How to Engage Honorary/Visiting Academics and Associates

This guidance covers arrangements for awarding Academic Honorary/Visiting and Associate status where individuals will be working with or for UoB for a significant period (e.g. a few weeks or more).  It should not be used for short term guests or visitors. There are separate arrangements in place for IT visitor access or UCard visitor access only.

Flowchart for Honorary/Visiting Academic or Associate Status (PDF, 217kB) showing how to determine the correct route when considering Honorary/Visiting/Associate status for an individual.

Honorary/Visiting (Academic) Status:

Associate (Non-Academic) Status:


1. Introduction
2. Applicable Policies, Procedures, Forms and the Honorary/Visiting Academic Contract Template - see above
3. The Role of the Sponsor
4. The Role of the Honorary & Associate Co-ordinator
5. Honorary/Visiting Academic Status - Process for Requesting/Extending
6. Process for Requesting and Extending Associate Status
7. Students
8. Budget Holder or Line Manager Status
9. Bench Fees
10. Honorary Clinical Staff
11. Buildings and IT Access
12. Essential Training
13. Intellectual Property
14. Insurance
15. Visas
16. Visibility on Explore Bristol Research Portal

Appendix 1: Honorary and Visiting Academic Titles

Appendix 2: Personalised Role Titles

1. Introduction

This guidance is aimed at Sponsors (see Section 3, below) and Honorary & Associate Co-ordinators (see Section 4, below) and should be read in conjunction with the University’s Policies on Honorary Visiting Academic Status and Associate Staff.

Honorary and Visiting (H/V) Academic Status can be conferred on individuals who are not our employees but who are associated with the University in an academic capacity.  They may be contributing to the teaching and learning of the University and/or may be using the University’s facilities to undertake research or other academic work. Although not directly employed, H/V Academics need to be mindful of the University's reputation, must not do anything to put this at risk and must conform to University policies.  IT/Ucard access may also be requested for H/V Academics where it is considered appropriate, but is not automatically given,

Honorary Academic engagements are typically open-ended arrangements. The end date is essentially a review date and will typically take place three years from the start date. For Visiting Academics, an end date will be specified at the outset, although this may be extended.  In both cases, any IT/Ucard access that has been granted as part of the arrangement will expire automatically unless an extension is requested (see Section 6 below).

Associate Status can be conferred on individuals who require unsupervised access to University buildings, libraries and/or IT systems for a significant period of time, to carry out work for or with the University (who are not our employees and who are not acting in an H/V Academic capacity).  They might be consultants, representatives from organisations collaborating with UoB, or providing services to UoB, self-employed individuals or casual staff who need IT access for a period of time.  Associate Status is granted for a maximum of 12 months at a time but can be extended.  IT/Ucard access will expire automatically on the end date, unless an extension is requested (see Section 6 below).

For an individual to be granted Associate status there must be an appropriate agreement in place covering the work to be undertaken by the Associate. This could be an agreement between the individual and the University (e.g. consultancy contract for services, work experience placement letter, etc) or an agreement between the individual’s employer and the University (e.g. supplier contract, research agreement, collaboration agreement, partnership agreement, agency contract, etc.). It is important that the Sponsor confirms that such an agreement is in place and that it covers relevant matters such as intellectual property, confidentiality etc.  If further advice is required on this subject, please contact the appropriate person as detailed in the document Contracts Guidance: Who to go to 

Given that an appropriate agreement already exists for Associates, there is no need for a separate contract as there is for H/V Academics.

Short Term Guests or Visitors do not need H/V or Associate statusThere are separate arrangements in place for IT visitor access or UCard visitor access only.

Hourly-paid teachers do not need H/V Academic or Associate status. They automatically have IT access and a Ucard. For more information see the HPT information pages.

TSS (Temporary  Staffing Service) and CAG (Casual, Academic and Guest) workers have their IT access and Ucard arranged through the TSS and do not need to fill out an Associate or H/V Academic form.

