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RCEN Research Culture Priorities

Co-creating challenges and framing research questions

The following list provides a snapshot of shared research culture challenges highlighted by network members.
The list is a starting point for solution-focused discussion, and is intended to be dynamic and change as the network grows and develops.


1. Research Leadership

Prioritising researcher development and improving leadership training to enable responsible supervision and mentoring of PGRs and ECRs eg. inclusive research management practices. Growing talent at the ECR stage.


2. Psychological Safety in Research

Putting a spotlight on research-specific mental health issues, creating spaces where everyone feels safe to speak up and where there are consequences for inappropriate behaviours such as bullying and harassment. Addressing the reliance on fixed term contracts in research and the impact of precarity on wellbeing. Growing the sense of researcher identity.


3. Responsible Research Culture Metrics

Accurate and meaningful assessment, using a holistic approach which takes into account, but also looks beyond, REF, concordats and other frameworks. Evaluation of research culture activities.


4. Inclusive Research Environments

Standardised approaches across institutions for inclusive recruitment and promotions, embedding EDI in research environments and practices. Creating a collegiate environment where everyone feels ambitious about their work and able to fulfill their potential. Support for disabled researchers and other minoritised groups.


5. Embedding Institutional Research Culture Change

Achieving actual change, with incentives for coordinated shifts in culture. Building research culture capacity (eg. through inductions) and memory within institutions. Increasing engagement with research culture activities.


6. Research Career Diversity and Mobility

Talent development and cross-sectoral research culture knowledge exchange.

Better management of career futures for researchers outside academia.


7. Recognition of Diverse Contributions to Research

Push for research to be seen as something done by diverse teams, not just our current definition of 'researchers', with appropriate rewards and recognition. Valuing researcher time and contributions (eg. through narrative CVs). Recognising discipline specific research culture (eg. in SHAPE subjects, since a lot of research culture discussion until now has been centered on STEM).


8. Open and Transparent Research

Establish awareness and engagement with high standards of research integrity at all levels (including emergent areas such as Trusted Research). Breaking down silos and creating a culture based on trust and communication. Rewarding open research practices.


9. Research Enabler Empowerment

Parity of esteem for research enabling roles, including Technicians, Research Managers, Administrators, Librarians and other professional research roles. Research Manager upskilling and career progression.


10. Collaborative Research Culture

Facilitating interdisciplinary, representative and equitable research. Developing positive and effective models for conducting team research.