Review of progress in implementing the recommendations of Sir Gareth Roberts, regarding employability and career development of PhD students and research staff

The need for improvement in the development of research careers and researchers’ training in transferable skills was highlighted in two particular recommendations (numbers 4.2 and 5.3) in the 2002 report ‘SET for success: the report of Sir Gareth Roberts’ Review - the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills’ (Roberts, 2002). As a consequence of that review, Research Councils UK (RCUK)1 have invested about £120 million, usually referred to as ’Roberts’ Money’, in research organisations to address this concern in all research disciplines. The last ‘Roberts’ Money’ payment will be for the period up to March 2011; it was therefore proposed to assess the progress made with taking forward these specific recommendations. An independent panel was formed by RCUK to undertake this review in 2010. The terms of reference for the panel are in Annex A. In summary, the panel was asked to review progress made and to advise RCUK and the higher education (HE) sector about future requirements for the development and training of researchers. In the course of their review, the panel considered a wide range of existing reports, interviewed key stakeholders in the HE sector and elsewhere, as well as drawing on their own knowledge and expertise. This report presents the findings of the panel’s review.