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Research Culture Strategy

Developing a positive research culture is a key priority for us and is central to our research strategy. We want Warwick to be the best place to do research, where our research community can feel happy, creative and productive, and where the research itself is open and sound.

Our research culture initiatives are dedicated to fostering an inclusive, collegiate and dynamic research environment where all researchers and research enablers can be themselves and thrive to produce the best quality research.

Our work spans several themes:

  • Inclusive Research Communities

  • Well-Being of Researchers and Research Enablers

  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

  • Research and Research Support Careers

  • Researcher Development & Training

  • Creative Research Environment

  • Research Integrity

  • Open Research

Our current initiatives in these areas can be seen below.

Inclusive Research Communities

We are building inclusive research communities and establishing ways to ensure the voices and opinions of researchers and research enablers are heard and influence decision making.

  • Research Culture Forum: We’ve established a Research Culture Forum which reports into our University Research Committee, giving it visibility at the highest level. This group brings together researchers at all levels, including early career researchers, research students and technical staff, with Professional Services Staff from HR, Social Inclusion and Research Support, ensuring voices from all stakeholders are heard and discussed, to share best practice and influence developments in this area.

  • Research Culture Projects: We believe that enhancing research culture is a community effort and have encouraged creative ideas and initiatives from a broad spectrum of the research community. We have used funding from Research England to support a series of research culture projects.

  • Culture Survey: We launched an institutional culture survey in May 2022, followed by a series of focus groups, to collate feedback on belonging and inclusion, to identify what we are doing well, and where we need to make improvements.

  • Warwick Values: We are consulting across our varied communities, including our research communities, to develop a set of behavioural values that are inspiring and workable, with a view to all staff and students living the new set of values going forward.

  • Technicians Commitment: Our work to improve well-being and career development for technicians is sector leading. We are joint lead on the Midland Innovation’s TALENT Link opens in a new windowprogramme and have signed up to the Technician’s Commitment, which ensures greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines.

Researcher well-being

We are committed to appointing and developing the world's best researchers and nurturing talent in a highly supportive environment.

  • Bullying and harassment: We know that there are issues with regards to supervisor bullying and are looking to tackle these through value-based culture change. We have introduced training and are promoting value-led behaviours, empowering people to challenge inappropriate behaviour. We have established effective mechanisms for reporting bullying and harassment. We are ensuring that supervisors are adequately trained and knowledgeable, and that students have more than one supervisor to provide additional support. We are encouraging conversations at departmental level which explicitly set out expectations of acceptable behaviour in the research environment.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity of thought is critical for innovation and creativity and essential for successful research. Establishing diverse research teams are at the top of our priority list together with a culture that supports diversity in all aspects.

  • Strategy: Our recently launched Social Inclusion Strategy and refreshed People Strategy work together to increase diversity of research staff and students, ensuring they have the right skills and are supported to achieve their potential.

  • Recognition: We have developed an accessible and inclusive academic promotions process. We showcase the work and celebrate the ‘good news stories’ of all levels of researcher across all disciplines, ensuring we highlight our diversity and measure success through a wide range of measures.

  • Leadership and development: We believe in and promote inclusive leadership and expect our leaders to act within a behavioural framework. ED&I is embedded into our performance management processes and all staff are expected to complete training on ‘Warwick Principles and Social Inclusion’. We have launched a leadership development initiative, the INspire programme, to encourage future leaders from wide diversity groups. We aim to eliminate both the gender and ethnic pay gap by 2030 and to increase gender and ethnic minority representation at senior levels.

Research Careers

We want Warwick to be the best place at which to work and do research and are demonstrating our commitment through our policies and practices.

  • Fixed term contracts: We recognise that fixed term contracts are challenging for researchers and impact significantly on their well-being and are investigating options for more longer-term research posts.

  • Academic Returners Fellowship: We are committed to addressing the recruitment and retention of excellent academic talent and recognise that absence due to maternity/adoption/extended paternity and long-term parental leave can have a detrimental impact on research programmes and subsequent publications. We therefore provide central ‘buy-out’ funds for the teaching and administrative duties for those on full academic contracts, for between six or twelve months, to enable staff to fully concentrate on their research work upon returning from long term leave.

Researcher Development & Training

We have improved our training and development provision, tailoring it to the research community, with particular emphasis on early career researchers, to launch the global research stars of tomorrow.

  • Our Researcher Development programme supports Warwick PGRs across all stages of research and disciplines. The programme is co-designed with Warwick PGRs and offers development in Methodologies, Writing, Careers, Productivity and well-being. The RDO programme enables PGRs to get the best out of their time at Warwick, and the best out of themselves.

  • Tailored provision: We have developed a researcher specific induction and a Research Leadership training programme.

  • Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) Development Framework: We have developed a career development framework, cultivating an environment where each ESR is enabled and empowered to make confident and informed decisions about their professional progression, and the direction and development of their research interests.

  • Empowering ECRs: Our Institute of Advanced Study organises a twice-weekly flagship training and events programme designed to help postdoctoral researchers establish a research career, network, and develop creative ideas.

Creative Research Environment

We are fostering an environment in which researchers can be creative and productive, engaging in fulfilling work and being the best they can be.

  • Removing Administrative Barriers: We create a highly productive research environment by tightly coordinating work by professional services departments supporting researchers. We have established a Research Operations Group, which brings together departments supporting research to agree joined-up approaches to overcome challenges and barriers, and to develop new and innovative approaches.

  • Interdisciplinary Research: Creative thinking often comes out of interdisciplinary research synergy. We encourage all our researchers to engage in interdisciplinary research making cross-discipline collaborations accessible to all and support this through our Global Research Priorities programme and our network of interdisciplinary research centres.

Research Integrity

We are strongly committed to ensuring the highest standards in the conduct of all research and recognise our obligations to uphold the integrity of academic research, complying with the ‘Concordat to Support Research Integrity.’

  • Research Ethics: We have a robust research ethics approval process, supported by our expert and dedicated research ethics committees, and underpinned by constantly evolving systems and processes.

  • Training: We have mandated research integrity training for all our staff and students undertaking research, covering good research conduct, researcher responsibilities, and best practice and offer a high level of support to all our researchers in this area.

  • Responsible Innovation: We are developing our knowledge of the responsible innovation agenda through training and plan to expand and communicate this knowledge to the wider academy, to ensure responsible innovation is incorporated into research plans.

Open Research

We are committed to implementing fair and responsible approaches to research to ensure transparency and accessibility for.

  • Open Research Group: We have established the Open Research Group as a formally constituted sub-committee of the University Research Committee, to lead on developing open research strategies and supporting processes and to promote good practice.

  • Citizen-led research: We encourage our researchers to undertake the co-creation of research with non-academic stakeholders and are committed to engaging the public with our research, through the Warwick Institute of Engagement.