Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Institute for Transport Studies: Staff Management Arrangements

  1.  Research groups: all staff and research students are part of a research group based on technical subject areas. These meet periodically to discuss research based issues such as new research proposals, research strategy for the subject, responding to invitations to tender etc. The research groups act as a means of mutual support, information sharing, division of tasks, critical feedback etc when research proposals are being put together and also during the course of research projects.

  2.  Staff manager system: all staff (including senior staff) are allocated to a staff manager. The staff manager has a role of helping plan and monitor workloads and establish a forward plan for future research, publications, teaching loads etc. The staff manager also has a "development" role in ensuring staff have a balance of activities and opportunities that will support individual career development where possible.

  3.  Staff Reviews: all staff, regardless of category are reviewed every year. The staff review is seen as an opportunity to discuss career and research plans, publication plans, future opportunities, issues with on-going research etc. The staff reviewer in ITS is always a neutral person to the member of staff ie someone as unconnected with their day-to-day activities as possible. It is felt that this helps to avoid conflicts of interest that may arise in having a "line-manager" type approach.

  4.  Rolling contracts: New Contract Research Staff are appointed initially, where possible, on a two year contract. Their contract is reviewed at the end of their first year and, provided that both the Institute and the member of staff are satisfied, is extended for a further year. At the end of the second year the contract is reviewed again and, subject to satisfactory performance, converted to a two year rolling contract, which is then reviewed annually, with the aim of giving the member of staff at least a year's security at any time. The overall policy is reviewed six monthly in the light of financial projections.

  5.  Staff development facilitator: ITS has a nominated member of staff with funded time (16 days/year) to promote and facilitate activities that support staff development for all staff categories. This covers aspects of the research cycle, teaching issues and administrative/management duties. Examples of past activities includes organising training sessions on research and teaching skills, facilitating seminars, organising workshops on research generation, individual support to staff seeking to submit proposals and publications etc.

  6.  Development funds: ITS has an established track record of using departmental funds to support individuals wishing to submit research proposals, or publish, where existing workload commitments will not allow this to happen. Normally the individual would apply to a departmental committee with a case for "time out" from other planned workload activities.

19 June 2002

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