University retains European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award

The University has been awarded an HR Excellence in Research Award to reflect Liverpool’s sustained commitment in supporting researchers and improving working conditions and career development opportunities for research staff.

This external recognition marks the University as ‘one of the best’ for research staff development, and also forms an important aspect of The University’s REF environment statements.

The HR Excellence in Research (HREinR) Award is an important mechanism for implementing the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. The principles form the framework for the support, development and management of researchers’ careers, and set out clear standards that research staff can expect from the University, as well as their responsibilities as researchers, working in a supportive and stimulating environment.

The award was confirmed unconditionally following a rigorous independent review process including submission and publication of evidence of how the principles of the Concordat have been met, a report of highlighted achievements in the period 2015-2019 and a forward looking action plan 2020-2022. The review also included a telephone interview with four representatives from the University, including a postdoctoral researcher.

In their commendation of the University’s support for research staff, the HR Excellence Review Panel stated: “This was an extremely impressive submission and an enjoyable phone call. The team are passionate about this agenda and have an enthusiasm underpinned by concrete plans that left us in no doubt that they will succeed in their ambitions. They are to be congratulated on their work to-date and we wish them every success. The Prosper project will be a valuable resource for the whole of the UK’s research community and we commend them on this activity.”

Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor, said, “This accolade is a great affirmation of the distinctive work that is done in Liverpool, further confirming the University as the go-to place for established and aspiring research leaders through the quality of our environment and support.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact, Professor Anthony Hollander, said: “I’m delighted that our research staff development work has been recognised through this important award which reinforces our institutional commitment to supporting our researchers, who are valued colleagues at the heart of realising our research ambitions at Liverpool. This successful outcome is based on the significant amount of work coordinated across the Concordat Steering Group. While the award is important, there is still work to be done and we will continue to work with researchers; PIs and support departments to ensure that collectively we provide the very best environment we can for our current and future researchers”

Dr Nicola Beesley,  Postdoctoral Research Associate Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences & Outgoing-Chair of the UoL RSA commented, “A number of members of the Research Staff Association sit on the Concordat Steering Group and were directly involved with collating the submission for the HREinR award. From a personal perspective, I am very proud to have contributed to both the submission and the panel interview: seeing words I had actually written used in the submission and representing the voice of researchers was a wonderful experience. The Award recognises all the work that the University is doing to support its research staff as guided by the Principles of the Concordat: it was both heartening and inspiring to see examples of good practice, in relation to supporting research staff, across all Faculties. Moving forward I hope we can keep this momentum going, showcase these examples, and extend them across the University.”

The benefits of the award for the University include:

  • Evidence of sustained commitment to the support and career development of researchers which supports Athena Swan, REF Environment and Fellowship submissions
  • Evidence of the supportive environment for researchers offered at local levels in addition to the central provision of career and professional development opportunities offered by the Academy

More information:

The University of Liverpool first gained the award in 2011 and is required to undertake regular internal and external reviews in order to retain it. More information about this external Award can be found here:

The Concordat Steering Group, chaired by Professor Anthony Hollander, continues to be a driver for change in relation to Liverpool’s commitment to research staff. In addition, The Academy’s wider range of events and interventions are aimed at developing the capabilities of all research staff to meet the University’s strategic focus.

For more information about the University’s HR Excellence in Research Award and the Concordat documentation, please visit: or contact