Supporting our Researchers


Our research community is formed from individuals at all stages of their careers, from those who are well-established with notable track records, to individuals who are currently studying for a PhD and, sometimes moving from industry or professional practice into research within the academic space. Therefore, our training provision encourages the development of a range of technical and personal skills to accelerate the transition from novice to expert.

In 2010 we were one of a small group of institutions in the UK to first participate in and be awarded the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research award. This required us to demonstrate how our support and development of researchers aligned to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and enact a comprehensive action plan to ensure our activities would be effective.

Since receiving this first award, we have prioritised our researcher development programmes, regularly evaluating what we do and, on receipt of our award in 2018, are now one of only eight institutions who can retain this award for the maximum period of eight years.

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12 Year Review:

Previous Documents:


Salford’s Early to Experienced Career Research & Enterprise Training (SECRET) programme is aligned to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF), which sets out the knowledge, behaviours and skills of successful researchers. However, unlike its name, we don’t like to keep our training and development opportunities a secret. Both academics and students are encouraged to access:

  • Specialised and individualised training for all levels of research roles dependent on current skillset and professional goals
  • Technical workshops covering both quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Support for the development of grant applications through our Research Development team
  • Research impact workshops tailored to differing levels of experience - for those new to impact as an activity through to researchers with significant evidence of impact generation
  • Personalised support for research impact realisation over the long term through the guided development of an impact action plan
  • Leadership development within research active environments
  • Mentoring and confidence enhancement
  • Personal and professional development opportunities including coaching
  • Media engagement and communication training

On a regular basis, external consultants contribute to the delivery of aspects of our programme to provide a range of perspectives and training in specific key skills.

3-Year Personal Research Plans

Our commitment to our researchers leads us to rethink our approaches as we seek to provide innovative support systems aligning with individual needs and the University’s priorities. We regularly evaluate and learn from our actions, engaging with our staff community to ensure our programmes of activity are co-created with academic researchers.

From 2018/19 all academics who undertake research have been encouraged to complete a personal 3-year research plan in discussion with a research mentor or their Associate Dean for Research & Innovation. This captures key information regarding past achievements and allows for individuals to set ambitious goals for the future of their research programmes. Alongside research activities, academics have the opportunity to outline training and development requirements, which are then translated into individual support plans through alignment to our SECRET programme.

Equality and Diversity

Salford is committed to building a diverse community of researchers that is welcoming and inclusive to all. Our aim, as set out in our inclusion and diversity policy is:

“To create an inspirational, inclusive learning and working environment, celebrating the diversity of our University community in our everyday conversations”.

The University currently holds an Athena SWAN bronze institutional award, recognising the successful work we have done to embed effective governance for monitoring and evaluating our policies and practices around gender equality. We are a member of the Race Equality Charter, a long-standing member of Stonewall and a Stonewall Diversity Champion, and have been accredited as a ‘Disability Confident’ employer for our actions around the recruitment and retention of disabled job seekers.

We are conscious to approach all new processes with an inclusive mindset, including our preparations for the Research Excellence Framework (REF). REF is a national research assessment administered every 6-7 years by the UK government, the results of which determine the allocation of a proportion of public funds for research. The REF 2021 guidance places an increased priority on equality, diversity and inclusivity and we have used this opportunity to review our support systems for researchers and improve our evaluation of research activities.

Read about our inclusive approach to REF2021