Research cultures

Research Cultures action plan.

Research sits at the core of the University’s mission. It forms one of the four pillars in our Strategy 2030 and we use research to advance knowledge and change the world for the better. As demonstrated in our recent Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF) ranking, we are extremely successful in generating knowledge that delivers impact.  

This ability to deliver excellent research depends on our research culture. This includes values, expectations and behaviours that shape how we support, deliver and communicate outcomes. It’s our responsibility as an institution to foster a culture where researchers are encouraged, supported and recognised appropriately.  

The University’s Research Cultures Action Plan has been developed with this in mind and realises our commitment to foster an environment where research, researchers, and those who support them, can thrive.

5 Underpinning Values

The Action Plan is underpinned by a set of core values that guide all our research activities:  

  • Citizenship 
  • Wellbeing 
  • Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)  
  • Ethics and integrity  
  • Learning 

5 Drivers for Change

The Action Plan aims to realise these values through practical measures across several drivers for change:

  • Career pathways and progression
  • Targeted support
  • Responsible research
  • Communication & engagement
  • Governance & data

The research community addressed in the Action Plan encompasses all those involved in research, from undergraduates gaining their first experience of research, to established academics leading in their field, and those providing the services and support that enable a flourishing research environment.

We’re delighted to publish our Research Cultures Action Plan, which sets out a set of ambitious goals, actions and investments to further develop research culture at The University of Edinburgh. Through the plan, we want to ensure our research is conducted in a collegial, supportive and enabling environment, which facilitates rigorous and responsible research.

While the University of Edinburgh already has a wide range of fantastic initiatives in place, this plan provides a much-needed framework for bringing together these strands, and addressing key gaps – for example around rewarding collegiality, enhancing leadership and recognition of our technicians and professional support colleagues, and addressing barriers to equality and diversity in research careers.

I am grateful to Professor Jane Hillston and members of the Research Cultures Working Group for developing this plan, which reflects a wide range of perspectives from across the research community in Edinburgh. It reflects the real appetite for change and I look forward to working with colleagues to take this forward.

Research Cultures Delivery Plan

The Research Cultures Delivery Plan was developed over summer 2023 by a short-life working group tasked with elaborating the actions set out in the Research Cultures Action Plan. Specifically, the Delivery Plan:

  • describes the specific measures that will be taken to deliver each of the 41 actions set out in the RCAP;
  • clarifies the timeframe for their delivery;
  • establishes which parts of the organisation are responsible for delivery.