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Diamond has achieved the HR Excellence in Research Award, demonstrating a long-term commitment to the career development of researchers. Diamond has developed an ambitious action plan to support and enhance its ongoing commitments to career development and diversity. Its impact will be felt in key areas such as the recruitment, development and retention of staff and will help to grow the UK's pool of scientific talent.
Talented young people can be deterred from embarking on a career in science by the lack of job security, as early career researchers often spend years moving between short-term 'post-doc' positions, on fixed-term contracts. They may not be given the opportunity to work on their own research or to develop transferable skills. At a time in their lives when they are ready to settle down and start families, many researchers (particularly women) opt for more stable careers outside of science, rather than continue the search for the 'holy grail' of permanent research positions.
The UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers is an agreement between funders and employers of research staff to improve the employment and support for researchers and research careers in UK Institutions. It sets out clear standards that research staff can expect from the institution that employs them, as well as their responsibilities as researchers.
Diamond has committed to implement the Concordat Principles. To gain the HR Excellence in Research Award, Diamond has completed a 'gap analysis' against the Concordat Principles, of current policies and practices and created a detailed action plan to address the gaps. Diamond is committed to evaluating progress through self-assessment every two years, and there will be an external evaluation every four years.
Diamond’s aims are to promote training and career development opportunities for scientists and the highest standards in equality (also reflected in Diamond's Athena SWAN Award).
The achievement of the HR Excellence in Research Award is the result of several years of hard work and commitment from Diamond staff, led by Scientific Training and Education Coordinator Steve Collins and Organisational Development Manager Kay Reynolds.
As Steve explains,
Diamond is a relatively young institution, but its world-class facilities are a beacon for scientists. We want to ensure that, going forward, Diamond remains a world-class working environment.
Items on Diamond's action plan include: developing scientific career pathways, implementing a new appraisal system with an explicit link to training requirements, and developing and promoting a Research Leave programme to give scientists time to reconnect to their research activities.
It's a big To-Do list, and work is already underway. Kay says that the priority is:
To level the playing field for all researchers, regardless of contract type or job role. We're committed to ensuring that all researchers, including those on fixed-term contracts find working at Diamond a positive and enjoyable experience and that the skills and expertise they gain here are highly beneficial to their future careers at Diamond, and to the wider scientific community'
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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