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HR Excellence Documents and Updates

This webpage is currently being updated to reflect the progress made during the 2016-2018 review period (November 2018).

The HR Excellence Working Group meets regularly to review and update the Action Plan, and the plan is revised following each meeting.

Concordat Consultation

The Concordat Consultation has now closed and is being reviewed, updates will be provided when available.


The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, to which the University is a signatory, is being updated and an online consultation is underway. 

The consultation presents a ten-year opportunity to shape the revisions that are needed to ensure the Concordat remains fit for the future. The Concordat can make a real difference in improving the research environment and career development for researchers.


Organisations and individuals, including all staff engaged in research, as well as those managing or supporting research and researchers are welcome to respond to the consultation.


Who’s responding?

Institutional response

The HR Excellence in Research Working Group will lead on the institutional response with input from key University stakeholder representatives.


School input to the institutional response

Academic Schools have been invited to feed into the institutional response, by providing their views on any of theof the 15 review recommendationswhich include:

  • Increasing support for researcher independence

  • Including new principles for principal investigators and funders

  • Broadening the definition of ‘researchers’ to include all staff engaged in research

  • Finding solutions to the problems of mobility, time-limited contracts and promotion

Heads of School are welcome to submit any comments they would like to make on behalf of their School, to Diane Munday (dcm24@) by end of day 9thDec 2018.


Individual responses

All those involved in research are invited to make an individual, direct response to the consultation.


Click here to complete the Concordat Consultation Survey by 7th Jan 2019


Supporting documents

If you wish to view the relevant documents which will provide a complete background to the Concordat Consultation, they are available on the Concordat Consultation Survey Homepage

Action Plans and Review Documents

All iterations of the Action Plan (from the original submission to the latest, 2018-2020 Action Plan, which forms part of the six year internal review)and the review documents are available here:

New and ongoing SMART objectives


New and ongoing SMART objectives (PDF, 3,965 KB)

Completed objectives


Completed objectives (PDF, 3,488 KB)

6 Year Review Action Plan (2018-20)

 HR Excellence 2018-2020 Action Plan May 2018 (PDF, 2,368 KB)

6 Year Review document
(May 2018)

HR Excellence 6 yr Review Report May 2018 (PDF, 554 KB) 

December 2017 update

HR Excellence Action Plan Update December 2017 (PDF, 2,721 KB)

October 2017 update

HR Excellence Action Plan Update October 2017 (PDF, 2,701 KB)

July 2017 update

HR Excellence Action Plan Update July 2017 (PDF, 2,319 KB)

May 2017 update

HR Excellence Action Plan Update May 2017 (PDF, 2,347 KB)

4 Year Review Action plan (2016-18)

 HR Excellence Action Plan 2016-18 (PDF, 532 KB)

4 Year Review document
(May 2016)

HR Excellence 4 Year Review Document May 2016 (PDF, 114 KB)

March 2016 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update March 2016 (Excel, 56 KB)

November 2015 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update November 2015 (Excel, 47 KB)

September 2015 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update September 2015 (Excel, 39 KB)

July 2015 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update July 2015 (Excel, 35 KB)

April 2015 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update April 2015 (Excel, 32 KB)

2 Year Review Action plan (May 2014)

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update May 2014 (Excel, 27 KB)

2 Year Review document
(May 2014)

 HR Excellence 2 year review document May 2014 (PDF, 320 KB)

April 2014 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update April 2014 (Excel, 28 KB)

February 2014 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update February 2014 (Excel, 23 KB)

October 2013 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update October 2013 (Excel, 21 KB)

May 2013 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update May 2013 (Excel, 21 KB)

February 2013 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update February 2013 (Excel, 19 KB)

August 2012 Update

 HR Excellence Action Plan Update August 2012 (Excel, 23 KB)

Original Action plan
( March 2012)

 HR Excellence Action Plan March 2012 (Excel, 18 KB)


Glossary of terms used in action plans (PDF, 261 KB)

Any additional feedback or comments about the project, please contact:

Principle 1

Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research.

Status: accomplished

Status: on-going

  • General statistics on recruitment application and success rates collated by protected characteristics. The statistics are being reviewed to ensure no discriminatory practices are being undertaken.

Principle 2

Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisation’s human resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

Status: accomplished

  • The establishment of a joint Careers Centre-CAPOD Careers Adviser post with a focus on Postdoctoral staff. This appointment has been publicised across the University through a number of channels.

  • The research staff web page and Research and Teaching staff forum web pages have been updated.

  • The successful result of our HR Excellence in Research submission was publicised across the University via a press release and the creation of these web pages.

  • NEW: Adding an update on the HR Excellence action plan as a standing item at each Research and Teaching Staff Forum.

  • Impact of the revised probation procedure reviewed by HR, and RDS embedded within it.

  • Creation of an online exit interview for staff, which includes a question about the revised probation process.

  • The number of Supervisor Update Sessions has increased to two per year.

  • The establishment of a bridging fund for researchers has been agreed.

  • A number of bespoke workshops for Principal Investigators were designed and delivered to help them manage their research teams.

  • The Good Research Practice Guide, reviewed and approved by the Research and Teaching Staff Forum following REF, has been uploaded to the University website and has been through 2 further revisions since March 2014 

  • The Q6 review process for research staff was revised, to incorporate a more robust process to record who has completed a review and to make it more relevant to Academic staff. This has been relaunched as the Academic Review and Development process

  • 'Aspire' e-newsletter for Academic Staff and PIs launched, to promote internal and external development opportunities.

Status: on-going

  • A further development of the Review and Development Scheme for staff is under consideration specifically for research staff

  • More information is being considered in relation to communicating how the redeployment system works.

