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HR Excellence in Research Award

A UK-wide process enables UK higher education institutions to gain the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award, which acknowledges their alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. The UK process incorporates both the ‘QAA Quality Code for Higher Education - Chapter B11: Research Degrees’ and the ‘Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers’ to enable institutions that have published Concordat implementation plans to gain the HR Excellence in Research Award. The UK approach includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.

"The application for the HR Excellence in Research Award demonstrates our commitment to supporting the career development of researchers at the University of Suffolk and our desire to be nationally and internationally recognised for our research and enterprise outputs.  I think the University of Suffolk is a great place to come and develop an academic profile.  This is an institution with a demonstrable commitment to the local community, to impact and knowledge exchange.  We want all of our researchers, whatever their career stage, to have an excellent experience of working here and to contribute to the development of this new University." Stef Thorne, Head of Research and Enterprise Services. 

"I have really enjoyed working closely with our researchers to understand their needs and see what we can do to improve their experience here at the University of Suffolk and more broadly across the sector.  The experience has been insightful and I am looking forward to the next stage." Andreea Tocca, Research Development Manager.

What is the Award?

A UK wide process enabling institutions to gain the European Commission’s ‘HR Excellence in Research’ badge which acknowledges alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for recruitment.

The University has to demonstrate how it is implementing the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. The Concordat was created in 1996, revised in 2007 and is signed by a number of bodies, including University Research Councils and Universities UK.

Research and Enterprise Services has conducted a gap analysis in 2015/16 and 2016/17 and worked with researchers across the institution to identify actions to ensure the University of Suffolk not only meets the expectations of the Concordat but really understands the development needs of our research community and can provide an excellent working environment.

The University has recently applied for the award and further details of the outcome will be available here. If you would like to understand more about the Award and how you can get involved please contact

University of Suffolk HR Excellence in Research Award

The University of Suffolk successfully gained the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission in June 2017. 

The following documents reviews our progress since 2017 and outlines our vision and the practical actions that demonstrate our continued commitment to supporting and developing our research staff.  These documents will also form our submission in July 2019.

Key documents in the 2 Year review process are:

If you have any comments or feedback on the plan, or would like to be more involved in our work, please contact Professor Emma Bond, Director of Research, or Andreea Tocca, Research Development Manager at

Previous documents relating to the initial submission in 2017

What had the University done to prepare the initial application?

  • Formed a working group led by Research and Enterprise Services to progress the award application
  • Raised awareness of the Concordat across the University at Researcher Development events and workshops
  • Held three focus groups with academic staff in 2015/16 to discuss the Concordat and the extent of our alignment
  • Presented and discussed the Concordat and the award process at a number of institutional, Faculty and departmental committees
  • Reviewed all policies and procedures related to the support of researchers
  • Analysed responses within the annual staff survey
  • Developed a gap analysis
  • Developed an action plan to respond to the gap analysis
  • Formed a Concordat Implementation Group to take the action plan forward
  • Supporting the Concordat
  • Researcher Development Programme to support the development of researchers at UoS
  • Submitted the application in March 2017.

If you wish to read more about the external context then please use the following links:

University of Suffolk achieves European HR Excellence in Research Award

It has been announced the University of Suffolk has achieved the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award. View the full press release or find out more about the award.

There are 348 institutions in total with the Award (98 UK and 250 other European) institutions who have gained the recognition.  The award acknowledges that institutions have completed a gap analysis of their existing policies and practice against the Concordat, developed a robust action plan for implementation, and taken into account the views of researchers.

About Vitae

Vitae are an international programme led and managed by CRAC, a not-for-profit registered UK charity dedicated to active career learning and development. Working since 1968, when they ran their first project to support transitions of doctoral researchers to industry, Vitae has great expertise at enhancing the skills and career impact of researchers locally, within a global context.

They launched a membership programme in January 2015. They now work all over the world in partnership with researchers, higher education institutions, research organisations, research funders and other organisations with a stake in realising the potential of researchers. View Vitae member organisations.

The Concordat Strategy Group is responsible for promoting the implementation of the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers in universities and research institutions across the UK.

About CRAC

CRAC: The Career Development Organisation is an independent, charitable organisation with a core aim to promote and encourage career development and active career-related learning. CRAC manages a number of innovative programmes within education and skills development sector.