Current and archive information for research development Current and archive information for research development

The Research Excellence Framework

  • The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and was completed in 2014.
  • The REF was undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The exercise was managed by the REF team based at HEFCE and overseen by the REF Steering Group, consisting of representatives of the four funding bodies.

The Concordat

  • The Concordat to support the Career Development of Researchers sets out the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders. It aims to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK and to improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy.
  • The Concordat consists of a set of key principles for the future support and management of research careers, and under each principle, an explanation of how it may be embedded into institutional practice


Research Councils UK (RCUK)


Vitae: realising the potential of researchers

  • Vitae is a national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes. It encompasses UKGRAD and UKHERD, and is funded by the Research Councils.   It is managed by CRAC (The Career Research and Advisory Centre).
  • Vitae have developed a series of briefings about the Concordat which explore emerging themes and highlight practical examples of how it can be implemented by all stakeholders. In 2008 they developed a Vitae Briefing for Research Staff.
  • The impact and evaluation of researcher development and training: 2 years on was presented at the Vitae Conference in 2010.
  • Vitae offer a number of resources and events specifically for research staff, including career stories and statistics on employment destinations.
  • Every year Vitae runs a national programme of courses and events for doctoral researchers and research staff. These courses are open to all researchers and have previously been funded by the Research Councils as part of the Vitae programme.
  • Vitae offer resources on managing a career within or outside academia.
  • Their range of Researcher Booklets are also a useful resource. There are currently seven: The Enterprising Researcher, The Informed Researcher, The Leading Researcher, The Engaging Researcher, The Career-wise Researcher, The Creative Researcher, and The Balanced Researcher.
  • Staff in RS Connect are closely involved with initiatives coming from Vitae and the Research Councils.


Researcher Development Framework (RDF)

  • The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a major new approach to researcher development, which aims to enhance the capacity to build the UK workforce, develop world-class researchers and build the UK research base.
  • The RDF makes an important contribution to achieving the aims of the UK Concordat to support the Career Development of researchers.
  • The RDF describes the knowledge, behaviours and attitudes of researchers and encourages them to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development. Its aim is to help Researchers plan, promote and support their personal, professional and career development in higher education.
  • The CPD online tool, the RDF Professional Development Planner, uses Microsoft Excel software and requires macros to be 'enabled' before it can be used.  Vitae have also produced a screencast, which gives you guidance on how to get the most out of this tool.


UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA)

  •  The UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA) was formed in 2010 with the support of Vitae to provide a national voice for research staff that informs institutions, funders, and governments, about the most effective ways to support them in achieving their career aspirations. Ultimately, the vision is to create a sustainable national research staff association with international reach, and one that is supported by research staff across the UK.
  • UKRSA is comprised of a small advisory group of research staff and representatives from other organisations. The advisory group is keen to support diverse groupings of research staff across the sector in developing their careers (both within and outside academia), and so has made it a priority to form strong links with research staff groups in institutions and those attached to learned societies, as well as individual members of research staff. Through this mechanism they can represent your views to those who define research policy in the UK.
  • During 2011 UKRSA will continue to be represented in a range of ways across the sector, through involvement in local RSAs and their interactions with their institutions and in national advisory and steering groups.
  • If you would like to keep in touch with news from UKRSA, then you can find them on Facebook (search for UKRSA), Twitter @UKRSAVitae and LinkedIn (search for UKRSA), and there is also a UKRSA website. If you want to get a little more involved then drop the UKRSA an email at


Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) and Principle Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS)

  • UEA participated in both these surveys in 2013.
  • Results from 2011 are out now:
  • PIRLS 2011 and CROS 2011

Useful information resources can be found at: CRAC, Vitae and RCUK


Careers in Research Online Survey 2009

In 2009 just over 20% of UEA Research Staff participated in the national CROS survey, sharing their experiences of being a researcher in UK HE. The results are used by UEA to monitor the implementation of the Research Staff code and to inform decision making relating to the employment, training and career development of research staff.    The UEA Research Staff Working Group is mapping the UEA CROS results against the principles of the 2008 Concordat, to identify specific areas for improving implementation.  View the analysis of aggregated UK results (for the 51 participating HEIs).  View CROS 2009 UEA~UK results Comparison (760KB)