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Researcher Development for Staff

Northumbria University provides a range of training and development opportunities to research staff as detailed below. Additional research resources are available in our staff intranet site.

Please direct any queries relating to Researcher Development for staff to

Research and Innovation Services design and deliver a wide range of training and development sessions to support academic research staff at any stage of their career.

Our Research Development Team deliver our three development programmes, as well as many training events and interactive sessions throughout the year, which are all designed to equip academic staff with tools and knowledge to achieve their vision of research funding success. For more information please take a look at our intranet pages (for internal staff only)

We also contribute to HR's Learning and Development provision by running sessions about research impact, Intellectual Property and commercialisation as well as inductions for new staff. For more information and to register for these events, please visit their pages here (for internal staff only).

Northumbria has access to the Nature Masterclass online course in Scientific Writing and Publishing. The course is taught by editors from the Nature Research journals and covers the entire scientific publishing process – from writing a paper to publication. Access is available to all researchers and staff members at Northumbria.. Note that the course focuses on research within the natural sciences.

Registering for the first time:

  1. Go to the Nature Masterclasses website, visit the Login page, and select ‘Log in with your institutional credentials’.
  2. Select Northumbria in 'institution name'
  3. Log in using your normal institutional login details. (The first time you log in you’ll be asked to verify your email as a final step)

Please note:

  • Please do not register on Nature Masterclasses. If you register with your institutional email, you may experience an error when you log in via our institution.
  • The first time you access the online course, you’ll be asked to enter a few details, such as your name and our institution name.

We recently held an online launch event presented by Nature - click here to view the slides from this event. To view an introductory video about the Nature Masterclasses click here (the video is embedded in a PowerPoint slide - to view, hover over the red image in the middle of the slide and a 'play' icon should appear at the bottom of the image). Please note that both the presentation and video are large files and may take a while to download.

If you experience any issues in accessing the training or the slides/video, please contact

Early career researchers form a vital part of the academic community at Northumbria. Research and Innovation Services supports them by providing a wide range of advice, resources and training opportunities, to support them in their professional and career development, so that they can increase their research skills and become world-class researchers.

The Northumbria University Early Career Researchers Forum provides an informal opportunity for academics and final stage PhD students in the formative stages of their research careers – regardless of any formal definition of an 'ECR' – to meet, network, discuss research challenges and opportunities, share experiences and advocate for specific research support and events at the University.

If you are a Northumbria member of staff who identifies as an ECR, why not join our distribution list? You will get to hear about initiatives, funding opportunities and events specifically for ECRs. To join the distribution list email

Check out the ECR Hub on the staff intranet for information about networking, training and development, funding opportunities and practical guides as well as useful information on research related policy.

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, commonly known as the Researcher Development Concordat, is an agreement between stakeholders to improve the employment and support for researchers and researcher careers in higher education in the UK. It has evolved a great deal since its inception in 1996, the most recent updates being in late 2019. Northumbria became a signatory of the Concordat in 2012, and in March 2020 we reaffirmed our commitment to the latest update via a letter from our Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Wathey CBE. See our Annual Report on progress against the Condordat's principles. 

The Researcher Development Concordat sets out three clear principles of environment and culture, employment, and professional and career development that it expects signatories to adhere to. The principles are underpinned by obligations for the four key stakeholder groups, funders, institutions, researchers and managers of researchers, to realise the aims of the Concordat.

At Northumbria the Researcher Development Strategy Group is co-Chaired by the PVC Research and the Director of Human Resources. The Terms of Reference can be viewed here. This group is responsible for updating the current Action Plan to ensure alignment with the additional requirements and responsibilities set out in the updated 2019 Concordat. This Action Plan also serves as our self-assessment tool for the HR Excellence in Research Award, please see below for more information on the award.

Northumbria University is fully committed to achieving the principles of the Concordat. Our first Action Plan 2016-2018 was published in 2016. Our current Action Plan 2023-26 shows the plans we have in place to improve that support further.

As a researcher at Northumbria University, the Concordat should have a positive impact on your career development and working conditions. It provides a clear overview of your responsibilities as a researcher and what you can expect from your employer and your funder.

UKRI have recently published their own action plan as signatories of the Concordat - full information is available on this UKRI webpage

What is the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award?

In order to ensure that the European Union is an attractive place for researchers, in 2005 the European Commission (EC) launched the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers which set out some principles for good working conditions for researchers. The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (also known as HRS4R) is the mechanism through which the EC aims to ensure that institutions are improving working conditions for researchers across Europe as set out in the European Charter and Code. The strategy has a 5 step implementation process and when an institution completes all 5 steps it achieves the HR Excellence in Research Award.

Northumbria received the award in January 2013 for its commitment to supporting researchers throughout their careers and aligning with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their recruitment.

More information on the award is available from Vitae, which works to meet society’s need for high-level skills and innovation through enabling the professional and career development of UK researchers. Vitae co-ordinates the HR Excellence in Research Award in the UK and supports institutions in applying for and maintaining their accreditation. 

HR Excellence in Research Award reviews

Institutions holding the HR Excellence in Research Award are required to undertake an internal self-assessment of their progress in achieving the actions/outcomes set out in their Action Plan at least once every two years.

Action Plans are monitored closely by the University’s Concordat working group which includes representation from Faculty Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Principal Investigators (PI), Early Career Researchers (ECR) and Contract Research Staff (CRS) from across the University’s four faculties. Membership also includes staff from Research and Business Services and Human Resources.

This assessment includes a report on our progress to date, explaining how the internal evaluation was undertaken, the achievements to date and the next steps and success measures for the next two years.

Ten year review 2023

In May 2023, Northumbria University published our HR Excellence in Research Award 10-year review:

Eight year review 2021

In May 2021, Northumbria University published our HR Excellence in Research Award 8-year review:

Six year review 2019

In May 2019, Northumbria University published our HR Excellence in Research Award 6-year review:

To support Principle 4 (Support in Career Development) of our action plan, we created a case study detailing our Research Development programmes for academic staff. You can read the case study here.

Four year review 2017

In January 2017, Northumbria University published our HR Excellence in Research Award 4-year review:

Two year review 2015

In January 2015, Northumbria University published our HR Excellence in Research Award 2-year review:

The Library's Researcher Development programme is designed to support the development of knowledge, core competencies and transferable skills, identified in Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework as the key elements to becoming a successful researcher. The programme is delivered throughout the academic year through a mix of workshops and topic specific drop-ins. Find out more in the Researcher Development area.

Researcher Development Framework - Vitae

Vitae is a national organisation which champions professional and career development for researchers. The Researcher Development Framework has been designed to help researchers evaluate and plan their professional development. Further support can be found on the website here

Through Northumbria University’s membership of Vitae, our research staff can access a range of practical support for personal and career development, information about employment rights, equality and diversity policies and useful publications. Register here to access all of the available resources.

Reseacr H-wheel

Health and Safety Guidance and Contact Information and Contact Information can be found at the following links:

Health and Safety webpage

Staff Intranet (internal link)

Risk Assessment Library (internal link)




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