Research Staff Career Development Guidance


The School expects that all research staff and particularly those in the early stages of a research career at the School should receive constructive advice on career development from senior colleagues.

The School has in place two approaches to structuring career development conversations for research staff:

  • A Mentoring Scheme for junior research staff
  • A Research Staff Career Development Scheme which is designed for all Research Staff throughout their LSE career.

Both aim to give Research Staff guidance on how to make most effective use of their career within LSE both for their own development and to ensure their contribution to the School as a whole. The Mentoring Scheme is distinct from the Research Staff Career Development Scheme. Mentors give informal and frequent advice and provide a listening ear throughout the year, whereas formal career development meetings take place annually or bi-annually (for bands 9 and 10 Principal Research Fellows and Professorial Research Fellows) and are normally conducted by the Head of Department/Research Centre Director or his/her nominee. Importantly, the mentor cannot be the one holding the Career Development Meeting.

The Researcher Career Development Review Meeting is intended to allow for an open and constructive exchange of views, which as well as taking into account future plans enables a review of past performance, achievements and experience. Further guidance on the Researcher Career Development Scheme can be found on the LSE Human Resources website here. For description of current role profiles see here (subject to review).

All research staff may access the training and development opportunities available within the School and in most cases this is at no cost to the individual or the project. PIs/Managers should actively encourage research staff to attend relevant courses/workshops available at the School.

The School offers support for career and professional development in the following ways.


a. Introduction

This guidance outlines the career development support opportunities available to research staff and is designed for use by research staff and managers. It is applicable to salaried research staff in Bands 6-10 from Research Officer to Professorial Research Fellow level.

Note: The support staff Performance Development Review (PDR) process is applicable to Research Assistants. However, Centres/Departments may wish to use aspects of the procedures here to evaluate the performance of Research Assistants.

The procedures have been designed to reflect the School's commitment to ensuring that research staff receive the best possible advice in relation to their career and professional development, noting that the knowledge, skills and experience required to move successfully towards the next career stage may not be the same as those required to achieve the current position. The Annual Career Development Review Meeting provides a space for broad reflection of further development needs in relation to longer-term career planning beyond the immediate needs of the current role/project.  The meeting is not intended to replace the regular meetings which should be taking place between researchers and managers.

Where research staff are contributing to teaching or undertaking administrative duties, such activities should not be overlooked in the annual review process and should be recorded on the Annual Career Development Review Report to reflect the full profile of activities.

b. The Process

The process will involve the following stages:

1. The preparation by the researcher of a brief self-evaluative statement in section A of the Researcher Career Development Review Report, is available here.   This statement should cover their achievements in relation to their current role and the successful completion of project outcomes; and any relevant professional development needs in relation to their current role and/or longer-term career aspirations.

2. An Meeting with the Head of Department/Head of Research Centre or his/her delegate.

3. The co-production of section B of the report summarising the discussion and any agreed action points. 

A copy of the Agreed Career and Professional Development Activities should also be sent to TLC.   A proforma is available here.

4. The ACDRR and Agreed Career and Professional Development Activities summary should be signed off by the researcher being reviewed and by the Head of Centre/Department or his/her delegate as appropriate.

In the following paragraphs, stages 1-4 are elaborated in more detail.

Stage 1

The statement will provide the member of staff with the opportunity to provide a rounded and self-evaluative statement of their activities, achievements and performance over the last review period and plans for the next. Researchers should outline the following in brief in a standard report form (ACDRR):

  1. Previous Review: a summary of progress in relation to the outcomes and actions agreed in the previous Review.
  2. Research Profile: a self-evaluative statement focussing on achievements over the last review period, drawing attention to grant raising activities, any publications and other research outputs as well as dissemination, impact, knowledge exchange and public engagement.
  3. Contributions to Centre/departmental administration and School citizenship: a self-evaluative statement of the contributions made to Centre/departmental administration and School activities.
  4. Contribution to teaching (where applicable): a self-evaluative statement of the contributions made to teaching.
  5. External, professional and other activities: a self-evaluative statement of external and professional activities.
  6. Plans for the coming year: plans for the coming year with respect to research (including grant activities, publications and dissemination/impact/knowledge exchange/public engagement), administration and citizenship, teaching (if applicable) and external, professional and other activities.
  7. Career goals and career development. a reflection on career goals (short, medium or long term), career development and progression.
  8. Departmental/Centre support: a summary of any departmental and School support that has been of particular value this year, and suggestions how the department and School could assist you in reaching your goals in the year ahead.

