Code of Practice for the employment and career development of research staff


This Code of Practice sets out the University's provisions and guidelines for the employment of research staff - broadly defined as individuals whose primary responsibility is to conduct research and who are employed for this purpose. This broad category covers a wide range of staff with different disciplinary backgrounds, levels of training, experience and responsibility, types of contract (fixed or open ended, full or part time), and different career expectations and intentions. The code applies to those research staff employed by the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford.

The code replaces the former code of practice originally introduced in 1997. It was developed by the Research Staff Working Group and issued by the Personnel Committee in the light of the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (2008) and the European Charter for Researchers (2005), following appropriate discussion within the Joint Consultative Committee with the Oxford UCU.

The code sets ambitious goals for the University and will therefore be implemented in phases according to a plan approved by the Personnel Committee.

Guiding principles

In its Strategic Plan, the University acknowledges the very significant contribution made by the wide range of researchers on externally funded contracts to the research undertaken in Oxford. The development of career opportunities for these researchers (whose career patterns vary significantly and who come to Oxford from all over the world) and their further integration into the life of the collegiate University are important issues on which the University will continue to work. This code of practice articulates Oxford's aspiration, as a world-leading research-intensive university, to continue to provide a supportive environment for research and research careers at an international level.

The following principles underpin this code of practice.They are based on the principles contained in the national Concordat. The remainder of this code of practice is structured around these principles.

1.  The University aims to recruit and select researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research. Full guidance.

2.  Researchers are significant participants in and contributors to the University's success in research. Full guidance.

3.  Researchers must be equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment. Full guidance.

4.  Researchers' personal and career development are recognised and promoted at all stages of their career, and individual researchers share the responsibility for their own personal and career development. Researchers should pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development. Full guidance.

5.  Equality and diversity are promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers. Full guidance.

6.  The University will work with other key stakeholders in the sector to undertake regular and collective reviews of progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK. Full guidance.

Implementation and training

Those responsible for implementing and supporting this code of practice include researchers themselves and their supervisors; heads of department and departmental administrators; those providing support services for research staff such as the divisional skills co-ordinators, the Careers Service and the Oxford Learning Institute; and the University's Personnel Committee. Training will be provided to support implementation in accordance with the implementation plan approved by the Personnel Committee.