Research Staff Handbook

The research staff handbook aims to provide you with information about your employment and career development, how to carry out your role and responsibilities, what support and training is available to you, and the key regulations and policies that are applicable to you as a member of Research Staff.


I am delighted that you have chosen to join the University of Manchester, Britain’s largest research-intensive university. As a new member of Research Staff, you are part of a vibrant academic community that is central to the University’s ability to achieve excellence in research.

Within your Faculty and the University as a whole, we are fully committed to your personal and professional development and we strive to create an environment that allows you to excel in your research, develop your skills and have a fulfilling career.

I wish you every success with your research whilst you are here at the University of Manchester.

P‌rofessor Melissa Westwood

Associate Vice President Research

Information for New Starters

Manchester is a great place to work and live. If you are new to the University, it is important to know where to go and who to ask – the University’s new starters web pages have a lot of information to help you settle in including:

Of particular interest and relevance to research staff will be information on:



Working Here - Contract of Employment, Working Conditions and Staff Support

As a researcher at the University of Manchester your terms of employment follow the policies and principles set out by the University. This means that you are fully supported as a member of staff, with the same working entitlements and rights as any other employee. These include fair and equal access to employment opportunities, a letter of appointment, job description and terms and conditions, the right to belong to a trade union and to be involved with the activities of the union, full induction and rights to training and support. 

As a new employee you should receive a job description setting out the main requirements of your role. In addition you may be given specific objectives by your line manager. If you are in any way unsure about what is expected of you, you should raise this immediately with your line manager and seek clarification. This is very important so that you can successfully complete probation.

Below are a list of the key sources of information for current staff.

Additional Information on Research Staff Contracts


Undertaking Research: Grants & Fellowships

Research Services teams in the Faculties can provide help with all aspects of submitting applications for research grants and fellowships and Research Finance teams provide advice and guidance on awarded research projects.

Services include support with:

  • liaising with funders, preparing costings, coordinating recruitment and contracts.
  • submission of bids and the administration of the lifecycle of research projects.
  • guidance on the full economic and recoverable costs for projects and liaising with external organisations to ensure timely financial information.
  • research on project resourcing and general financial assistance such as tracking expenditure and reminders of reporting dates.

Research Services are located in the Faculties:

All researchers at the University can access the First Grant and Fellowship online resource.

Recognising Researchers’ Contribution to Grant Writing

It may be the case that funders terms and conditions do not permit researchers to be named as a PI or a Co-I on a grant but such staff have made a significant contribution to the writing and development of the grant. The University keen to find a way to capture our researchers efforts and we can now do this for awarded projects that have been funded. Researchers and their PIs are encouraged to use the Research Staff Grant Contribution Request Form to ensure that the researcher’s ‘grant contribution’ role is recognised, added to the awarded Project record and made visible in the researcher’s profile.

Funding Opportunities

All University of Manchester staff can also access the Research Professional funding database which provides information on all types of funding ranging from travel grants, mobility and placement grants to large research project grants. Sign in to the database here.

Undertaking Research: Working with Business and Industry

The Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange team facilitate the development of relationships with external organisations to further your research goals and impact. For support on developing collaborations with external non-academic organisations and for information about knowledge exchange funding opportunities you can contact your Faculty team.

Many projects require the University to negotiate a contract with the other party, please seek advice from the Contracts Team.


Undertaking Research: Disseminating Research

Research findings only become valuable when they are shared with other people. Continually discuss publication and wider dissemination plans with your line manager and research collaborators and prioritise research dissemination so that you gain recognition and reward for your research achievements. Resources and support for researchers include:

Promoting your Research toolkit help you access the tools and support you need to reach new audiences.

Public engagement at Manchester with online resources, case studies, training and a blog covering public engagement in all forms, providing expertise in public discourse, and to help you listen to the wider community, and involve the public in your work.

My Research Essentials for online and face to face training on publishing and peer review, tracking the impact of your research through publication and social media metrics and showcasing your research through your online profile

Open Access team provide information, help and support around depositing and making your work Open Access compliant.

Undertaking Research: Research governance, ethics and integrity

The Research Governance, Ethics and Integrity Team deals with all issues around

  • the University’s expectations of good research conduct
  • guidance to support researchers in meeting those expectations
  • regulations and legislation
  • research ethics including how to apply for ethics approval
  • information about compliance with the Human Tissue Act and how to register your tissue-based study
  • information about compliance with the Medicines for Human use (Clinical Trials) Regulations which govern clinical trials of investigational medicinal products
  • concerns about potential research misconduct

If you need to apply for ethical review by the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) or by a Division/School template you MUST use the new online system for ethical review (ERM). More information can be found here:

On-line System for Ethical Review (ERM)

Undertaking Research: Research Data Management

Research Data Management is part of good research practice, improving the efficiency of the research process and making your research more reproducible. There is support available across the University to assist you with this:

  • Planning: Data Management Plans are a key part of funding applications and also a requirement of the University for every new research project. You can access the Data Management Planning Tool, guidance on writing data management plans and a data management plan review service available on the Research Data Management website.
  • Storing: Research Data Storage is available from Research IT services, providing 8TB of replicated storage per project, free at the point of use for funded projects (excluding commercial funders).
  • Sharing: Sharing data has many benefits and most funders mandate some level of data sharing. Where possible the University recommends using the University’s supported institutional research data repository, Figshare, an easy to use cloud-based platform that can securely store and organise your research data and publish selected datasets that support your research, making these discoverable and citable. You can add datasets to your Pure profile.
  • Training: There are courses on Research Data Management available for staff and postgraduate students via My Research Essentials.
Undertaking Research: Specialised IT Resources and Services for Research

Research IT provide you with access to technology platforms and advanced skills encompassing high performance computing, and software and data engineering; large-scale research data storage and VMs for your research group; and data visualisation and analytics and research data storage.

