Published: 13 November 2023

To find out more about tackling bullying and harassment in research visit our tackling bullying and harassment page.

  • In recent years an increasing number of funders have begun to incorporate conditions relating to bullying and harassment into their grant conditions. This AMRC guidance provides suggested wording for grant terms and conditions to tackle bullying and harassment, as well as an internal guide for charities wishing to implement their own bullying and harassment policy. 
  • Below are a few examples of activities and interventions that AMRC members should undertake to support a safe and respectful environment at institutions that receive their funding:  
    • Be clear that anyone can report a concern or allegation of bullying, harassment, abuse and harm related to charity-funded research. Concerns and allegations should first be reported to the host organisation so that they can initiate an investigation. Subsequently, the funding charity should be informed.  
    • Develop policies for bullying and harassment setting out the charity’s expectations of the organisations and individuals they fund. Ensure that senior staff within the charity are aware of the policy and are supportive of the approach.
    • Communicate the introduction of the policy to host organisations and researchers the charity funds.
    • Be clear that organisations receiving funding may be asked to evidence their commitment to preventing and effectively addressing bullying and harassment as part of the charity's due diligence/funding assurance process. Most universities have their own bullying and harassment policies. 
    • Set an expectation for host organisations to disclose any active formal disciplinary findings for bullying and harassment against applicants. Be clear that where the charity might feel it necessary, and has a legitimate interest to do so, they will ask for more specific details about the nature of the concern, including the name of any employee whose conduct is being investigated.
    • Be clear about internal processes that the charity has in place to handle allegations. This includes making sure any information shared is handled in confidence and in accordance with data protection law requirements. Set out the actions that the charity might undertake if allegations are upheld. These may be independent of those set by the host organisation. Examples of sanctions could include reserving the right to remove the grant holder from the affected grant, barring them from being a supervisor or mentor on a charity-funded award, and/or removing or suspending funding in instances where expectations are violated.
    • Make an effort to speak to all members of the group (not just the lead Principal Investigator/grant holder) when conducting site visits to ensure that staff have a direct line of contact with the funder and feel comfortable to approach you to raise any concerns.  
  • The Forum for Tackling Bullying and Harassment, of which AMRC is a member, has developed a set of principles focused on preventing and tackling bullying and harassment in research and innovation.
  • Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (ACAS) guidance provides advice for employees and employers on dealing with discrimination and bullying.
  • The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) has developed a set of principles and best practice guidance on safeguarding to anticipate, mitigate and address potential and actual harms in the funding, design, delivery, and dissemination of research.
  • The NIHR’s Policy on Preventing Harm in Research sets out their expectations of all organisations and individuals in receipt of their funding.
  • Universities UK provides guidance for universities on how to handle alleged student misconduct that may also constitute a criminal offence.