Restructuring Professional Services Support for Researcher Development
28 Jul 2021
A message from Dr Andrew Walsh, Director of Research and Business Engagement
Our University is committed to providing a more focussed and coordinated approach to researcher development in order to deliver enhanced and equitable support for researchers, in accordance with the vision for researcher development set out in the University’s research strategy and the objectives of the new Academic and Researcher Development Board (ARDB).
To achieve this, the University’s Policy and Resources Committee has approved proposals to restructure professional services (PS) for researcher development to create a single team to coordinate and manage training and development for researchers across the University.
The proposals will result in a change to the number of posts required and their nature. In total there is a proposed reduction of 2 posts at Grade 7. In total 5 roles are in scope, and 3 roles are in scope and at risk. Details of the proposed new structure, roles and grades are available on Staffnet.
The University’s Board of Governors has now approved entering into formal consultation with the campus trade unions on proposed changes to the Research Degrees and Researcher Development Team in RBE and Researcher Development Teams in FSE and FoH. Staff in FBMH currently based in the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development (CARD), who deliver some Research Development Services as a small part of their role, will not be in scope of this review but will be subject to a later review.
The proposals have been developed in response to the Review of Professional and Career Development Training for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and research staff undertaken for Manchester Doctoral College and Research Staff Strategy Group in June 2019, which made recommendations to improve the organisation and delivery of development activity to enhance the quality and accessibility of training for all PGRs and research staff. The relevance of these recommendations were reinforced by the satisfaction responses in PGR, Research staff and Presidential Fellows surveys and feedback in focus groups conducted this year.
The proposed single team will be created to ensure that we provide high quality training and development across the University, to better meet the needs of PGRs, research staff, research fellows, early career academics and research supervisors.
A targeted voluntary severance scheme will be offered to those colleagues in scope and at risk. If the voluntary severance scheme is not effective in achieving the required target reductions, then the University will seek approval from the Board of Governors to proceed to a compulsory scheme.
We will ensure that this process is conducted fairly and transparently in line with our policies and procedures, and we will explore opportunities for the avoidance of compulsory redundancy where possible, including redeployment and retraining.
All changes involving people that are undertaken by our University are given very careful and serious consideration. While these changes are essential, we recognise that this is an anxious time for those colleagues likely to be affected by the proposals.
As a result, Senior Faculty Leaders and I will continue to have regular conversations with colleagues who are affected by the process.
Dr Andrew Walsh
Director of Research and Business Engagement