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Research Staff Career and Professional Development Support

This section covers the development opportunities available to research staff and the School's procedures for career development meetings for researchers (Annual Career Development Review Meetings).

Researchers are expected to be proactive in managing their own careers. However, the School and Managers also have a responsibility to ensure that the appropriate support is in place. All research staff are entitled to 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.

1. ANNUAL CAREER DEVELOPMENT REVIEW PROCESS

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 these procedures 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 statement covering: 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 Annual Career Development Review Meeting. (ACDRM).

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.

3. The co-production of an Annual Career Development Review Report (ACDRR) summarising the discussion and any agreed action points.  A pro-forma is available here|.  

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 of should be signed off by the Head of Centre/Department as appropriate.

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 on any themed issues to the Research Staff Committee.

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

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

Stage 1

The annual review statement will provide the researcher with the opportunity to outline the following in brief in a standard report form (ACDRR):

  1. Their research profile – achievements, trajectory, research and publication plans.
  2. Their professional development activities.
  3. Their contribution(s) to centre/departmental teaching and administration and School citizenship.
  4. Their plans for the coming year. 

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 Principal Investigators or the responsible manager nominated at the beginning of the appointment, unless an alternative arrangement has been agreed by both parties.

Stage 3

The Principal Investigator/responsible manager 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.  

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. 

2. FURTHER SUPPORT FOR CAREER AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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

a. Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC)

Despite its name, the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) does not focus exclusively on teaching matters. It also provides development support for research staff on many aspects of their "researcher" role. This includes, for example, development activities on academic publication, grant getting and facing the media as well as more general matters such as team management, leadership and research planning. TLC's main programme of support and training for researchers is the LSE Researcher Development Programme| - a series of 'bite-sized' seminars on topics particularly relevant to early career research staff across the School. The programme offers 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 teams of 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: Teaching and Learning Centre|. For further information, please contact Sarabajaya Kumar, TLC (Email s.kumar3@lse.ac.uk|)

b. Careers Service

The LSE Careers Service |provides an information library and website which provides generic information on career planning, job searches and making applications in addition to specific careers resources, all of which will be of use to researchers. Research staff can also book individual and confidential discussion sessions with Madelaine Chapman, PhD and Research Staff Careers Adviser, careers@lse.ac.uk|.  Madelaine is available to give advice 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 developing a career in research or academia as well as 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. The Careers Service 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

Research Division offers both pre- and post-award support to research staff in respect of all areas of funded research. The Division identifies funding opportunities, assists in the development of proposals and helps manage research grants once awarded. Research Division has expertise in dealing with contractual and budgetary matters.

As part of its wider remit, the Division also has a Policy Team and a Corporate Relations Unit. On policy aspects, the Division can assist with research ethics, centre governance and matters relating to the new Research Excellence Framework (the RAE replacement). The Corporate Relations Unit is responsible for developing, designing and delivering long-term, sustainable research partnerships with the corporate sector using the expertise of leading academics within LSE. 

Research staff are encouraged to liaise with Research Division - as part of their career development planning – when seeking appropriate funding.

Further information is available at: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/intranet/researchAndDevelopment/home.aspx| 

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.

https://www2.lse.ac.uk/intranet/researchAndDevelopment/internal/staff/Research%20Support%20at%20LSE.doc|

3. PUBLICATION PROTOCOLS

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)

4. RESEARCH ETHICS

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:

Ethics Guidance and Forms|

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