Within the framework of headings for discussion, the annual review scheme is deliberately non-prescriptive about the detail to be covered in the ACDRM. Centres/Departments are free to tailor the ACDRM discussion to suit researchers' individual circumstances.

Stage 2

The expectation is that ACDRMs will normally be conducted by the Head of Department/Research Centre Directors or his/her nominee, e.g. the Principal Investigator/responsible manager. Heads/Directors are therefore responsible to find the person best placed to hold the ACDRM, if not themselves.

Where the member of staff conducting the review is one of the Principal Investigators on a project the researcher being reviewed has worked on during the review period but there are other relevant projects too, then he/she should contact and involve the other Principal Investigator(s) for the purposes of the review.

Where the member of staff conducting the review is not one of the Principal Investigators on projects the researcher being reviewed has worked on during the review period, then he/she should contact and involve the Principal Investigator(s) for the purposes of the review.

Stage 3

The member of staff conducting the ACDRM and the researcher will produce a brief summary of the discussion and agreed action points arising from the ACDRM.   These will be recorded on the ACDRR.

In cases where there are any points of contention, these will be noted in a supplementary document together with any rebuttals, and the complete record will be forwarded to Human Resources.  

Stage 4

All ACDRRs and Agreed Career and Professional Development Activities summaries will be signed off by Heads of Centre/Departments.  

Copies of all ACDRRs will then be forwarded to Human Resources. The VCAC will be provided with copies of reports on a regular basis and will report to the Research Staff Committee at its next meeting.

Copies of the Agreed Career and Professional Development Activities summary should be directly sent to the Teaching and Learning Centre ( TLC will then be in touch with the researcher to discuss arrangements.

c. Training needs arising from the ACDRR

The onus will be on individual researchers to arrange any training or development activities identified as part of the annual review process, with the support of their manager. Once a copy of the Agreed Career and Professional Development Activities summary has been received by TLC, the Centre will then be in touch with the researcher to discuss arrangements for undertaking suitable workshops. 

d. Frequency of meetings

The ACDRM should take place annually for staff up to and including salary band 8 Senior Research Fellow. Where the duration of the contract is less than 2 years, the ACDRM will be annual. ACDRMs for Bands 9 and 10 Principal Research Fellow and Professorial Research Fellow should take place every two years.



The School also offers wider support for career and professional development in the following ways.

a. Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC)

Research staff have full access to all Teaching and Learning Centre Provision for Academic Staff. This includes:

  • A wide range of events focused on different aspects of research – with particular focus on writing, getting published and other aspects of research dissemination including presenting at conferences, voice/presentation coaching, and workshops on facing the media.
  • The LSE Research Festival
  • Events run in collaboration with the Research Division on getting grant funding
  • Events focused on more general matters such as team management, leadership and research planning
  • Events/support/guidance around teaching at the LSE, including opportunity to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

Many of these events are 'bite-sized' seminars on topics particularly relevant to early career research staff across the School. Some are appropriate for more experienced staff. They all offer researchers the opportunity to take time out of their daily schedules to reflect, learn and plan for the future. The workshops use a mixture of group and individual work and are led by skilled facilitators and experienced academics. The sessions also give staff the opportunity to meet and network with colleagues from other departments and research centres. Full details regarding TLC's provision for research staff are available here: .

All new research staff are encouraged to attend induction/orientation events. TLC runs the New Academic Induction Programme each September. This events series provides a wide ranging orientation to different aspects of School academic life and is an excellent networking opportunity for new staff. Research staff are welcome to select from the events included in this series. Staff who arrive later in the academic year are strongly encouraged to contact the TLC to arrange for a one-to-one orientation – email You may also want to take advantage of the Flying Start inductions run throughout the year by Organisational and Lifelong Learning.

Research staff can request funding to attend external specialist training. For example, recent requests have included training in the use of particular statistical packages and language learning related to research being undertaken. In the first instance, it is worth exploring local options (e.g. through the LSE Department of Methodology, Language Centre etc or London-based provision). All such requests require advanced application, and signed support on the need for the training from your Head of Department/Research Centre. See: . As funds available are limited, please contact us early and prior to making commitments that the School may not be in a position to support. You/your department/research centre may be asked to make a contribution to external training.

