Movement and progression

The way research is funded requires the University of Bristol to have a specific approach to any movement or progression up the research career pathway. At any given time there will be a need for researchers at each level on the pathway and the distribution and number will be driven by the needs of the research being undertaken.  It follows that movement up the career pathway must be based not only on the individual meeting the expected duties of the next role profile or level but also on the need for work to be undertaken at that level.

To place it in context the academic staff career pathways at Bristol are as follows:

Academic Staff Career Pathways diagram (PDF, 176kB)) shows the three pathways and roles, including accepted progression and promotion routes.

Pathway Two - the research career pathway

There are five levels in Pathway 2, and the expected duties at each level are clearly laid out in the associated role profile. The levels and their role profiles are as follows:  

Each of the levels has a corresponding grade with a salary scale and an individual will move through the scale within their grade by annual increments.

Movement from level a (Research Assistant) to level b (Research Associate)

Movement to level b (Research Associate) may only occur when the Head of School, with the Dean’s authorisation, recommends to HR that the individual meets the expected duties and is ready to move to role profile b and that there is a role available at the level.  There is no right of progression (which at this level is called 'movement') to level b.

Staff who have four years’ postdoctoral experience will normally be appointed at/moved to level b, provided that the Head of School and Dean deem they have the relevant skills and experience, and they are fulfilling the requirements of the role profile at level b.

Progression from level b (Research Associate) to level c (Research Fellow)

Progression to Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow depends on the progressibility of the current role you are in. For roles at level b (Research Associate) and c (Research Fellow), a decision is taken at the recruitment stage as to whether the role will be progressable, and the maximum level to which it is expected to progress. Individuals appointed to that role will be expected to develop and meet the expected duties of the role profile they are progressing to.

A role can only be defined as progressable where it is anticipated that there will be a future opportunity for work to be undertaken at the next level and there is funding, which may need to be external, to support it.  The Head of School and PI should review the role profiles and the work that is required when drawing up the job description in order to determine whether this is the case.

Cases for accelerated progression from level b to level c (pathway 2 staff only) may be submitted at any point using the Application for Accelerated Progression form (Office document, 53kB) and attaching a CV. Such cases will be considered under the next termly exercise. Cases for accelerated progression to level d1 must be submitted and considered under the annual Promotion Procedure

Some roles will be deemed 'non-progressible' if there is an ongoing need for work only at the level appointed at. 

The Academic Progression Procedure is detailed on the Human Resources website. These pages include information on the progression timetable, the criteria for progression and CV and application guidance. 

Considering research staff development within grant applications

Given the University’s commitment to support research staff development, the Research Staff Working Party has undertaken a review to investigate the key characteristics of the Pathway 2 role profiles and the criteria that should be taken into account when considering research staff career development and new roles within grant applications, with input from HR and Finance. The full guide with detailed scenarios is available to download: Pathway 2 Career Pathway Guide (PDF, 287kB)

Key Points