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How you can employ and support your research staff

Guidance around helping you in employing and supporting your research staff.

Employing and supporting research staff

The University is fully committed to creating a productive, supportive and enjoyable work environment for research staff. We all have an important part to play in achieving this. The University has put in place a range of actions to achieve this and has been awarded with the HR Excellence in Research Award by the European Commission.

Key actions and responsibilities for Principal Investigators 

If you are thinking of making a grant application that includes staff it is vital that you consider their arrangements fully before making the application. If you are successful in your grant award you will then need to recruit, employ and manage your research staff in line with the University’s policies and the Concordat to support the development of Researchers to which the University is fully committed. Your HR Manager and team are here to help you with this.

Your key actions are set out below.

1.  Pre-award/application stage

  • You need to think about the staff/team to be employed to carry out or support the research, and how they will be managed.   

  • If you are including staff in the grant application, you need to consider the role and grading of staff to be recruited - which will ensure that you can include an accurate costing in your application. The generic Research Officer job descriptions should help you and you should also talk to your HR Business Partner (about the grading of any post(s).

  • You will need to take into account the time to recruit staff once the award has been offered in setting a project start date which is realistic.

2.  Acceptance of research award stage

  • You will need to recruit and appoint staff, following the sign-off of the RS2 form. This will include confirming the job description and grading and ensuring that the length of fixed term contract fits with the funding in the grant. Your HR Advisor will be able to assist you with this and with the subsequent offer of employment and contracts including length & point of scale (minimum unless specific previous experience).

  • You will need to recruit staff following the Recruitment and Selection Code of Practice.

3.  Post award: the funded research period

  • You will need to ensure that research staff employed in connection with the project/research are properly managed, including managing their performance and development through their probation and beyond (setting objectives and monitoring progress), SDPR, leave (annual, sickness and maternity) and any other people management issues. Your HR Business Partner will be able to assist you with this and more information can be viewed about the Code of Practice for the Employment of Research Staff and Concordat to support the development of Researchers. 

  • You will also need to keep checking your staff’s fixed term contract end dates and ensure that you have funding to cover their costs. You can view information on your research staff through Manager Self Service (MSS) on iTrent and talk to your HR Business Partner or Advisor on the requirements for extensions and giving notice. 

4.  Towards the end of the funded research period

  • There is a requirement to consult individually with staff on fixed term contracts (FTCs) or permanent contracts prior to giving them notice (N.B. HR will carry out the collective consultation with trade unions) due to the ending of funding.

  • Your HR Operations Administrator will initiate the individual consultation process but you must meet with any identified staff using the HR aide memoire form. 

  • Staff placed at risk or given notice due to the ending of their contract will be considered for redeployment through the University’s Redeployment Register which is managed by your HR Operations Administrator and HR Advisor.