Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I am new to Bristol. Where can I find out more about working here?
  2. How can I meet new people?
  3. What development opportunities exist for research staff?
  4. How does the University support career development?
  5. Who can I talk to about career development?
  6. I want to apply for a Fellowship. What support is available for this?
  7. Who is my Research Staff Rep and what do they do?
  8. I am unsure if academia is for me, how can I find out about non-academic careers?
  9. Can I be promoted on P2 (research pathway)?
  10. Am I allowed to teach?
  11. What happens to my e-mail account when I leave the University?

I am new to Bristol. Where can I find out more about working here?

The University has dedicated webpages for all new staff which you can access here.

How can I meet new people?

There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people through joining interest groups or networks. The University’s Staff Networks provide a safe space to connect with others. You can also find out about social opportunities through Staff Social.

What development opportunities exist for research staff?

Bristol Clear has been set up to support Research Staff across the University. We offer a range of development opportunities through the year. You can access our workshop programme here.

Vitae developed the Researcher Development Framework to describe the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers. You can use this framework to reflect on your own skills and identify areas of development which may be of interest to you.

You may also want to think about making use of opportunities to develop your skills and experience, which may include teaching and supervision activities, or taking on additional responsibilities on a research project. It might be worth exploring different job descriptions and profiles of roles you are aspiring towards to identify any gaps in your existing skills or knowledge.

How does the University support career development?

The University strongly endorses career development opportunities for all staff and students and is a signatory of the Concordat to support the career development of researchers. One core expectation of the Concordat is that researchers spend at least 10 days per year on development activities. These activities can include the attendance of workshops and training sessions and Bristol Clear offers a range of workshops and development opportunities which you may find useful.

It is expected that you receive career development support from your P.I. and your School. In the general progression of your project, your P.I. has an additional responsibility to support your career development. Your Staff Review and Development annual progress review is one forum where you can raise and discuss these issues.

The University also offers a Career Coaching service which gives you an opportunity to review your career plans and build on your skills and self-awareness. Alternatively, you can book a Research Staff 1:1 appointment offered by Bristol Clear. These one-off, thirty minute appointments are offered to give you an opportunity to talk through any career topic with an impartial member of the Bristol Clear team.

Who can I talk to about career development?

There are several people and forums that you can engage with. First, your own research network, both internally and externally will be a wealthy source of information. You will be interested in working in a particular field and much information can be found at conferences, within project teams etc., who are also working in your field. Also, your peers in the School (and research staff reps) are a great source of support and information. You will have Staff Review and Development meetings with your P.I. where career development is one of the topics for discussion. You may also want to join a mentoring scheme, for example the Bristol Clear Mentoring scheme, which will match you with a mentor outside of your disciplinary area to help you develop your career here, or into your next position.

The University also offers a Career Coaching service which gives you an opportunity to review your career plans and build on your skills and self-awareness. Alternatively, you can book a Research Staff 1:1 appointment offered by Bristol Clear. These one-off, thirty minute appointments are offered to give you an opportunity to talk through any career topic with an impartial member of the Bristol Clear team.

I want to apply for a Fellowship. What support is available for this?

Applying for a fellowship requires a lot of preparation and work. Research Enterprise Development can offer support with targeting the appropriate fellowship for you, and with preparing your proposal. Each faculty has RED staff members dedicated to providing professional advice on developing your research.

Who is my Research Staff Rep and what do they do?

Research Staff Reps represent research staff from each school and meet through the Reps Committee six times a year. Reps will represent the view of research staff from their school and will inform decision-making through the Committee. They also provide information and support to new researchers. You can find out who your Rep is through this link.

I am unsure if academia is for me, how can I find out about non-academic careers?

Academia is not for everyone. If you are having doubts about academia as a career, then have a look at the Bristol Clear pages, which includes a Career Development Toolkit. You may also want to have a look at the prospects.ac.uk ‘Careers advice’ section and review the job profiles presented for different disciplines.

Can I be promoted on P2 (research pathway)?

The university distinguishes between three ways of moving up the pay grades of the Pathway 2 scale, namely movement, progression, and promotion, see: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/staffdevelopment/documents/rs-hub/career%20pathways%20diagram.pdf.

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. For more information about movement and progression, view this summary.

Am I allowed to teach?

Developing your teaching skills and gaining teaching experience will be valuable for your career development. The University is supportive of research staff having opportunities to teach. The university has a policy on teaching expectations of research staff which sets out expectations and requirements. You can contact your School’s Director of Education to discuss opportunities. You can also ask Unit Directors in areas related to your expertise, as it may be possible for you to lead a guest lecture or seminar in that Unit.

What happens to my e-mail account when I leave the University?

When you leave the University, or your contract expires, you will lose access to all university systems. However, you can set up an automatic message/ out of office notification on your email account before you leave the University, and this message will stay active for 6 months. You will not be able to make changes to this message once you have left the University, so you need to ensure to set this up before your last day at work.