  • New workshops for Principal Investigators are being developed and added to the Academic Staff Development Programme.

Principle 3

Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment.

Status: accomplished

  • University induction was restructured to include an afternoon session specifically for research and academic staff.

  • Postdoctoral researchers are offered a follow-up development surgery session with CAPOD/Careers within their first month post-induction.

  • A workshop for Research Staff in recruiting and supervising PGR students.

  • Creation and launch of a set of Careers Centre webpages specifically for Research Staff.

  • Benchmarking undertaking to compare how the University’s Researcher development provision compares to other sectors.

  • A new development programme for research staff, Passport to Research Futures, was launched in January 2014.

  • Establishment of regular networking events for research staff (PostDoc XChange) and students (Postgrad XChange) to help share stories of different research paths.

  • NEW: Establishment of a Career Planning workshop for research staff.

Status: on-going

  • NEW: Work begun by the Careers Centre to investigate establishing overseas contacts with the Research Staff community.

Principle 4

The importance of researchers’ personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career.

Status: accomplished

  • Established mentee networking events for mentees and mentors on the Cross-Institutional Early Career Academic mentoring scheme to enable participants to share experiences, good practice and develop networks.

  • Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework underpins development provision for research staff.

  • Q6 review process was revised and relaunched with an agreed timetable for completion in each School. The Academic Review and Development Scheme applies to academic staff and is more relevant to academic roles. The new Review and Development Scheme for support staff also now applies to research staff.

  • Investigations were undertaken into setting up a mentoring scheme where research staff mentor PGR students. This will not be happening in the near future but a new 'PGR to Postdoc Transition' workshop has been added to the GRADskills programme, which addresses the same issues, and PGR/Postdoc mixer events are also under consideration.

Status: on-going

  • A separate Research Review and Development Scheme is under consideration, specifically for research staff.

  • Online resources on leadership and management to be made available to Principal Investigators.

  • PGR/Postdoc mixer events are under consideration.

Principle 5

Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development, and lifelong learning.

Status: accomplished

  • The University’s online induction resources was updated to include links to the University’s Code of Practice for the Employment and Management of Research Staff and Good Research Practice Guide.

  • Creation and marketing of an ‘Introduction to the Knowledge Transfer’ workshop amongst research staff.

  • Establishment of networking sessions for Arts researchers to counter self-reported feelings of isolation.

  • Creation of Careers Centre webpages for research staff, including highlighting the issue of addressing skills gaps.

  • A successful Research Futures conference was held in the University in 2013 on the theme of ‘Public Engagement’.

  • Research staff invited to make use of a new pool of internal workplace coaches, trained via a coaching collaboration with University of Aberdeen which has resulted in the opportunity for cross-Institutional coaches.

  • The University’s Code of Practice for the Employment and Management of Research Staff and Good Research Practice Guide are being updated and link clearly to one another and can also be linked to from the relevant CAPOD webpages.

  • Investigations have been made into the feasibility of group mentoring. This is being piloted within the 'Passport to Research Futures' cohort and will be reviewed for wider application. 

  • A 'Research Staff Association' open session was held and there was interest in setting one up - further actions ongoing.

  • Investigations undertaken to explore options for recording of researcher CPD via PDMS or PURE. Neither can provide a solution, but we are offering subscriptions to the Vitae Researcher Development Planner tool to research students and to research staff, via the Passport to Research futures.

Status: on-going

  • Creating a web page for Principal Investigators to help signpost them to resources on recruitment and selection, budget management, staff performance and equality and diversity.

  • Continuing to explore the possibility of helping researchers establish a Research Staff Association.

  • Further investigations ongoing into a universal platform for recording CPD.

Principle 6

Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers. 

Status: accomplished

  • A new section was added to the University’s online induction resource for non-UK staff relocating to the University, containing information about different places of worship, cultural groups and services within Fife.

  • An updated version on the Online Diversity Training, which contained information about the Public Sector Equality duty, was promoted as part of REF.

  • The Recruitment and Selection workshop and guide was updated to be inclusive of the EHRC Equality Act statutory code of practice for employment.

  • Information about the Government’s new Single Equality scheme was published on the University web pages.

  • A new webpage was created to signposting ESOL courses for staff and the partners/families of different nationalities within community distance.

  • Awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze award in November 2012.

Status: on-going

  • The current Harassment and Bullying policy is under review to be inclusive of the EHRC Equality Act.

  • The effectiveness of family friendly policies are being carried out in Schools as part of Athena SWAN and gender equality charter mark work.

  • NEW: Work underway to achieve the gender equality charter mark.

  • NEW: Work underway to achieve the race equality charter mark.

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.

Status: accomplished

  • The University took part in the CROS/PIRLS survey in 2013, and created a number of additional actions for the HR Excellence team to progress as a result.

  • University achieved the Healthy Working Lives Bronze award in December 2014

Status: on-going

  • NEW: The University is working towards achieving the Healthy Working Lives Silver award

  • NEW: Guidance paper submitted to Schools undergoing Athena SWAN on good workload model practice.

  • NEW: Plans to be developed to increase engagement of research staff with next CROS/PIRLS survey in 2015 via more active engagement pre and post survey.

  • NEW: Work-life balance information and wellbeing resources to be targeted at Principal Investigators and research staff.


Jos Finer
Co-Director, Head of OD
T: 01334 46 2599

New and ongoing SMART objectives (PDF, 3,965 KB)

Completed objectives (PDF, 3,488 KB)

HR Excellence 2018-2020 Action Plan May 2018 (PDF, 2,368 KB)

HR Excellence 6 yr Review Report May 2018 (PDF, 554 KB)

Additional links

- Staff section (CAPOD)
- Research and Innovation Services
- Human Resources
- Vitae