Research only contracts

In some cases it is not immediately clear if a role is undertaking academic research and should therefore be classified as a category '2 Research only' contract or not. The following information is intended to help you decide if the role is undertaking research or not.

  • The primary function of the role must be to undertake academic research
  • Teaching makes up less than 16% of contracted hours (this equates to less than 6 hours per week for a 1 FTE role on grade 6+)
  • The role is grade 6+ (otherwise please contact us to discuss classifying a grade 1-5 role as research)
  • Roles similar to the generic research job descriptions on the Reward Team website 
  • Contracts classified to the sub-categories 'AR Research Fellow' and 'AP Research Staff' are eligible to be considered for the Research Excellence Framework
  • Contracts coded to 'AS Research Support' are not eligible to be considered for the Research Excellence Framework even if they are on a category '2 Research only' code

What is academic research?

  • Studying a subject, field or problem to discover new knowledge, facts and principles
  • This study leads investigation and often writing (or a contribution to writing) for scholarly publications and books, based upon the idea under inquiry
  • Work that aims to generate hypotheses as well as work that aim to test them
  • Research can be quantitative (designed to test a hypothesis) or qualitative (identifies and explores themes following established methodology)
  • The employee must be doing some of the investigations, analysis and thinking that establish the new knowledge, facts and principles or test the hypotheses

What is not academic research?

  • Investigation, background literature reviews or collations that do not lead on to the generation of new knowledge, facts and principles; e.g. background investigation into the state of a field for knowledge exchange
  • Undertaking data collection or sample processing (such as clinical trails or laboratory assays) where the employee does not then analyse the data to establish new facts, principles and hypotheses; e.g. clinical trials data collection, laboratory technical assistants
  • Investigative work for policy or process change in non-academic departments (i.e. departments within University Administration and Services)