Individuals (personally or via their employer) renting University space under a shared services arrangement (i.e. not undertaking work directly for or with the University) should not be given H/V or Associate status. Separate arrangements are being developed to provide building/IT access in this scenario. Queries should be addressed to the Manager of the space concerned.

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2. Applicable Policies, Procedures and Forms and the H/V Academic Contract Template

These are all listed at the top of this document.

3. The Role of the Sponsor

Every H/V Academic or Associate must have a Sponsor. This will be the University of Bristol staff member who initiated the request to grant H/V Academic or Associate status.  The Sponsor will work closely with their local Honorary & Associate Co-ordinator (see Section 4) to arrange H/V Academic or Associate status.

Heads of School (for H/V Academics) and School/Section Managers (for Associates) are ultimately responsible for the appointment, but day-to-day oversight is the duty of the Sponsor.  The Head of School (for H/V Academics) or School/Section Manager (for Associates) must ensure that the Sponsor is aware of their responsibilities.   

Sponsors are responsible for:

  • initiating the request to grant H/V or Associate status by fully completing the appropriate form (see Section 2 above);
  • ensuring that the H/V Academic or Associate receives a proper induction and undertakes all required training including information security modules and other essential training (see Section 12, below);
  • ensuring that risk assessments are undertaken where appropriate;
  • reviewing the status at the appropriate time and ensuring academic titles are withdrawn when the individual’s association with the University ends.

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4. The Role of the Honorary & Associate Co-ordinator

Honorary & Associate Co-ordinators (also referred to in this document as Co-ordinators) are based locally within Faculties/Schools/Divisions and are responsible for supporting the Sponsor and facilitating arrangements for H/V Academics and Associates. They ensure that: 

  • the correct forms are completed in full and sent to the correct people for authorisation
  • completed and authorised forms are sent to HR Employee Services to record the individual in MyERP
  • in cases of H/V Academics, the Honorary/Visiting Academic Contract template (Office document, 46kB) is sent to, signed and returned by the proposed H/V Academic
  • the Sponsor is supported in carrying out an induction for the individual(s)
  • reviews or extensions are carried out when necessary.

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5. H/V Academics - Process for requesting and extending

5.1 Process for Requesting New H/V Academic Status

  1. The Sponsor sends the individual an H/V Academic Status Request Form (see Section 2, above) asking them to complete Sections A and B and return the form along with a CV and biography.  The Co-ordinator may send the form on behalf of the Sponsor.
  2. On return of the form, the Sponsor completes their section and sends the form, CV and biography to the Head of School.  It is important to ensure that the correct H/V Academic category is requested to reflect the person’s contribution to the University’s teaching and research (see Appendix 1 below). A category should be selected in all cases. This will become the person’s role title, although it is possible to request a Personalised Role title where appropriate.  Further information is given in Appendix 2 below.   
  3. The Head of School and Dean approve or reject the application.  
  4. The Co-ordinator will, on receipt of a fully completed and approved request form:
    • produce the H/V Academic Contract (see Section 2, above)
    • arrange for the H/V Academic Contract to be signed by the Sponsor or appropriate person
    • send the H/V Academic Contract to the H/V academic asking them to sign and return an original copy
    • only on receipt of a signed H/V Academic Contract from the individual, email a copy of the completed H/V Academic Status Request Form (scanning in if necessary) to HR Employee Services who will set up the record in MyERP. This will trigger the process for provisioning of IT access and a UCard where applicable.
    • in a secure location, file copies of the approved request form, CV and signed contract. Do not leave these as email attachments.

