Policy Background

National policy

To ensure high standards in approaches to researcher careers and mobility a series of specific national initiatives have been taken, including:

  • The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) Quality Code sets out principles for assuring and enhancing academic quality - B11: Research degrees was published in 2012.
  • The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (The Concordat) was launched in 2008 and was signed by (among others) the funding bodies, research councils and Universities UK (on behalf of higher education institutions). The Concordat is online and the important seven principles are clearly stated.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) website - www.bis.gov.uk - is a good source of background information. It includes higher education and researcher sections.

Other national initiatives

There are many but the important ones include the Thrift Review and the Research Council UK's aims. The European Commission has also produced policy in this area.

The Thrift Review covers issues relating to research careers.

In 2009, the UK National Action Plan on researcher careers and mobility has been made available at www.britishcouncil.org/new/PageFiles/7656/UK%20National%20Action%20Plan.pdf

Research Councils UK has commissioned a Doctoral Impact and Career Tracking Study to examine the economic impact of doctoral training with PhD graduates over 7 years on from completing their studies. The aim is to better understand the career pathways of doctoral graduates over the medium to long term, their impact in employment, and how their skills contribute to innovation and the competitiveness of the UK. It is being carried out in partnership with the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) and Sheffield University - Doctoral Impact and Career Tracking Study.

For a wider European scale, the European Commission's Charter for Researchers shows support for researcher career development opportunities in the European Research Area.

Background information about the European Science Foundation and its recent report about science careers in Europe is available at www.esf.org/activities/mo-fora/research-careers.html

The Researchers' Survival Guide from the University and College Union is thorough in detailing your duties and rights and those of your employer. The cartoons are excellent too.

Things to do now

Follow us

  • Careers Centre
    Carrington Building
    Reading RG6 6UA
  • Email:
  • Telephone:
    +44 (0)118 378 8359

Page navigation


Search Form

A-Z lists