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Northumbria University retains HR Excellence in Research Award

31st August 2023

Northumbria is one of a select number of UK institutions to have retained the HR Excellence in Research (HREiR) Award, which it has now held for a decade.

The HREiR award is a voluntary initiative which recognises the University’s commitment to improving working conditions and providing career development opportunities for research staff.

Northumbria was first awarded this international accolade in 2013 and has since had this status reconfirmed five times, most recently at the ten-year review point this year.  

Awarded by the European Commission and managed in the UK by Vitae, the initiative is an important mechanism for implementing the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. It is designed both to ensure that Europe is an appealing place for researchers from all over the globe, and to improve the quality and impact of research from universities which will in turn benefit society and the economy.

Sustained progress at Northumbria was demonstrated in the results from the Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), having recorded the biggest rise in research power ranking of any UK university.

Northumbria’s research power ranking rose to 23rd, having previously risen to 50th in 2014 from 80th in 2008, making the University the sector’s largest riser in research power ranking for the second time. 

Professor Louise Bracken, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at Northumbria said: ‘In retaining our HREiR Award, Northumbria has demonstrated its commitment to the career development of our researchers and to providing an excellent culture in which all those involved in research can thrive.

“Over the last two years the work to enable the Researcher Development Concordat principles has taken place as part of our drive to create a supportive, inclusive, ambitious, diverse research culture that helps all our researchers and those enabling and supporting research, to flourish. Our emerging Research Culture Action Plan, currently under consultation, will set out Northumbria’s commitment to supporting and sustaining an inclusive and healthy research culture.”

Vitae is an acknowledged global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers and is managed by CRAC: the Career Development Organisation. CRAC provides research intelligence and innovation for those who support career development for people of all ages and in all sectors, working in partnership with government agencies, education organisations and providers, and employers and professional bodies.

This award is closely linked to the Concordat agreement between Universities UK and Research Councils UK, which is designed to support the career development of researchers. Northumbria became a signatory of the Concordat in 2012 and reaffirmed its commitment to the latest update in March 2020.

The University’s Concordat Action Plan is used to monitor progress and success in achieving both the principles of the UK Concordat and the principles of the European Charter for Researchers.

Find out more about the HR Excellence in Research award and the Northumbria’s commitment to the Concordat to support the career development of researchers.

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REF 2021

Northumbria has submitted 1096 staff across thirteen Units of Assessment (UoA) to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. This submission reflects our research across four Faculties and nineteen Departments, incorporating traditional disciplines, such as English and Engineering, modern disciplines, such as Business and Design, and professional disciplines, such as Architecture and Nursing.

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