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5.2. Process for Extending H/V Academic Status

Three months before the three-year anniversary of the Honorary Academic appointment (or in the case of Visiting Academics, one month before the end date), an email alert will be sent to the Co-ordinator (and also to the Sponsor where the Sponsor details have been recorded in MyERP) prompting them to review whether the H/V Academic status should continue.  The Co-ordinator should check with the Sponsor whether extension/continuation is required.  If continuation/extension is required:

  1. The Sponsor must complete a new Honorary/Visiting Academic Form (Office document, 87kB) confirming details of the proposed extension
  2. The form should be forwarded to the Head of School/Dean for authorisation.
  3. On receipt of a completed and authorised form, the Sponsor or Co-ordinator emails it (scanning first if necessary) to HR Employee Services who will update the record in MyERP.

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6. Associate Status - Process for Requesting and Extending

  1. The Sponsor (or Co-ordinator) sends the individual an Associate Form (see Section 2, above). 
  2. On return of the form, the Sponsor fully completes their section and uses the form to gain approval from the School/Section Manager. It is important to ensure that the correct Associate status is requested from the categories listed. A category should be selected in all cases. This will become the person’s role title, although it is possible to request a Personalised Role title where appropriate.  Further information is given in Appendix 2 below.  
  3. Once the form is approved, the Co-ordinator will send a copy to HR Employee Services who will set up the record in MyERP.
  4. The Co-ordinator will file copies of the authorised request form and any H/V Academic Contracts in a secure location (scanning in if necessary).  Do not leave these as email attachments.
  5. Once HR have created a record in MyERP, an IT account and Ucard account will be automatically created.  This may take up to two working days.  The individual will be able to collect their Ucard from Security Services at Royal Fort Lodge.

At the end of the Associate Status period:

  1. The Co-ordinator will receive an alert one month (and again one week) before the end date.  The Co-ordinator should contact the Sponsor to find out if there is a need for an extension.
  2. If an extension is required, the Sponsor completes an Associate Form (Office document, 71kB)‌ as before, ticking ‘Extension of existing status request’ instead of ‘New status request’ in Section B.
  3. The Sponsor/Co-ordinator will obtain the relevant approvals.
  4. The Co-ordinator will send the authorised form to HR Employee Services who will update the record in MyERP.

Associate status is granted for a maximum of 12 months at a time. IT/Ucard access will expire automatically if no extension is requested. 

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7. Student email accounts

Any University of Bristol students who are given Associate Status will be set up with an Outlook account which they can access via the Office 365 Portal using their University username and password. Once this happens:

  • All emails from University staff, services and PGRs will automatically go to the student’s Outlook account.
  • All emails sent to the student's account, from fellow taught students or someone outside the University, will go to their Outlook account.
  • All emails sent to the student's account, from fellow taught students or someone outside the University, will go to their Gmail account.

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8. Budget Holder or Line Manager Status

If budget holder status is required, the Co-ordinator should contact the  Faculty/Professional Services Finance team.  For line manager status, the Sponsor should contact HR Employee Services to discuss.

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9. Bench Fees

Where an H/V Academic appointment results from a request from an individual to use the University’s facilities it may be appropriate to charge that individual a ‘bench fee’.  Faculties should determine their own local policy outlining when this would be appropriate and detailing any charges.

If a bench fee needs to be paid by an H/V Academic, the Co-ordinator should contact the Faculty/Professional Services Finance team to arrange for the academic to be invoiced.

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10. H/V Clinical Staff

Where the H/V Academic is an NHS clinician taking on teaching/research responsibilities in the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Sponsor/Co-ordinator should make the request as normal. HR Employee Services will issue an H/V Academic Contract of Employment for NHS Clinicians. This is in addition to any standard H/V status letter issued by the School.

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11. Building and IT Access

Building and IT access will be granted automatically for all Associates, but for H/V Academics, this is only granted where it has been specifically requested on the form.

Where awarded, access is triggered by the creation of an H/V / Associate record on MyERP.  For H/V Academics, it is essential that forms are only forwarded to HR to set up the record after the H/V Academic contract has been signed and returned. Building access is granted as per the University’s Building Access Control Policy.

The Sponsor is responsible for ensuring that Associates and H/V Academics have any health and safety induction relevant to the building or space in which they will work.

