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Researcher development

The University is committed to supporting the personal, professional and career development of our PGRs and research staff. The range of personal, professional and career development training is extensive and is provided by researcher development teams within the Faculties, the Library, Staff Learning and Development (research staff only), Careers (PGRs only). Two University groups facilitate and coordinate cross Faculty discussions relating to the professional and career development training and opportunities open to PGRs and research staff, namely the Researcher Development Group and the Research Staff Strategy Group. 

Career Development of Research Staff Statement of Expectations

The University holds the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award as recognition of the processes put in place to support researchers in line with the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. This Statement is based on the University’s commitment to the Concordat and sets out the expectations and mutual responsibility of research staff, PIs and the University with the aim of creating a supportive environment in which researchers are able to work and develop their careers.


In this context, the University of Manchester defines Research staff as individuals whose primary responsibility is to conduct research. This Statement is of particular relevance to those supported by grants, usually of a fixed duration, from external funding bodies. A Principal Investigator (PI) is the lead researcher for a project and takes prime responsibility for directing the research and for managing and developing the research staff with whom they are working.


Research Staff Responsibilities

Researchers are responsible for planning and managing the development of their own career and for ensuring via discussions with their PI/line manager that they are clear about their roles and responsibilities within the research project.

Leadership and Management

Career Support and Development

  • It is recommended that all research staff spend up to ten days on professional and career development opportunities; this includes a broad range of activities such as networking, conference attendance, committee involvement, publishing, preparing research grant applications and public engagement as well as face-to-face or on-line training. Faculty researcher development teams, Staff Learning and Development and the Library offer a range of training and development opportunities.  
  • In discussion with your PI/line manager and your Faculty researcher development team identify a suitable mentor.
  • Discuss your career plans with your PI/line manager and identify your development needs in relation to both the project and your longer term aspirations.

Research Environment

  • Participate in networks, committees and research staff forums at divisional, department, School, Faculty and University level.
  • In agreement with your PI/line manager, consider undertaking activities outside of your project such as teaching and supervision, social responsibility activities including knowledge exchange and public engagement activities.
  • Participate in divisional, departmental and School level research seminars and activities.


If you have a concern about the opportunities for career development or the way in which you have been managed, the first step is to try and resolve this through discussion with your PI/line manager. If it is not appropriate to speak to your PI/line manager then you should contact the Head of Department/Division/School and consult with HR for advice. 


PI Responsibilities

PIs, as line managers, have a key role to play in providing a supportive environment for their research staff by allowing them to make the best use of their abilities and encouraging them to progress their careers.

Leadership and Management

Career Support and Development

  • Encourage all of the research staff you are responsible for, irrespective of the length of their contract, to discuss their career plans and development needs; support them to spend up to ten days on professional and career development opportunities and to access the training and development opportunities provided by Faculty researcher development teams, Staff Learning and Development and the Library
  • Support and encourage research staff to identify a suitable mentor.
  • Support research staff, where appropriate, to apply for all types of research grant funding and independent Fellowships, signpost research staff to School based research services

Research Environment

  • Encourage research staff to engage in a wide range of networks and activities including developing interdisciplinary research collaborations.
  • Ensure research staff are appropriately acknowledged and credited for their contributions to both the research project and any wider University activities they have undertaken.
  • Ensure research staff are able to take their full annual leave allowance.


Institutional Responsibilities

The University is committed to ensuring that research staff are supported, managed and developed.

Leadership and Management

  • The Research Staff Strategy Group (RSSG) will periodically review the content of this Statement to ensure continued relevance, assess uptake and awareness of PIs and research staff via the staff survey and report issues for consideration to the University Research Group.
  • The University will implement the Concordat Action Plan (CAP), renew the HR Excellence in Research award and align the actions within the CAP with the Athena Swan and Race Equality Charters and ensure research staff are considered in these.
  • RSSG will work with HR and Faculty researcher development teams to ensure the delivery of an effective induction process and an online research staff handbook.
  • A regular monthly update to all research staff will be used to communicate relevant policies, announcements and initiatives. 
  • Appropriate divisional/departmental, School, Faculty and University committees are encouraged to ensure the integration and representation of research staff.
  • The University will promote relevant funding opportunities, including the University Fellowship scheme, to nurture, support, retain and attract excellent researchers. 

Career Support and Development

Research Environment

  • The University encourages the use of recognition and reward systems for research staff.
  • RSSG will disseminate and promote examples of good practice in relation to the support and development of research staff.
  • The University will provide and promote initiatives to encourage participation in wellbeing.

Researcher Development Group

The Researcher Development Group meets bimonthly for cross Faculty discussion and coordination relating to training provision and researcher development activities for both PGRs and Research Staff.

Internal Content Review Process

Terms of Reference October 2018

Research Staff Strategy Group

The Research Staff Strategy Group meets bimonthly and is convened as a forum for cross Faculty discussions in relation to the personal and career development of University research staff and to develop a University wide strategy for the development of research staff.

Terms of Reference and Membership November 2018

International Conference Fund for Research Staff

The University has introduced a new International Conference Fund to provide support to research staff to attend and present at international conferences. 

Researchers with an accepted paper at an international conference can apply to their Faculty for a contribution to the conference fee, accommodation, travel and subsistence costs up to a maximum value of £500. 

Faculties are responsible for the administration of this fund, for further information and application forms contact your Faculty.

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Research Staff Conference 10 October 2019

A University wide conference for all research staff, 'Thinking Ahead - Developing your Career', will be held on 10 October 2019. Programme and booking arrangements will be open from May. 

Research Collaboration Fund for Research Staff

The Research Collaboration Fund aims to provide support to research staff to establish a collaborative research project with a cross disciplinary partner. The fund is an opportunity for research staff to build their interdisciplinary research and develop a collaborative research grant or fellowship application.

Applicants can apply for costs up to a maximum of £5000 to cover travel, meeting and workshop costs with a cross disciplinary partner to explore opportunities for future collaborative funding bids and/or staff and consumable costs for feasibility and pilot studies or preliminary research data collection in an interdisciplinary area which has the potential to lead to an external funding bid. 

To apply please follow your Faculty guidelines.

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Research Staff Forums

The University has a large community of research staff (c.2000) who make a significant contribution to the University's research strategy. The University's network of research staff representatives and research forums feed into discussions and decision making at all levels and help create a positive working environment for all researchers. Details of Faculty reps and forums are provided here.

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Research Staff Forum

Faculty of Science and Engineering Research Staff Forum

Research Staff Representaitves on University's Researcher Development Group

Dr Claudia Lindner, School of Health Sciences

Dr Hanan Messiha, School of Natural Sciences

Research Staff Representatives on University's Research Staff Strategy Group

Dr Tom Bannan, School of Natural Sciences

Dr Joan Chang, School of Biological Sciences

Dr Deborah Ralls, School of Education, Environment and Development