Research culture survey: what you told us and how to help us keep improving

September 20th, 2022

Update from Professor Neil Crout, interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange

In April, my predecessor Professor Dame Jessica Corner invited you to take part in our first university-wide survey of research culture at Nottingham.

I am delighted to share the survey’s initial findings and an update on next steps as we work together to better understand how to build a positive research culture and environment, where everyone who carries out or supports research can achieve their very best.

Across the university, 870 colleagues completed the survey and you told us that most people in our sample:​

  • Feel they are well-led where they work​
  • Feel that their leadership team cares about them, is accessible and committed to the EDI agenda​
  • Know what is expected of them and feel able to meet expectations​
  • Feel they have the support of colleagues​
  • Feel their ADC (Appraisal and Development Conversation) reviewer cares about their wellbeing​

We are very grateful that colleagues from job families across the university took the time to complete the survey. We’ve discovered that there are some really great places to work and areas where support is needed to make them even better.

Many of you are also taking part in further research culture activities – and there will be more opportunities to get involved on the way.

Thank you. Without your enthusiasm, positive input and readiness to challenge, we simply could not progress towards our goal of an inclusive, positive and enabling research community.

There remains, however, much to do. In the survey you also told us:

  • A majority of respondents feel pressured to work long hours​
  • A majority feel they could achieve more here at the University of Nottingham​
  • Less than half feel mental health is appropriately supported​
  • Only a minority feel that underperformance or poor behaviours are constructively challenged​
  • A large minority feel that research processes and systems do not support them in their research

Your ideas and input will help us overcome the challenges we face.

The findings from our survey are informing staff-led working groups, where colleagues are focusing on co-creating practical steps towards improving local research cultures.

By trying out ideas that might scale up, you will help build a positive culture from the ground up and truly bring about change.

Find out more

Findings from the survey

Data, videos and presentations from:

Get involved and share your ideas

Please contact us if you would like to get involved in our research culture events, share an idea or find out more.

We are meeting with colleagues at school level to discuss the findings of the survey and what we can learn from them. We will also publish School findings where these are available. Please also look out for a series of informal Café Culture get-togethers, where we can spark conversations and share ideas and experiences.

Thank you for your continued support. We want all colleagues from every job family to be heard. Together, we will help shape a research culture where everyone can feel part of a community, thrive, and be supported in achieving their highest ambitions.

Best wishes


Professor Neil Crout
Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange

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