What is a research sabbatical?

Research sabbatical leave is a continuous period of release from normal academic duties in order to advance the pursuit of scholarship and research in the University, leading to the development of individual members of staff, and to the production of outputs of significant benefit to the University.

What types of research sabbaticals are available?

The following types of research sabbaticals are available:

Taking research further - to extend the outcomes of research to maximise impact.

Team Sabbaticals - for two or more applicants from different departments to undertake a joint sabbatical.

Senior Fellowship - for senior members of academic staff to develop a research fellowship aplication.

Major Funding Initiative - to establish a major consortium.

Network building and external initiatives - to use an extended period of time off campus to build new relationships or further establish academic networks.

Research retreats - to develop a major area of research in collaboration with others.

Who can apply?

Academic staff (lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, professors) who are on permanent contracts and have three years of continuous service, at the sabbatical's start date, are eligible to apply. The qualifying period should normally begin after the completion of probation.

Entitlement to sabbatical leave is not automatic, but is based on the merits of the proposal and the strategic needs of the University, Faculty and Department.

What are the criteria?

All awards will be made on the basis of the merit of the applicant, the proposed programme of work and its alignment with the Faculty/School research strategy.

An application for a sabbatical period must clearly articulate the intended outcomes and demonstrate why focused time is needed to achieve those outcomes. Applications must also set out a SMART scheme of work for the planned sabbatical period presenting suitably ambitious Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound outcomes.

It is important that applications articulate how the research strategies of the University and its research communities (Institutes, Beacons, Centres and Groups) will be realised by the planned activity and demonstrate how the work will further develop internal and external networks for research and knowledge exchange.

The Committee will attend to EDI and climate action framework principles when making recommendations for awards.

Special considerations in light of the pandemic:

  • For those with sabbaticals already awarded with an intended start date of 1st August 2020 and whose awards were put in abeyance, please see below.
  • Revised applications from those who submitted to the March 2020 round will be considered in competition with all other applications.
  • Consideration will be given where research careers have been negatively impacted over the previous three years.

How many research sabbaticals are available?

Up to 25 awards of 6-month leave periods are available each academic year.

If there are no applications of sufficient quality in a particular Faculty/School, no sabbatical will be awarded.

How long can I go on research sabbatical leave for?

Sabbatical leave will normally run for a period of six months, either from 1 February to 31 July or from 1 August to 31 January, or exceptionally over 12 months.

Shorter research leave arrangements can be agreed at the discretion of the Head of Department.

What is the success rate?

The average success rate for awards since October 2011 is 71%.

What is the application process?

All applications must complete the research sabbatical application form.

There are two application rounds each year:

  • Round 1: The deadline for Round 1 of 2022/23 applications is Friday 18 November 2022
  • Round 2: The deadline for Round 2 2022/23 applications is Friday 24 February 2023

All applications will require support from the HoD and Dean. Where more than one member of staff is applying from the same Department/Faculty/School, the HoD and Dean will be asked to rank those applications.

The Research Sabbatical Committee will appraise all applications to ensure that each period of research leave contributes towards the delivery of the University strategy, objectives for research and associated KPIs.

The Research Sabbatical Committee will make recommendations to the PVC-R.

Research Sabbaticals usually start on 1st August or 1st February.

What if I have applied for a Sabbatical before?

  • If you have been awarded a Sabbatical which you had to put on hold due to personal or research-related reasons please contact vco-sabbatical@bath.ac.uk at your convenience.

  • Staff with sabbaticals already awarded with an intended start date of 1st August 2020, whose awards were put in abeyance due to COVID should re-apply using the revised application form so that they can articulate how the sabbatical leave will contribute towards the delivery of our research strategy. In the event of applications of equal quality those previously awarded will be given priority.

  • Staff with applications awaiting consideration for sabbatical leave from February 2021 or who submitted applications to the March 2020 round, should re-apply using the revised application form and their applications will be considered in competition with other applications.

What if I want to do a Sabbatical with IPR?

If you wish to apply for sabbatical leave at the University of Bath Institute for Policy Research (IPR), please complete the University of Bath application form for sabbatical leave, which includes a separate section for sabbatical leave at the IPR.

Where can I find the form to apply?

The form can be found here.

Where can I find the end of sabbatical report form?

The form can be found here.

Other information to note

EDI-related data on applications and on approved sabbaticals will be collected at the decision-making stage and used for reporting purposes.