Supporting research

Postgraduate research students studying

We are committed to retaining and growing a diverse and inclusive research community which integrates academic staff, including post-doctoral researchers, and doctoral researchers, and enables all members of our community to thrive. Our staff have taken a leading role across the Faculty of Social Sciences to develop the Faculty’s Athena Swan Action Plan (2020-2024), resulting in the Faculty being awarded Bronze status in 2020. This Action Plan reflects the consolidation of new governance mechanisms to monitor, analyse, and promote ED&I across our research activities.

The School is firmly committed to the idea that the professional and personal development of individual staff translates into collective success and to achieve this we offer a broad range of research support provisions.

Staff at all stages of their career choose a dedicated mentor from a pool of senior staff as part of our Staff Mentoring Scheme. Every member of staff is a affiliated to one of our research centres, which offer support in the form of readings groups, ‘pitch to peers’ workshops, connections to impact partners, and resources to support networking and research activities.

All staff receive individual research allowances and have the opportunity to apply for the POLIS Strategic Research Investment Fund to support innovative research, impact, and networking initiatives.

Staff are given dedicated time for research and impact activities and can also apply for periods of research leave. We also award extended time for staff involved in applications for major research grants and/or extended impact engagements with our impact partners.

All staff benefit from well-developed systems of internal support for grant applications, including support from our research centres, the School, and a dedicated support team within the Faculty.

To support ongoing researcher development and training the School and the University’s ODPL Unit provide extensive support and training opportunities for all staff and doctoral researchers.

The universal support provision for research, impact, and career development for research staff is coupled with additional, targeted support for Early Career Researchers (ECRs), including postdoctoral researchers and staff on fixed term contracts. This includes mentorship and support in identifying and applying to appropriate research funding streams. Our approach is informed directly by the recently refreshed Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

Special provision is made for staff with extra requirements to ensure that all staff are supported in their research activities. For example, financial support for extra travel costs for staff with disabilities and support for childcare costs for conferences and also our Returner’s Scheme for staff planning and returning from periods of leave (e.g. shared parental, mental health, or sickness).