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12. Essential Training

As part of the induction process, all H/V Academics and Associates are required to undertake essential training in the following areas:

  • Equality and Diversity
  • Health and Safety
  • Fraud Awareness
  • GDPR (Information Security and Data Protection)

The training modules can be accessed at

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13. Intellectual Property (applicable to H/V Academics only)

A) Role Purpose

When the Co-ordinator prepares the H/V Academic contract they must include the description of work to be carried out by the roleholder.  This needs to be written carefully by the Sponsor and included in the H/V Status Request Form. It must be wide enough to accurately capture all work that could be carried out by the H/V Academic, so it is clear which work the IP clause in the contract does, and does not, apply to.

Some examples are given below: 

  • Researcher example: “undertake a research study of the Quality of Life Effects of Children under 5 who have been hospitalised with an upper respiratory tract infection.”
  • Visiting Industrial Professor example: “as detailed in the attached Terms of Reference agreed with the University’s Faculty of ……”]

For renewals, the Sponsor must review the previous description of work and provide an updated version in the H/V Status Request Form.

B) Intellectual Property Clause in H/V Academic Contract

If the work being undertaken by the H/V Academic is governed by an IP clause in a separate agreement, then the Sponsor must tick the appropriate box on the H/V Academic Request Form (‘Option 3’) and provide a copy of the signed agreement. When drafting the IP section of the Honorary/Visiting Academic Contract template (Office document, 46kB), the paragraph labelled ‘Option 3’ should be used.

In all other cases, when completing the H/V Academic form the Sponsor must consider who will own any IP generated by the H/V Academic while performing their role at the University (note - this question must be answered by the Sponsor).

The proposed IP ownership will need to be approved by the Head of School.  The Honorary/Associate Co-ordinator should ensure that the information provided by the Sponsor in relation to the IP questions on the form is used to select the relevant paragraphs in the Honorary/Visiting Academic Contract template (Office document, 46kB).

The contract provides for two scenarios (in addition to the third mentioned above)*:

  1. The University will own the IP (’Option 1’ on the form/in the letter); or
  2. The H/V academic or their employer will own the IP (’Option 2’ on the form/in the letter).

 *The contract does not provide for shared ownership of IP, as shared ownership requires complex considerations and is generally not recommended. If shared ownership of IP is required, the Sponsor and the Co-ordinator will need to take legal advice from the Secretary’s Office about the wording to go into the IP clause of the contract. Neither does the contract provide for no IP being generated. This is because IP can be generated by even routine tasks (hand-outs, slides, charts etc).

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14. Insurance

Individuals with H/V or Associate status are responsible for the security and safety of any personal possessions they bring onto University premises and should arrange appropriate insurance themselves. The University has only very limited contingent insurance cover for visitors’ property.

Both Employers Liability and Public Liability insurance policies are held in the event the University is held legally liable for death, injury or work-related illness of Associates or H/V Academics.

The University does not have personal accident insurance for Associates or H/V Academics.  Associates or H/V Academics are advised to make their own arrangements.

If an H/V Academic travels abroad specifically on University of Bristol business, they can apply for travel insurance.  Information can be found on the Secretary's Office travel insurance information page.

Where teaching, research or consultancy work is undertaken on behalf of the University of Bristol for students or outside clients, individuals with H/V Academic Status undertaking such work are indemnified under the University’s Professional Negligence insurance. Note that contractual arrangements and funding for the work must be via the University. Private research, consultancy or teaching work or work undertaken on behalf of other organisations is not insured under the University of Bristol arrangements.

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15. Visas

Individuals coming from outside of the UK (unless they hold pre-settled or settled status) for academic and research purposes will nearly always require entry clearance and in some cases will require an ATAS certificate, see below.

VISA requirements and ATAS

ATAS is a UK government scheme which provides a vetting service for students and researchers from certain countries. This scheme was original for students who had an offer to study at a UK HEI in certain, sensitive subjects. However, the Home Office has decided to extend the scheme to researchers and as of 21st May 2021, it is a legal requirement for relevant individuals to hold an ATAS certificate. The aim is to prevent technology research/knowledge from being used to support military programmes “of significant concern” overseas. Please find full details of the ATAS scheme here. 

