Roles in this family are wholly or mainly focused on academic or research activities. They may combine elements of research, teaching and leadership or management, but the relative emphasis on these elements and the nature of the contribution will vary. Some roles will be more orientated towards research, while others will tend to concentrate on teaching, leadership and management activities. In the higher levels, there will be considerable reputation in the UK and internationally, and significant impact on the discipline or profession and on research income. 

Research job family levels and guidance

Principal Research fellow

Summary

Roles at this level reflect internationally recognised leadership and a substantial and sustained reputation in research and education by outstanding contributions to its advancement. In research, there will be a sustained international reputation based on an extensive track record of research with a major influence on the discipline or profession and a significant impact shown, for example in sustained influence on research income. In education, specialists at this level will have broadened and deepened their impact on teaching methods and systems, both internally and externally and there will be evidence of creative and scholarly work which has had a significant impact. For either role, there will generally be significant leadership responsibilities on behalf of the department and/or the College and a significant management contribution.

Principal Research Fellows undertake a complementary, but different, role to that of a Professor and, given that research is their major focus they must, unquestionably, be international research leaders in their field.
  • Outstanding contribution to research and scholarship, evidenced by an established international reputation in research
  • Provide academic leadership through managing large-scale units and/or projects
  • Ability to attract funding from major research programmes
  • The primary focus will be research of high quality; this will usually involve leading a team of research staff, technicians, administrative staff, and research students.   Evidence of leadership in line with Imperial Expectations
  • Proven ability to inspire colleagues to develop their own research potential
  • International research leaders in their field

Senior Research Fellow

Summary

Roles at this level commonly reflect extensive professional experience. Individuals will have a substantial reputation in their field and make a significant impact on their discipline or profession through effective and innovative academic leadership in research and/or education. Roles which focus on research will involve an established national and international reputation through original research work and a clear record of impact shown, for example in substantial and sustained research income. Other roles will combine an established research profile with a focus on teaching, research student supervision, course development and departmental leadership and management activity.

Senior Research Fellows will hold an established national and international research reputation and are often team leaders and directors of research projects. The research profile must be commensurate to that of a Reader/Associate Professor.
  • Requires extensive research experience
  • Quality of research is evidenced by substantial output of refereed publications and reports in prestigious publications, invitations to speak at national and international conferences, and general public dissemination of knowledge.
  • Will have an established national and international reputation.
  • Will have the ability to attract significant external research funding and to devise and direct research projects.
  • Primary focus will be research of high quality; this will usually involve leading a team of research staff, technicians, administrative staff, and research students.   Evidence of leadership in line with Imperial Expectations

Advanced Research Fellow

Summary

Roles at this level are held by individuals experienced in research and/or teaching, usually after progression from Research Associate. In some cases, their contribution spans research and education (teaching, leadership and management), although the relative importance of each of these strands may vary considerably from role to role. The research has measurable outcomes and is reflected in growing national reputation; education may involve innovation in course design and/or delivery; and the contribution to the department through leadership and management may be significant.

To progress into the Advanced Research Fellow grade:
  • Based on Head of Department’s recommendation during annual pay relativity review.
  • Recommendation that the Research Fellow progresses into the advanced grade pay points is subject to Dean’s approval.  
  • The recommendation should note evidence of progress on the way to meeting the criteria for promotion to Senior Research Fellow.  
  • Increasing research leadership skills should be evident, together with distinctive contributions to research activity and effective people management and interpersonal skills that enhance research results and are in line with Imperial Expectations;  evidence of active coaching and mentoring of others and an obvious commitment to personal development; higher than average outputs for a Research Fellow in publications and successful grant awards would be expected, alongside a growing national reputation and a nascent international reputation in their field, receiving invitations to speak at national and/or international conferences.  Provision of consultancy or expert advice would also be taken into account.
  • Demonstrates growth in ability and effectiveness in all teaching related activities in the educational aspects of the role.

Please note that Research Fellows and Advanced Research Fellows are expected to contribute to learning, teaching and education; the degree of contribution will be governed by any rules governing funding for the post.

Research Fellow

Summary

Roles at this level are held by individuals experienced in research and/or teaching, usually after progression from Research Associate. In some cases, their contribution spans research and education (teaching, leadership and management), although the relative importance of each of these strands may vary considerably from role to role. The research has measurable outcomes and is reflected in growing national reputation; education may involve innovation in course design and/or delivery; and the contribution to the department through leadership and management may be significant.