TLC can also, on request, work with departments, centres and teams to either provide and/or help fund bespoke development in line with local requirements.

TLC coordinates and provides administrative support for the Research Centres Directors’ Forum and also offers some financial support to the Research Staff Association.

TLC is not able to support conference attendance for any LSE staff.

For further information on any of the above, please contact Dr Sarabajaya Kumar (TLC Development Adviser to PhD Students and Research Staff) email: or email .

In addition to TLC provision, research staff are welcome to make use of other training and development provision at the LSE – see the LSE Training and Development System for access to multiple providers

b. Careers Service

LSE Careers provides a broad spectrum of resources and tools covering all aspects of career planning and job application.

LSE Careers website has a page dedicated to resources specifically aimed at supporting PhD students and Research Staff . Research staff can also book individual and confidential discussion sessions with Dr Madelaine Chapman, PhD and Research Staff Careers Adviser, by either registering for a CareerHub account or by emailing Madelaine is available to give advi ce on any aspect of the researcher's career, whether the researcher wants to stay in research, explore options outside of academia or is undecided. She can provide information on the wider labour market and help the individual to address a wide-range of careers related issues including job search strategies, making applications and interview skills.

LSE Careers also organises a range of seminars specifically targeted at supporting the career development and management of researchers. Some of these are run in partnership with TLC.

c. Research Division

The Research Division supports academic staff in winning research grants; the School’s management of research and research-related knowledge exchange, and the School’s research and research-related knowledge exchange and impact strategies, including the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The Research Division offers both pre- and post-award support to staff in respect of all areas of funded research. The Research Development Team provides support in attracting funding for research activities – whether from traditional research and knowledge exchange funders or from corporate funders. Within the team, the Grant Application Managers provide support in enhancing the quality of grant applications, including contractual and budgetary matters. The Research Development Managers (RDMs) work with departments and centres to identify appropriate strategic approaches for winning grants and help academics with project development. RDMs also facilitate events on grant proposal writing, on collaborative, multi-disciplinary research and dissemination of funding opportunities. The Corporate Research Development Managers lead the development of corporate relationships that support high quality research, whilst the Knowledge Exchange Manager focuses on co-ordinating and integrating the knowledge exchange activities across the School. The Division’s Post-Award Team assists successful applicants in managing their research projects portfolio.

As part of its wider remit, the Research Policy Team play a leading role in preparing for the REF, including enhancing our REF-support systems, supporting the development of Impact Case Studies and supporting departments and centres in fulfilling their impact strategies.

The Research Division publishes a monthly newsletter featuring research-related news and funding opportunities. See previous editions of our e-briefing here: If you would like to receive this bulletin, please email|.

Research staff is encouraged to liaise with Research Division as part of their career development planning. Further information is available at:

New researchers may also find the following document helpful, providing pre and post award advice, as well as an overview of research related procedures and relevant links.


The contributions made by researchers to work and publications should be given the appropriate recognition. Publication protocols should be explained to the researcher by the research manager at the outset of the project. Similarly, the research manager should ensure the researcher understands their responsibility to report the results of all work related to the research project to their manager and not to publish the results of work without the prior agreement of their manager/the grant holder. It is the responsibility of the researcher to seek further clarification if these issues are not covered or the information provided is unclear. Researchers who feel that they are being denied credit for their work should raise the matter in the first instance with their manager. Further advice can also be obtained from Research Division. 

If the issue(s) cannot be resolved informally at this stage, the researcher should raise the matter using the School's grievance procedures, which provide for both informal and formal resolution. The relevant Departmental/Centre HR Partner should be contacted in the first instance.

Researchers and research managers should ensure they are familiar with the School's policy on intellectual property. (Note: The policy is currently being redrafted via Research Division/Research Committee)


The Research Policy team is responsible for ensuring that the School maintains the highest ethical standards in its research activity. Working alongside the Research Ethics Committee, the Team ensures that projects requiring ethical consideration are subject to the requisite level of scrutiny. Details of the School's Research Ethics Policy and the relevant forms can be accessed here:

Approved by: Appointments Committee

18 June 2014

Revised by Vice-Chair of Appointments Committee on 10 November 2014 in response to feedback from the Research Staff Committee’s 5 November 2014 meeting




  • Research Staff Career Development Guidance 2015-2016
  • Research Staff Career Development Form 2015-2016