There is a comprehensive range of training free of charge to all university researchers (and PGRs) on a wide variety of topics, for all abilities, including use of our computational platforms, specialist applications, programming and data visualisation through both online and in-person workshops.

To learn more about how the platforms and capabilities can help you in your research, follow the links below:

To keep up to date with Research IT activities, you may wish to follow Research IT on Twitter or subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

For information on purchasing IT equipment for work please contact IT Services.


Undertaking Research: Intellectual Property, Copyright Guidance and Entrepreneurship

Copyright Guidance: Copyright is legal protection for an author/creator which restricts the copying of an original work they have created. Find out how copyright affects your work and research by consulting the Copyright Guidance document and IP PolicyAny questions relating to copyright can be sent to

University of Manchester Innovation Factory can provide information on IP and how it may be relevant to your research the provides advice and guidance on the benefits of commercialisation to researchers. The University’s IP Policy should also be referred to.

For researchers who are interested in commercialising their ideas, information, advice and support on start-ups is available from the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

Managing your Career: Academic Career Path

After completing their PhD and/or work as a Post-doctoral Research Associate, many researchers aspire to an academic career.

Being clear about your motivation, understanding what skills you have and knowing how to develop further may therefore be your main focus. The Researcher Development Framework, developed by Vitae‌, is a useful tool which details the attributes required to be an effective researcher and has been designed as an inspirational guide to personal development to help you make the most of your strengths. The guide to moving up the academic career ladder also provides you with a useful overview, tips, and tested techniques for making yourself ready for promotion.

So what is actually needed to increase your chance of succeeding in the highly competitive academic environment? Next to a good publications record, you will need to demonstrate experience of teaching, supervision and administration. Knowledge of funding opportunities is essential, and ideally you have evidence of successful funding applications. Experience of professional networking will raise your profile and, increasingly, entrepreneurship or knowledge transfer experience will also be advantageous.

There are excellent resources for career planning on


Finding teaching opportunities can sometimes be difficult for researchers. It is worth to be proactive in seeking teaching opportunities and to be flexible about what sort of experience you gain. Options may include:

  • Getting in touch with lecturers in your department and offer to undertake some teaching.
  • Asking your supervisor or others in your department if they know of any opportunities there may be for you.
  • Looking for opportunities and making some enquiries at other universities nearby.
  • Considering teaching outside of higher education – Teaching continuing education classes, summer schools, or in local schools may not be exactly what you will do as a lecturer but it gives you valuable experience and the opportunity to develop many of the same skills.

If you are involved in co-supervision of PGRs or preparing to take on your first supervisee, you will be faced with a variety of tasks, from designing the relationship with the supervisee, through to helping your student to prepare for the viva. The Researcher Development team offer an Effective Supervisor programme and all staff can access the PGR Supervisors Toolkit and other online resources for supervisors

If you wish to receive a formal, nationally recognised qualification for your teaching, the Leadership in Education Awards Programme (LEAP) supports you in documenting and evidencing your teaching.


Managing your Career: Paths Beyond Academia

Researchers take many different career paths. The skills, development and experiences that researchers have mean that they are a highly trained and valued part of the workforce. If you are interested in a career outside of academia, use the Prosper model of reflecting, exploring and acting:

  • Reflect – consider your existing skills, values and interests
  • Explore – find out about the career steps that other postdocs have taken
  • Act – Find out how your skills translate beyond academia.

How to generate ideas about roles outside of academia

For example you could:

  • look at vacancies in the press, websites of professional bodies and other organisations, online job boards
  • explore career choices of other researchers in the Vitae What do researchers do series
  • get in touch with alumni of your research group or department or with former colleagues
  • talk to your PI, colleagues, friends or neighbours about destinations of researchers they know
  • attend a careers event with external speakers or take the initiative and organise your own.

In the majority of cases, researchers who moved beyond academia say that their research training and generic competencies have been hugely beneficial to them. Their experience as a researcher helps them to be more innovative and influence the work of others, as might be expected of those with very high level knowledge. Many also report that it enables them to change organisational culture and working practices, presumably reflecting their high competency levels.

(Source: Vitae. Research versus Non-research Careers)


Recommended Online Resources for Career Reflection

  • Strategic Career Planning – Using the Grow Model and Reflection Tools
  • 15 Minutes to Develop your Career – the Taylor and Francis and Vitae Podcast series on developing your research career include podcasts on alternative careers.
  • Think Ahead – Resources from the University of Sheffield – Weekly interviews with researchers who have pursued careers beyond academia.
  • Stories in Science Project – University of Dundee– Stories of career pathways for science postdocs.

Researchers into Management

Researchers into Management is a professional development programme that is aimed specifically at researchers. The programme covers the theory and practice of management and leadership (at middle management level).

It is designed for Research Staff who are interested in developing these key skill areas, both to support their current roles and their career development – whether in academia, industry, business or other contexts.

For more information on the programme, including the application process, please go to:

Researcher into Management

Career Development of Research Staff Statement of Expectations

Performance and Development Review Resource

Research Staff Promotions

Training and Development

CVs for Researchers Resource

The Postdoc Experience