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Human Resources & Organisational Development

Research or Other Paid Leave to Enhance Research


A Preamble

It should be noted that:

  1. The purpose of Research or Other Paid Leave to Enhance Research is to contribute to the University Research Strategy, by supporting and accelerating the contribution to research outputs of individual academic members of staff and/or their impact in the wider community.
  2. Research needs to be a continuous activity, built in to the academic life of all Durham academic staff and generating a culture of research-led teaching. Undertaking high-quality research does not depend on research leave.
  3. Research or Other Paid Leave is a highly-prized and special aspect of Durham's academic support for research. It is not an entitlement, but granted against an ambitious case for support and a record of high-quality research performance.
  4. Research or Other Paid Leave that is specifically designed to lead to research impact is encouraged. Typically this could involve working closely with external organisations and potentially being located at their premises. One would expect the potential research impact from these activities to measure favourably against the best examples of the University REF 2014 impact case studies.
  5. The granting of Research or Other Paid Leave is conditional upon the Head of Department concerned being able, at the time in question, to make adequate arrangements to provide cover (usually teaching and examining cover) during the period of leave. Teaching cover arrangements must also be within current teaching and learning guidelines and must not reduce the quality of the student teaching experience. It is not intended that this condition create a permanent obstacle to any member of staff taking leave.
  6. The financial position of a department will not affect the consideration of Research or Other Paid Leave applications.
  7. Prospective recipients of Research or Other Paid Leave are expected to plan leave well-ahead. This includes the planning of research-grant applications so that, where possible, available external funding can be provided in support of the period of leave.
  8. The permission carries no automatic commitment to contributing to, or meeting, travel or other expenses.
  9. The number of applications granted in any one year will be limited.
  10. Applications may be encouraged and will be approved by the Head of Department advised by the Departmental Directors of Research and Learning and Teaching in line with departmental and University research priorities, especially in the light of planning for the subsequent HEFCE Research performance evaluation exercise. The HoD may specify conditions on the granting of Research or Other Paid Leave (e.g. the completion of outputs from prior research and the planning and submission of research grants).

B Eligibility

Eligibility to apply for Research or Other Paid Leave is subject to the following considerations:

  1. Previous service in other universities may be taken into account by the Faculty PVCs in considering an application.
  2. Research or Other Paid Leave is not normally granted to a member of staff known to be leaving the University's employment at the end of the period of leave and if a resignation is received after the granting of leave the Research or Other Paid Leave will normally be rescinded.
  3. No paid post may be held during the period of leave except by express permission of the Faculty PVC.

C Entitlement to Apply

  1. Subject to the restrictions for Research or Other Paid Leave set out above, any member of staff employed on a lecturing contract is entitled to apply once in every seven terms for Research or Other Paid Leave on full pay for one term, but no such member of staff may accumulate an entitlement to apply for more than three terms leave.
  2. Academic staff not yet confirmed in post may apply for Research or Other Paid Leave and/or may be granted Research or Other Paid Leave during their probation period at the discretion of the Faculty PVC.
  3. Heads of Departments are entitled to apply for one additional terms leave in respect of a three-year period of office, in addition to their normal entitlement of leave.
  4. In addition to their normal entitlement, Deputy Heads of Faculty and Pro-Vice-Chancellors who have held office for a continuous period of five years are entitled to apply for a further term to give one year's leave in total. Heads of Departments should also be sympathetic to a subsequent request, after the year's leave has been taken, for a further term's leave in respect of service as a Deputy Head of Faculty or Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
  5. Applications from recent ex Heads of Departments should be regarded sympathetically.
  6. Time spent on other internally funded research fellowships that include relief of teaching obligations, does not count towards research leave entitlement.

D Procedure for applications

  1. Heads of Departments should invite applications for Research or Other Paid Leave.
  2. Applicants should submit their applications for leave to their Heads of Departments on the appropriate form.
  3. Applicants should specify the purpose for which the leave is sought, and the anticipated outputs and their timescales against which the effectiveness of the period of research leave can be evaluated. In the case of a second or subsequent application, indicate publications, research grants, new research programmes, "impact" or other achievements which have arisen from their previous period of leave since the report on that leave was submitted. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their case with collaborators, research group heads, director of research, mentor and/or other colleagues, setting it within the department's implementation plans of the research strategy.
  4. The Head of Department will be asked to comment on the application, confirm that funding for the period of leave has been won or that no paid replacement is required and that the proposed teaching cover is adequate and within current teaching and learning guidelines.
  5. The Head of Department must also consider departmental research priorities when considering and prioritising leave requests.
  6. College Principals who apply for Research or Other Paid Leave require additional approval from the Deputy Warden
  7. Applications with the approval of the Head of Department must be submitted to the Faculty Office no later than the date in the Research or Other Paid Leave Arrangements document.
  8. Successful applicants will be informed in writing

E After the period of leave

  1. Staff who are granted leave are reminded to complete a report form after the period of leave. The form contains a reminder to indicate likely publications and/or other results of the leave. It should be returned via the relevant Head of Department who will comment upon it, consulting senior colleagues as necessary. These comments are confidential to the Head of Department, the Faculty PVC and the individual member of staff concerned who should see and initial the comments.
  2. Completed report forms should be returned to the relevant faculty office by the first day of term following the period of leave. A brief report 6 months later will add information on the progress of publications, grants and other outputs from the period of Leave. Departmental Research Committees will provide Faculty PVCs with an evaluation of the period of Leave, including a recommendation on eligibility for future leave.

Research Committee, October 2009

UEC, Senate (approved) May 2010

Amendments approved by UEC and Senate June 2013