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Research Academic Career Structure Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objectives

(1) This policy aims to provide appropriate employment conditions for research staff who may have limited administrative functions and/or minimal or no teaching requirement. It sets out position classification standards and titles which parallel those of academic staff.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(2) Nil

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Section 3 - Definitions

(3) 'Research' - Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, understandings, inventions and applications of this knowledge. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes. This definition of research encompasses pure and strategic basic research, applied research and experimental development. Applied research is original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge but directed towards a specific, practical aim or objective (including a client-driven purpose) and which may include patentable inventions or innovations.

  1. This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development (R&D) as comprising of creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.
  2. Activities that do not satisfy the definition of research include:
    1. scientific and technical information services;
    2. general purpose or routine data collection;
    3. standardisation and routine testing;
    4. feasibility studies (except into research and experimental development projects);
    5. specialised routine medical care;
    6. commercial, legal and administrative aspects of patenting, copyright or licensing activities; and
    7. routine computer programming, systems work or software maintenance..

(4) 'Research academic staff' - are staff who are engaged primarily to conduct, lead or direct research but who may be required to undertake some research supervision, limited administrative functions primarily related to the research activities and/or minimal teaching.

(5) 'Scholarly activities' - include editing journals and books, undertaking higher degrees or obtaining comparable qualifications, presenting scholarly papers and addresses, refereeing or reviewing publications, keeping abreast of advances in the field through reading and conference or seminar attendance and staff development for scholarly activity.

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

Position Titles

(6) Research staff employed by the University will be accorded the position titles adopted in this policy and set out below:

  Teaching and Research Academic Research Academic
Level A Lecturer A Research Officer
Level B Lecturer B Research Fellow
Level C Senior Lecturer Senior Research Fellow
Level D Associate Professor Principal Research Fellow
Level E Professor Professorial Research Fellow

(7) Note: Where reference is made in University legislation to specific academic titles, the titles shall include the equivalent research academic classification title, e.g. Professor and Associate Professor shall include Principal Research Fellow and Professorial Research Fellow respectively.

General Responsibilities

(8) The levels of Research Academic listed in 5.3 below are differentiated by level of complexity, degree of autonomy, leadership requirements of the position and level of achievement of the research academic. The responsibilities of research academic staff may vary according to the specific requirements of the University to meet its objectives, to different discipline requirements and/or to individual staff development.

(9) A research academic appointed to a particular level may be assigned, and may be expected, to undertake responsibilities and functions of any level up to and including the level to which the research academic is appointed or promoted including limited teaching and/or administration consistent with the level of the appointment. In addition, a research academic may undertake elements of the work of a higher level in order to gain experience and expertise consistent with the requirements of the University's promotion processes.

Research Minimum Standards for Academic Levels (inclusive of creative disciplines)

(10) The research position classification standards as set out below describe broad categories of responsibility attached to academics in research positions.

Level A Title: Research Officer (Equivalent: Lecturer A)

(11) A Level A researcher will typically conduct research/scholarly activities under limited supervision either individually or as a member of a team and will normally hold a relevant higher degree.

(12) A Level A research academic will normally work under the supervision of academic staff at Level B or above, with an increasing degree of autonomy as the research academic gains skills and experience. A Level A research academic may undertake limited teaching, may supervise at undergraduate level and may publish the results of the research conducted as sole author or in collaboration. (Consistent with the University's Code of Conduct for Research as it applies to qualifications for authorship and consistent with the University's Intellectual Property Policy .)

(13) He or she will undertake administration primarily relating to his or her activities at the University.

Level B Title: Research Fellow (Equivalent: Lecturer B)

(14) A Level B research academic will normally have experience in research or scholarly activities which have resulted in publications in refereed journals or other demonstrated scholarly activities.

(15) A Level B research academic will carry out independent and/or team research. A Level B research academic may supervise postgraduate research students or projects and be involved in research training.

Level C Title: Senior Research Fellow (Equivalent: Senior Lecturer)

(16) A Level C research academic will make independent and original contributions to research which have a significant impact on his or her field of expertise.

(17) The work of the research academic will be acknowledged at a national level as being influential in expanding the knowledge of his or her discipline. This standing will normally be demonstrated by a strong record of published work or other demonstrated scholarly activities.

(18) A Level C research academic will provide leadership in research including research training and supervision.

Level D Title: Principal Research Fellow (Equivalent: Associate Professor)

(19) A Level D research academic will make major original and innovative contributions to his or her field of study or research, which are recognised as outstanding nationally or internationally.

(20) A Level D research academic will play an outstanding role within the University, discipline and/or profession, in fostering the research activities of others and in research training.

Level E Title: Professorial Research Fellow (Equivalent: Professor)

(21) A Level E research academic will typically have achieved international recognition through original, innovative and distinguished contributions to his or her field of research, which is demonstrated by sustained and distinguished performance.

(22) A Level E research academic will provide leadership in his or her field of research, within the University, discipline and/or profession and within the scholarly and/or general community. He or she will foster excellence in research, research policy and research training.

Qualification expectations

(23) For the purposes of this policy the University will list the following qualification requirements in advertisements for vacant Research Academic positions:

  1. Research Officer: a relevant higher degree, preferably at doctoral level, together with a demonstrated research record.
  2. Research Fellow: doctoral qualifications or equivalent accreditation and standing together with a substantial research record. (Research record" is evidenced by externally-based performance, including peer reviewed publications and/or external research grants/contracts or external development grants.)
  3. Senior Research Fellow: doctoral qualification by research or equivalent accreditation and standing and a significant research record. (Research record" is evidenced by externally-based performance, including peer reviewed publications and/or external research grants/contracts or external development grants.)
  4. Principal Research Fellow: doctoral qualification by research or equivalent accreditation and standing together with an outstanding track record of all or some of the following:
    1. gaining external competitive research and/or development grants;
    2. publication in peer reviewed journals or equivalent;
    3. commercialisation of research (if relevant to the field);
    4. membership of external professional committees; and
    5. membership of editorial panels.
  5. Professorial Research Fellow: doctoral qualification by research or equivalent accreditation and standing, together with an outstanding track record in some or all of the following:
    1. gaining external competitive research grants;
    2. publication in peer reviewed journals or equivalent;
    3. commercialisation of research (if relevant to the field);
    4. membership of external professional committees; and
    5. membership of editorial panels.
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Section 5 - Procedures

(24) See Research Academic Career Structure Procedure .

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Section 6 - Guidelines

(25) Nil