To progress into the Research Fellow Grade:
  • Demonstrable evidence of experience in chosen field and, normally, a PhD
  • Able to formulate research questions and develop successful research proposals and funding bids
  • Works effectively, both independently and collaboratively
  • Designs, plans and leads high-quality original research, project managing the research activity, ensuring the requisite deliverables are achieved and, where applicable, supervising and taking responsibility for research team colleagues
  • Demonstrated success in delivering research results with evidence of national recognition and a growing reputation
  • Evidence of a strong publication record in high quality and respected publications and journals
  • Experience of presenting results and findings to specialist and non-specialist audiences e.g. at conferences or engaging with the public on science
  • Supervises undergraduate/postgraduate students and postdoctoral research staff

Please note that Research Fellows and Advanced Research Fellows are expected to contribute to learning, teaching and education; the degree of contribution will be governed by any rules governing funding for the post

  • Teaches and examines courses to all levels, i.e. undergraduate, masters and higher research degree students, through lectures, seminars, course work, tutorials and personal supervision
  • Contributes to the development of teaching and teaching methods and assessments in the department
  • Provides pastoral support for students
  • Develops course proposals and contributes to curriculum development
  • Develops approaches to teaching and learning which are innovative and reflect developing practice elsewhere
  • In addition to core administration for the individual’s own work, contributes to departmental management as required
  • Monitors and ensures effective management of assets and budgets allocated as part of the role

Research Associate

Summary

Roles at this level may represent the early stages of an academic career whereby the post holder undertakes a specific set of responsibilities associated with an established research or teaching programme. There may be a combination of research and education activities, with appropriate organising and managing in support of these activities and possibly some team leadership, or a specific focus on research or teaching.

Representative work activities
Research
  • Within own research programme, plan and carry out the work, using methodology and techniques appropriate to this type of research, e.g.
    • investigations leading to the discovery of new knowledge
    • producing original research
    • generation of quality research data, contributions to publications, conference proceedings, etc.
    • analysing and illuminating data, interpreting and bringing new insights through integration
    • application of knowledge in practice out of which new intellectual understanding emerges
    • contribute to writing bids for research grants
    • contribute to writing up research findings for publication and dissemination
    • provide guidance to other staff and students
Teaching
  • Teach and advise students within own subject area, predominantly through lectures and seminars for groups of undergraduates or postgraduates
  • Undertake instruction of PhD students as agreed
  • Supervise practical work and advise students on techniques
 Leadership and management
  • Take responsibility for organising resources and effective decision making in support of research
Knowledge, skills and experience
In research/teaching:
  • Graduate or equivalent with some research and teaching experience.
  • Researchers will normally have a PhD in a relevant subject for the role - exceptionally, the requirement for a PhD in a relevant subject may be waived if there is clear evidence that the individual has acquired relevant and equivalent expertise as identified in the Performance Criteria for the role.  This expertise may have been acquired whilst working in a research, industrial or commercial environment                        
  • High level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Ability to apply relevant models, techniques and methods, and develop new ones
In leadership/management:
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and deploy them effectively
  • Understanding of relevant College and departmental/divisional procedures and ability to manage own area accordingly e.g. with regard to health and safety, finance
  • Ability to encourage a research culture in others
Performance criteria
Evidence of:
  • Appropriate subject expertise, and that it is frequently updated e.g. publications, conference presentations
  • Contribution to design of appropriate experimental research methodologies and techniques
  • A developing reputation in the subject at national level
  • Quality of research e.g. through feedback from colleagues
  • Motivation of the research team and ability to troubleshoot
  • Optimal utilisation of resources e.g. efficient use of time, materials

Research Assistant

Summary

Roles at this level may represent the entry-level for those expected to train and/or develop to take on a more senior research or academic role.   Roles at this level are generally concerned either with assisting a research team or group by carrying out analyses and tests where the method and purpose are clear, or with teaching within a clear and established programme.  

Representative work activities
Research
  • Working under close supervision of, and direction from, a more senior researcher or academic, who will be ultimately responsible for a research or teaching programme
  • Acquire and interpret research data and results
  • Run analyses and tests using specified and agreed techniques and models
  • Prioritise tasks within agreed work schedule
  • Contribute to the development of techniques, models and methods
Teaching
  • Supervise undergraduate class activities, e.g. language lab or practical work
  • Advise and assist other staff and students within limited area of expertise
Typical knowledge, skills & experience
  • Degree or equivalent in subject relevant to research or teaching area
  • Some practical experience of applying the skills and techniques
  • Ability to analyse and communicate effectively
Performance criteria
Evidence of:
  • Expertise in subject and techniques through:
    • knowledge of subject area, experience in practical experimental techniques
    • ongoing review by line manager/supervisor e.g. against job descriptions and set work
      standards
    • feedback from colleagues