Guiding principle 2

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

a.  The University abides by the provisions of the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, in ensuring equal treatment of those on fixed-term contracts compared with those on other types of contract; the use of fixed-term contracts only where objectively justified; and in this context the promotion of the use of open-ended terminable contracts where appropriate. Detailed guidance is provided on the use of appropriate contracts.

Job titles

b.  Job titles for research staff may be determined by departmental employing authorities, provided (i) that formal university titles, such as associate professor, reader, professor, and research lecturer are not used unless the relevant divisional authority has been obtained; and (ii) that appropriate care is exercised to avoid confusion with college titles of Fellow and Senior Research Fellow. Standard titles for research staff are:

  • Grade 6: Research Assistant
  • Grade 7: Researcher or Research Associate
  • Grade 8: Senior Researcher, {name of department} Research Fellow, or Senior Research Associate
  • Grade 9 and above: {name of department} Senior Research Fellow

c.  Researchers may apply to be considered for the award of the university title of Research Lecturer, and under the University's arrangements for recognising distinction they may apply for the titles of Reader and Professor.


d.  All research staff must receive the same forms of employment documentation as other staff of the University:

  • Formal letter of appointment issued normally before the start date of employment and signed by the relevant appointing authority (usually the head of department), specifying the person to whom the researcher is responsible for the performance of his or her duties;
  • Written confirmation of any changes in the terms of employment
  • A job description and, where available, a list of expected research goals
  • The University Handbook for Academic-related Staff via the Personnel Services website
  • Relevant university policies
  • A copy of this code of practice

Responsible conduct of research

e.  All researchers should receive a copy of Academic Integrity in Research: Code of Practice and Procedure, which expresses the University's expectations that all members of the University including staff and students, and those who are not members of the University but who are conducting research on University premises or using University facilities, will observe the highest standards in the conduct of their research. Researchers should also have their attention drawn to other university policies and guidelines on research integrity, such as research involving human participants, conflict of interest and requirements to work under legal licence where applicable, e.g. Home Office.

Defining roles and expectations

f.  At the beginning of any appointment, the head of department (or his or her nominee) should clearly identify the immediate supervisor of the researcher and establish the nature of that supervision. Supervisors are responsible for regularly discussing with researchers their research objectives and their work performance; and provision must be made for a clearly-defined probationary period with appropriate probationary review meetings, training needs assessment, and career planning. Departments should ensure that newly appointed research staff are aware of and given time to attend the relevant university induction programme.

g.  In exercising their responsibilities, supervisors and other departmental managers should take into consideration the advice provided by the Personnel Committee.


h.  Research staff must be paid on the relevant university scales. Research staff will be entitled to in-scale incremental salary progression on the same basis as other staff. Salary scale revisions approved by Council and the Personnel Committee will be applied to all research staff, subject to any special provisions required by the funding body concerned. Research staff are eligible to be considered for promotion and merit pay in the same way as other staff.

i.  Where a member of staff is re-employed on a subsequent research contract, the new appointment should reflect both the requirements of the role and the experience and professional contribution of the individual concerned. The salary should therefore normally provide, subject to the approval of the funding body concerned, for continued in-scale incremental progression within the grade which the individual held at the end of the previous appointment. Where a researcher has reached the maximum of a normal scale range at the end of a previous appointment, or is likely to reach that maximum during the lifetime of a new project, the grant applicant should consider whether to apply to the funding body and the university authorities for re-grading or use of discretionary increments.

Conditions of service

j.  Research staff will be entitled to the same conditions of service as other academic-related staff in relation to:

  • hours of work
  • annual leave
  • long service leave
  • membership of the appropriate staff pension scheme
  • disciplinary and grievance provisions
  • union representation (the University and College Union being the union recognised by the University for research staff) and time off for union duties.

Arrangements for personal development review should include research staff.

k.  Subject to the agreement of the funding body concerned to the provisions of the RCUK Concordat, researchers whose position are funded from external grants will also be entitled to the same provisions as other staff for sick-leave, sick pay, and maternity and paternity leave.

Facilities and support

l.  Research staff will have access to the appropriate facilities for the performance of their duties.

m.  Research staff will also have access to non-academic facilities, such as the University Club and sporting facilities offered by the University, and other benefits available to university staff.

n.  Where possible and appropriate, researchers will be offered a mentor to serve as a sounding board, information source, critical friend or career guide.

Intellectual property and academic freedom

o.  Subject to any special requirements imposed by the particular funding body and which will be notified to staff on appointment, researchers have the same intellectual property rights as other academic-related staff. These rights will be specified in the terms of letters of appointment and should be in accordance with published university policy.

p.  Supervisors and grant holders will ensure that researchers receive appropriate credit for work they have undertaken. Researchers have a duty to report the results of all work undertaken to their supervisor and grant holder, and should not normally publish or communicate the results of work outside a research group without the written agreement of the supervisor or grant holder. Research staff who feel that their work is inappropriately restrained, or that their right to publish or promulgate the results of their work is not being respected, or that they are being denied due credit for their work, or that they are improperly restricted from exercising appropriate intellectual freedom of thought or expression, should raise the matter in the first instance with the supervisor or grant holder concerned. If the matter remains unresolved, it may then be raised within the University's grievance procedures, which allow for both informal and formal resolutions and access to trade union support.