Our commitment to developing a positive research culture

We have committed to support and develop our research culture in a series of institutional commitments, agreements and accreditations.


The importance of public commitments

Openness and accountability are essential to enhancing our research culture. 

Making these commitments means we have a collective responsibility to

  • reflect on our structural and cultural practices
  • create meaningful change
  • benchmark our progress
  • support staff and students across the University to fulfil our collective aims. 

You can explore all our public commitments and action plans below.

Our commitments to date 

Concordat to Support Research Integrity

We are fully committed to fostering high standards of good research practice throughout our research community, and ensuring that all research and innovation activities mitigate any potential harms to staff, research participants and their wider communities.

Our annual update for 2021

Our compliance with the Research Integrity Concordat

Concordat on Open Research Data

We will ensure that the processes and outputs of research are transparent and freely accessible wherever possible, taking into account legal, ethical and commercial considerations.

Our open research culture and practice

Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

We put the development of our research staff and the culture in which they work, at the heart of our vision for world-leading, impactful research.

How we’re implementing the Researcher Concordat

HR Excellence in Research Award

In September 2012, we were awarded our first European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award and successfully retained this in July 2019.

Our performance was measured against the principles of the Researcher Concordat and recognised our progress towards a high-quality environment for research staff and postgraduate researchers.

Read more about our HR Excellence in Research Award

Technician Commitment

We pledge to ensure visibility, recognition, career development, and sustainability for technical staff working in higher education and research.

Our action plan

Knowledge Exchange (KE) Concordat

The KE Concordat is a sector-led initiative that aims to support, develop and strengthen KE activity among higher education institutions, give partners an accurate representation of the approach that HE providers are taking to KE, provide clear indicators of improvement, and give governing bodies and government confidence in the activity that is taking place in HE providers.

The University of Sheffield was one of 112 institutions participating in the development year. 

Find out more on the Staff Hub (login required)

Concordat on Openness on Animal Research

We work hard not just to meet, but wherever possible exceed, legal standards and research guidelines for the husbandry, care and use of animals, and are fully committed to transparency and public engagement on research involving animals.

Our transparency and accountability procedures

Manifesto for Public Engagement 

We are committed to sharing our knowledge, resources and skills with the public, listening to and learning from the different communities we engage with, developing our approach to public engagement and sharing best practice.

Read more about the Manifesto

Guidance for Safeguarding in International Development Research

We have a duty of care to ensure the welfare of staff, students, those carrying out activities on our behalf as well as external individuals and communities, and that potential risks of harm are considered and mitigated.

How we’ve implemented this guidance in our safeguarding policy

San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

Rather than solely relying on journal-based metrics, we value, support and reward research outputs based on quality, not quantity. We commit to recognising the content, value and influence of specific research, and research processes which are collegiate and ambitious.

Using metrics responsibly

How we define research excellence

Athena Swan Silver Award

We are one of only 18 universities to hold a Silver institutional Athena SWAN award and one of only four institutions nationally to retain their Silver award upon renewal. 

Athena SWAN Charter recognises our commitment to advancing women’s careers across the university, particularly in STEMM subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. 

How we’re creating gender equality at Sheffield

Disability Equality Strategy and Action Plan

Progressing equality, diversity and inclusion is essential to creating a University culture and environment where colleagues and students feel they belong, and are supported to meet their full potential.

In consultation with our students and staff, in spring 2022 we launched our new One University Disability Equality Strategy and Action plan, which aims to improve the experiences of our disabled staff and students. 

How we're improving disability equality

See the strategy and action plan

Open Research

As a member of UKRN (UK Reproducibility Network) we commit to making the processes and outputs of research transparent and freely accessible, whenever possible.

Our culture of open research supports dissemination, interpretation and re-use of research, promotes research rigour, reliability and reproducibility, allows others to validate and contribute to our research, and serves the public interest.

Read the University's statement on open research

Hear from Prof Tom Stafford, our Research Practice Lead

Latest developments

Race Equality Charter Bronze Award application

We are committed to eliminating racial inequalities and have signed up to the Race Equality Charter, a framework which enables us to identify institutional and cultural barriers. 

To further this, a cross-university team has been assembled to submit an application for the Race Equality Charter Bronze Award. 

We are actively engaging with staff and students to understand our community’s experiences and perceptions in order to reflect, plan and implement actions for tangible change. 

How we’re improving race equality

Read our Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan

LGBT+ action plan

We're passionate about creating an inclusive University for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff and students.

In 2022, an LGBT+ Strategy Review Group was formed to review and refresh our work on LGBT+ inclusion. 

The review builds upon our existing LGBT+ inclusion work and outlines an approach tailored to our higher education context and the needs and interests of our LGBT+ staff and students. 

How we're fostering LGBT+ inclusion

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.