University of Glasgow launches initiatives to prioritise research culture

The University of Glasgow has made a commitment to identify the most effective means of developing and delivering a positive research culture. In doing so, it acknowledges that research success is not just about the success of individual researchers, but about the health of the research community.

Research culture video

Professor Miles Padgett, Vice Principal for Research, said: “A positive research culture is one in which colleagues are recognised for their contribution to a research activity, in which each contribution is valued, and in which there is an incentive to produce work of high quality that is underpinned by academic rigour.”

In a significant move, the University has changed its incentive and reward system. New academic promotion criteria reward collegiality in professorial staff. The criteria reward not only the achievement of the individual but how that individual has supported the careers of others.

These promotion criteria will also reward open research practices, to reward not only what research has been done, but how it was done.

The University will showcase examples of good practice through its Research Culture Awards, which will be announced in June These awards will celebrate individuals who are role models for promoting collegial behaviours among researchers.

The University has already been externally recognised for its existing initiatives: for example, for creating career pathways for specialist research scientists (including statisticians and bioinformaticians) and technologist roles, and for developing a leadership network to support good research practice. The University wishes to build on this profile.

A research culture survey will take place in the summer, so staff can tell us what is working and what future actions could be.

Professor Padgett added: “The University has committed itself to publishing an annual statement on research culture. This statement will describe our coherent set of institutional activities, policies and resources to support open research, fair approaches to research assessment, integrity, inclusiveness, team science, and diversity in researcher careers.”

These issues are at the top of the priority list for funders and government. However, the University’s motivation goes beyond the need for compliance. Instead, it recognises that good research thrives in an environment in which colleagues support each other to succeed.

He added: “I want Glasgow to be place to which researchers come to do excellent research. And I want them to choose Glasgow not only because of the quality of our research and of our infrastructure, but because of the fair and collegial culture that we have built.”


First published: 17 April 2019