When you begin a new research post (in Manchester or elsewhere) there are certain things that you should expect in order to support you to do your job effectively. So, there are some things that you should check right at the very beginning of your new contract:
- Your contract will probably include a probation period. Ensure that you know when your probation will end and what, if any, tasks have to be completed either by you or your line manager for you to pass probation.
- A new role is likely to require an induction. You should be inducted to your department or group in your new role, and should also be offered a more general induction to your University or other employer. In Manchester you can download a checklist to ensure that you have covered the basics.
- Your school may offer you a mentor - usually not your line manager or PI. If you do not have a mentor, you might consider asking someone in your Department, School or Faculty to act as an informal mentor.
- Some departments set aside a fixed amount of funds for each researcher and/or member of academic staff to attend conferences or undertake development. Check with your line manager whether you have access to such funds.
- You should expect to have some form of annual appraisal or review. Each member of staff at Manchester is expected to undergo an annual Performance and Development Review (PDR). See the Research Staff Handbook (in the documents section) for further details on PDR.
- You should also familiarise yourself with the Health and Safety policy and procedure, which can be found on the University's Health and Safety Services website.
- Many Universities now have Research Staff Associations, which are run by members of research staff.
Your future career
Many research staff contracts are for a fixed term, and so you will need to spend a certain amount of your time planning for your next career move.
Many Universities have a redeployment policy for staff who would otherwise be facing redundancy. However, you should not rely on being redeployed into a role that will necessarily fit with your career plans
If you are planning an academic career and would like to find out more about the reality of academic work, how to prepare for and secure an academic job or whether an academic career really is for you, you may find the Careers Service’s 'An Academic Career' website useful.
Whether you are planning an academic or non-academic career, you can also find support and information on the Researcher Careers section of the Vitae website.
The website jobs.ac.uk is probably the best job site for searching for posts within Higher Education (non-academic as well as academic), but Manchester also has its own vacancies pages.
If you are interested in academic jobs further afield, you may find the Humanities and Social Sciences (H-Net) online job guide useful. If you’re planning to stay within the EU, the European Commission’s EURAXESS site has a searchable jobs and funding database, as well as information about the rights and responsibilities of European researchers and institutions, and practical advice for moving within Europe.
If you would like a one-to-one discussion about your current work, career plans (including CV preparation) or professional development in general, please contact The Researcher Development Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) .