If you’re a researcher coming to the UK as a visitor, you may need to obtain an ATAS certificate before beginning any relevant research activity in the UK. However you do not need to do so before you apply for a UK visa (where relevant).

If you need an ATAS certificate as a visitor, you do not have to obtain this before applying for a visa but you should obtain it before travelling to the UK. The HEI/research institute must check the ATAS certificate before allowing the research to start, and if this is not provided you will not be permitted on-site.
For more information please see the guidance on UK visas and immigration information for managers and staff.

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16. Visibility on Explore Bristol Research Portal

The Co-ordinator should advise H/V Academics of the following:

The Explore Bristol Research Portal (EBRP) is a searchable and browsable view of research related information drawing directly from records maintained in Pure (the University Research Information System). 

By default, H/V Academics will not be granted an EBRP profile. However, any H/V Academic may request a research profile by contacting

Further information and user guidance about Pure and EBRP is available at

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Care should be taken to ensure that Honorary and Visiting titles reflect an individual’s contribution to the University’s teaching and research.  The summary below gives a broad overview of the contribution expected at each level; however, it is recommended that sponsors refer to the University’s Academic Role Profiles to ensure the appropriate title is given. 

All titles will be preceded with the word ‘Honorary’ or ‘Visiting’ as appropriate.

Research/Teaching Associates will normally be responsible, usually under close supervision for:

  • straightforward teaching and/or clinical work, or;
  • assisting an individual research leader or team to conduct a particular study (or group of studies). 

Senior Research Associate/Lecturer will be:

  • experienced and professional researchers and will be subject specialists, drawing upon knowledge gained from postgraduate research or;
  • responsible for straightforward teaching at levels appropriate to their specialism and may be helping to organise such teaching, and/or;
  • combining teaching and research responsibilities in ways appropriate to the early stage of an academic career.

Research Fellow

Fellows will:

  • have substantial experience of research (normally not less than six years) and will initiate and take responsibility for some research projects, or;
  • have significant experience of university teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and may take responsibility for some aspects of the management of teaching

Senior Research Fellow/Senior Lecturer

Senior Fellows/Lecturers will:

  • have an established reputation within their academic discipline and will be leading collaborative research of national, if not international, quality.
  • teaching on, and taking lead roles in developing and overseeing, teaching programmes at all levels (including new courses and programmes)

Associate Professor

As above, but with the expectation that they will be performing at the level of Professor in the near future.


Honorary Professors will enjoy a high reputation internationally, make invaluable contributions based on an extensive track record; their principal experience and expertise comes from either industry; innovative research; teaching and/or a recognised contribution to the discipline through professional activities. 

Industrial Fellow/Professor

Where an individual does not have the academic credentials normally associated with an H/V academic title, yet are of such standing that an H/V title is an appropriate reflection of their national and international achievements in business and/or society*.

*See Personalised Role Titles in Appendix 2, below.

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Personalised role titles may be requested to clarify the purpose of the role where this would otherwise be unclear from the category title selected in the request form. 

For Academic Status, examples include those where the title H/V ‘Industrial’ Professor/Fellow may be inappropriate. Examples of alternative titles are: "Honorary Professor (Child and Family Welfare)” or "Visiting Fellow (Community Engagement)”. 

For Associate Status an example might be: “External Consultant” instead of “Third Party Organisation”.

The appropriate category should still be selected in the request form in such cases but where a personalised title is agreed, this will be used instead of the generic title.

Note: Personalised titles must be meaningful, relevant, and appropriate to the role being undertaken and in particular, must not be used to award academic status where this has not been given by the relevant policy. This is important to a) ensure compliance with University policy governing such roles, and b) prevent misrepresentation by individuals and the associated legal risks to UoB.

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