) and more than 50% of survey respondents find the newsletter useful A quarterly newsletter is produced- we are now working on improving the engagement with the newsletter
Researcher Alumnus network
We will implement a new process to capture next destinations of alumni in order to build our Alumnus network and promote its utilization by contract researchers. Jan 2019 HR/RA/VPRI The alumnus network will grow to 25 researchers by 2020 and be seen as a useful resource by contract researchers

There are currently 12 alumni. We are reviewing the value of this network as the latest CROS showed limited use of the alumni.

We are investigating moving it onto a social media platform.

Improvement of Probation and Appraisal system to support development and career aspirations
Bring the induction/ probation system on-line to enable reminders, monitoring; linking probation directly to the on-line appraisal process so the transition is seamless Jan 2019 HR 2017/2018 Appraisal rates achieve a target of 60% with sustained or improved completion rates in future years.A 75% completion rate of on-line induction/probation forms by July 2020

Appraisal rate target achieved for 2017-18 – 68%

Appraisal rate target achieved for 2018-19 over 70%

CROS 2019: 64% have participated in appraisal/review in the past 2 years - others were in probation- a small minority were not invited.

Overall usefulness of appraisal: 71% said useful/very useful

Creation of a guidance document for PIs and researchers covering induction, probation, appraisal and feedback at the end of contract   HR (& RO)  

On-line induction project has been delayed.

This has been incorporated into the FAQs for researchers.

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