Once you become a Principal Investigator or leader of a research project you are likely to be expected to line manage researchers. Taking on this formal management role draws on many of the same skills as supervising a doctorate. However, as a manager, the nature of the relationship is different and you will need to understand how your new role is governed by both law and institutional regulations.
Researchers rights and responsibilities
The national picture
Employment conditions for research staff are beginning to change in recognition of the importance of your contribution to the UK economy and the UK's competitiveness and standing in the world.
Since 2002 there has been a Government Review SET for Success, a 'European Charter for Researchers' and a 'Code of Conduct for the recruitment of researchers', which have had a far-reaching impact on the employment terms and conditions for research staff.
These policy initiatives have been subsumed into a revised Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, which sets out the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders. It aims to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK and to improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy.
The key messages of the Concordat are that:
- employers and funders should provide for equal and fair terms and conditions of the recruitment and employment for all research staff
- research staff should have access to, and be encouraged to participate in, personal and career development
- research staff share the responsibility for their development and should seek out and avail themselves of opportunities to develop
In practice this means that research staff should receive (and pro-actively engage with):
- induction to the institution, the department and the role
- a probationary period to offer a period of protected development (if appropriate)
- regular professional development review
- representation on institutional and departmental committees, as appropriate
- acknowledgement of your intellectual property in the writing of research applications and publications and the commercialisation of research
- the same rights and responsibilities under UK and European law as any other employee.
The institutional picture
This ambition is made explicit in the University’s Concordat Implementation Plan.
For practical guidance for supporting the Concordat, you might also be interested in the Vitae Briefings for Research Managers.
The Research Staff Handbook has been developed as a getting started resource for research staff new to the University. It includes key contacts, useful induction checklist, university policies, support information, and details about the Researcher Development Agenda. Managers of researchers might also find this a useful guide.