Transforming research culture
We are making our university a more creative, inclusive, honest and open place to carry out research.
Our Transforming Research Culture Plan aims to ensure that a positive research culture is embedded in our research and innovation portfolio. It will bring together individuals working to enhance culture across the university and increase visibility and effectiveness in delivering change.
The proposal includes an increased focus on addressing systemic and structural issues affecting our researcher population. As well as, support for responsible research assessment, open research, integrity, and enhanced recognition for contributions of everyone involved in research.
Based on extensive consultation with colleagues involved in research from across the university, the proposal follows on from our involvement with the Wellcome Trust’s ‘Reimagine Research’ initiative. There have also been wide discussions with stakeholders across the institution and input through our first institutional research culture survey, carried out in 2022.
- recognises that positive culture is an ongoing process which requires strong buy-in from senior leaders, and from individuals across the university
- recognises that some issues will be more challenging and take time to address, in some cases also requiring action by external stakeholders
- brings together various commitments, action plans and strategies into one overarching research culture strategy
- is evidence-based and informed by the views of a wide range of stakeholders including senior leadership, researchers, as well as professional services colleagues supporting research
- is dynamic and agile and belongs to the entire research community
- shifts from a place of compliance to one of positive values-led behaviours
How we will achieve this
The plan aligns to four strategic priorities and related activities. The list below is not exclusive.
Strategy and governance
We have created an integrated research culture action plan, which will:
- be implemented through the Research Culture Development Group, and task and finish groups dedicated to:
- Policies and procedures
- Training and support
- Visibility, recognition and reward
- continue to garner input from researchers and those that support research from across the university, with a second wave of our research culture survey scheduled for 2025
- report to the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Innovation and Enterprise and University Executive Board with updates on progress.
Policies and procedures
We will introduce:
- guiding principles for research culture to be publicised and disseminated to all schools, research teams and units
- review processes and procedures that support career development, equality, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism, and open and honest research
- a commitment to a positive research culture that is integrated into application processes for all internal funding schemes.
Training and support
We will carry out reviews on current processes and ensure that:
- our training and support programmes are fit-for-purpose and promote positive research culture practices
- our researchers across the institution can access appropriate training and career development opportunities, aligned to our commitment to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.
Visibility, recognition and reward
To ensure the recognition of contributions for everyone involved in research, we will:
- work to embed reward and recognition for positive research culture practice across promotions and hiring practices
- further develop our work on responsible research assessment
- extend ECR involvement in research decision-making
- promote and value career paths and opportunities for individuals outside of the ‘teaching and research’ pathway who play a vital role in ‘team research’.
Research culture survey
The research culture survey was open to all staff and postgraduate researchers and aimed to capture the experience of everyone involved in research at the university.
The Research Culture Development Group will consider how the survey's findings can help inform and update the priorities of our research culture action plan.
Our Research Culture Development Group, chaired by Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Dean of Research Environment and Culture, will be responsible for implementing the research culture action plan.