Career support scheme

Central funding for the Career support scheme was discontinued with effect from 1 August 2011. However, divisions and/or departments are encouraged to consider local arrangements to support continuity of employment across gaps in funding, whilst research grant application outcomes are awaited. The guidance below may be used as a basis for any such arrangements.

Suggested eligibility and maximum length of funding are given. However, in exceptional circumstances, where a particular project is of strategic importance to the University, the length of service requirements may be reduced and/or the maximum length of grant extended.

1. Introduction

The Career Support Scheme is intended to provide funding for a limited period of continued employment for a very small number of long-serving contract research staff, whose research contribution is of particular value, who do not have a new grant in prospect, and who would otherwise face unemployment while efforts continued to be made to secure a new source of funding. The scheme is only available for staff who are employed by the University; staff working in university departments but not on the university payroll are not eligible for the scheme.

There is no central funding available for any associated costs (salaries, equipment,  consumables, etc) which remain the responsibilities of the department/division concerned.

2. Eligibility

Applicants must be already employed on an academic-related research contract at the University, and must normally have at least 15 years' service in academic-related contract research posts in universities or comparable institutions.

Applicants may normally apply for up to 12 months' funding.


3. Rules of the scheme

(a) The applicant may not normally receive more than 12 months' support under the Career Support Scheme in the six years up to the end of the period for which career support is currently requested.

(b) Efforts must have been made to secure a new grant for further funding in good time before the expiry of the present contract and all other relevant sources of support fully and satisfactorily pursued.

(c) It must be reasonable to assume that an alternative source of funding could be obtained to support the individual within 12 months.

(d) Every effort must have been made (and where appropriate continue to be made) to secure from funding bodies the early start of an award, so as to minimise the period between contracts and the length of time for which career support is sought.

(e) The head of department or faculty board chairman must support the application and certify that the individual makes a major contribution to research at the University.

(f) A satisfactory programme of work must be agreed with the head of department to cover the period of employment for which career support is sought. This should result in demonstrable benefits to the department and the individual concerned.

4. Application procedure

(a) Applications should consist of a completed application form, together with:

(i) A letter of application from the head of department/faculty board chairman, outlining the case for support based on the benefits which would result to the department and the individual concerned. The individual may also submit, if s/he wishes, an assessment of the benefits which would result from career support.

(ii) A full, up-to-date curriculum vitae of the person to be supported, with a list of publications.

(iii) An academic reference from outside the University.

(b) The completed application should be forwarded to the head of division, who is asked (i) to review the application and comment on the academic desirability of supporting the case; (ii) to comment on the ability of the department in question to make a contribution to the costs involved; and (iii) to identify a subject expert from outside the department in question who can confirm that the research standing of the relevant subject area at Oxford is likely to suffer significantly if the researcher ceases to be employed.

5. Financial arrangements

(a) There is no central funding available for career support.  It is therefore for divisions/departments to consider what funding may be available locally, and set up an appropriate process for fairly considering applications for funding.

(b) If funding is obtained from an outside body within the period covered by a career support grant, the career support will cease as soon as the outside funding starts. Any savings will be returned to the departmental/divisional career support fund. Where an external funding body agrees to provide retrospective funding to support a researcher for a period covered by career support, then the career support budget must be reimbursed accordingly.

(c) Grants must be used within a period of three months for the purpose for which they were allocated.

6. Review of the operation of the scheme

Where career support is provided, heads of department may be asked to submit a brief report to the division commenting on any benefits of the award and future funding arrangements.