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Academic Talent

Career progression and probation

Staff probation

Here at Durham University we are confident that if you are offered an academic role with us, following our rigorous selection process and recruitment standards, that this will be the beginning of a successful and rewarded stage of your career. We want you to feel a valued and confirmed part of our community as quickly as possible.

As such, we believe in a light touch one year probationary period (where applicable) to ensure you are able to settle quickly and positively into your new life at Durham University and your new academic role. During this period you will receive a tailored probation plan and appropriate support from within your department to make your transition as smooth and easy as possible.

You will be joining a fantastic community of world-class talented academics who are passionate about their subject and at the forefront of their discipline. We are proud of our achievements and expect all our colleagues to contribute to those achievements as soon as they commence employment with us and throughout their time with us.

Academic progression

Durham University has an annual process of progression based solely on individual merit and achievement.

We have recently introduced a new process which allows for all academic staff being annually reviewed to consider whether or not they are ready for progression. Using this method, no one will be overlooked and there is no need for self-nomination for progression or promotions. We will ensure that colleagues are progressed as soon as they are ready to move up our career tracks. And if you aren’t quite ready, feedback is provided to assist in bolstering readiness for progression in the following year.

Training and development

Durham is a scholarly, collegiate community and one which supports and develops all staff throughout their career.

To achieve this, we offer a large variety of opportunities for staff at all levels in the key areas of research, learning and teaching and leadership. These are tailored to be appropriate for each stage of your academic career and to enable you to follow your academic aspirations.

Leading Research Programme

If you are at the start of your career we can offer you our Leading Research Programme (which was nominated for a Times Higher Award - a prestigious award for innovative leadership development). This programme will support you in developing a strategic approach to the leadership of your first grant. It develops not only leadership skills, but will also help you to plan your future research trajectory and introduce you to the support offered across the institution.

A past participant comments:

“Leading Research not only gave me the confidence to run my first project, but the networking opportunities with colleagues from across the University have been key to me throughout my career.”

The Leading Research Programme also leads into a range of workshops on key research themes such as ‘surviving proposal reviewing’ and ‘impact within your research’. These workshops are facilitated by subject specialists and those with a proven track record in the key areas covered.

Learning and Teaching programme

Our Learning and Teaching Programme offers a unique range of opportunities to enhance your practice, aligned to the Fellowship levels of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Durham leads the Russell Group with its engagement in this area.

This programme covers initial staff development, through to our Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, which gives you the essential knowledge to start or enhance your teaching. It also offers advanced workshops in key development areas, such as innovative pedagogical approaches driven by digital technology,

Executive coaching and leadership development

As your academic career develops, leadership opportunities from both within and outside Durham will come to the forefront. To help you make the most of these opportunities we will support your leadership development both through access to executive coaching and through the offer to attend tailored leadership development programs, such as the Future Leaders Programme (which won a Times Higher Award for innovation in leadership development). The programme not only allows participants to reflect on their leadership preferences, but also engages them in institutional level projects which enhances knowledge of strategic challenges and opportunities.

If you are leading or are about to lead an academic unit, we can also offer you the Academic Leaders Programme, which explores the key concepts and behaviours of leadership, bringing in nationally recognised expertise in leadership in Higher Education. The programme also offers an opportunity to undertake a 360º diagnostic process, which has been specifically designed for the HE sector.

Coaching and mentoring

As well as these focussed initiatives, the University values both coaching and mentoring, as it recognises that staff can benefit from the challenge and the support offered by colleagues who are experienced in leadership development.


Professor Susan Hart, Dean of Durham University Business School

Contact us

Durham University
Human Resources
Rowan House
Mountjoy Centre
Stockton Road
Durham DH1 3LE
T: +44 (0) 191 334 6536
E: e.recruitment@durham.ac.uk