Our research culture - researcher wellbeing
Imperial is committed to building a supportive, inclusive and highly motivated community across all disciplines, functions and activities to help us to attract and retain the talented and diverse staff and students we need to achieve our mission. This requires a supportive and considerate community based on diversity, mutual respect and a commitment to excellence. Our 2015-2020 Strategy highlights actions to achieve this including providing opportunities for staff to progress their careers, sharing more broadly the impact and achievements of our staff, and being mindful of the need to promote good mental health and a healthy work-life balance.
We have a number of different staff award schemes in place in order to recognise and celebrate the achievements and hard work of staff at the College. These awards are for all staff, at all levels, across research, teaching and professional services roles, who have shown outstanding commitment and demonstrated a valuable contribution to the College's mission.
As of January 2017, Imperial is a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). We are committed to ensuring that we will not consider journal-based metrics, such as journal impact factors (JIFs), in assessing the research achievements of staff or candidates for recruitment. Instead, we are determined to ensure that our procedures are grounded in appropriate evidence and fully contextualised alongside other contributions to the College’s educational and societal mission.
Health and wellbeing
The College provides health and wellbeing support and training to both staff and students. Since 2012, the mental health of the Imperial community has been a priority with its inclusion in the College Strategy and a College Commitment to Mental Health. The College wishes to create a culture in which staff who experience mental health difficulties can feel able to disclose these without fear of stigma and can be provided with all reasonable support to successfully cope with their work.
The College is a signatory of the ‘Mindful Employer Charter’ and the ‘Time to Change’ pledge. It is also working towards the Mental Health at Work Commitment. Imperial has a network of mental health first aiders that are available to support both staff and students and signpost sources of additional support. Over 300 have been trained since 2013 and we now have one mental health first aider per 100 members of the College, with a 2020 target of 1:50.
Underpinning HR support
Imperial’s HR won the prestigious HR Team of the Year Award at the national Universities Human Resources conference 2019, in recognition of the initiatives implemented as part of the 2015-20 strategy to improve the culture and behaviours of the College community. We have received accreditation and best practice awards from Working Families in recognition of our family friendly initiatives. The College has been committed to HR Excellence in Research since 2012, with submissions to the Award mapping against the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. Imperial is now fully endorsing and committed to implementing the European Charter and Code for Researchers.
There is a wide range of professional development opportunities for both staff and students at Imperial, and a dedicated team in the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre to support and train these researchers.
Our Graduate School’s award winning and sector leading provision delivers professional development opportunities which ensure students develop skills and attributes, which are highly valued by a broad range of employers. The Graduate School has invested in the development of an inclusive and accessible offering via online courses and webinars. This ensures students can engage with professional development opportunities whether from their home, at work, on overseas placements or at a time and place to suit their needs.
The College also ensures that there is guidance and training available for staff to share best practice in leadership and management, and ensure a good supervisory experience for our doctoral students.
Our careers events and skills workshops for students are wide ranging to explore a variety of career progression routes, with a specific LGBTQ+ friendly employers event, while the “Career Moves” toolkit supported by the Learning and Development Centre supports staff to think and reflect on their career.
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Dr Yilun Xu, Research Associate, Department of Materials
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