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The following pages contain information about some of the policies and practices which aim to support the departments staff and students.

An inclusive culture

The University of Oxford is committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected. For more information, see the University's Policy on Equality and the University's Equality and Diversity Unit.

The department maintains a culture that is inclusive and supportive of all members, including those with caring responsibilities and those who work flexibly for other reasons. Wherever possible, meetings and seminars are arranged between core working hours (10am - 4pm) to facilitate participation by all members.

Training, development and career progression

The department recognises and values career development and progression for all staff. Senior staff actively consider opportunities for the development and progression of more junior staff when planning future work and encourage and support staff in developing their careers.

The majority of  staff are funded by competitively obtained research grants and are initially employed on fixed-term contracts. The uncertainty inherent in short term contracts is acknowledged; opportunities for continuing employment and potential matches with new posts are considered when any member of staff is approaching 6 months before the end of their contract. In addition, any member of staff whose contract is renewed after at least 4 years continuous employment is considered for a move to an open-ended contract, provided that there is a reasonable prospect of continued funding.

Personal Development Review

The department runs a compulsory Personal Development Review Programme for all staff, which involves an annual review of their job description and training needs.

Training and career development opportunities

Staff are encouraged to take up the wide range of training courses and career development opportunities available through the Oxford Learning Institute, the University Careers Service and IT Services. Research staff and postgraduate research students also have access to training courses and opportunities in personal development through the Medical Sciences Division Skills Training Programme. The University's Support for Researchers webpages are also a really useful starting point for finding out about career development opportunities. We encourage participation in personal development programmes, including Springboard for women and its equivalent for men, Navigator.


University salary scales are based on generic grade descriptions which reflect the typical requirements and responsibilities for staff operating at each grade. As members of staff develop and take on new roles or responsibilities they may apply to have their posts re-graded to reflect these changes. Members of staff who wish their post to be considered for re-grading are encouraged to discuss this with their line manager in the first instance.

Research fellowships

A number of research funding organisations, including, but not limited to, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust offer training and development awards, from doctoral and early career researcher level through to opportunities for established investigators and research leaders. The MRC has also developed an interactive career framework. Research staff who are considering applying for a research fellowship, or would like to know more about what is required, should speak to their line manager in the first instance.

Flexible working

Many staff members benefit from working flexibly to foster work-life balance and we aim to accommodate flexible working wherever possible.

In some cases, arrangements for flexible working are managed informally with line managers. Requests are reviewed taking many factors into consideration including: the reason for the request; the constraints of the job description (for example, some research posts include analysis of sensitive data which cannot be analysed at home); the flexibility of the funding (for example, for staff wanting to change their hours); and the ability to maintain effective line management (particularly for more junior research staff who may require frequent supervision).

In other cases, staff members may formally request flexible working through the flexible working policy.

Maternity leave, paternity leave and child care

The University provides a generous maternity leave package, as well as provision for paternity, adoption and parental leave.

The University offers a comprehensive range of childcare services including access to the University’s subsidised nursery places, reduced nursery and childcare fees and childcare voucher schemes and access to holiday playscheme providers.

Policy on harassment and bullying

The University condemns harassment as an unacceptable form of behaviour and there is a service to help those who think they are being harassed in any way. For further information, please contact the University harassment service or Lynne Roberts the harassment advisor (who has also undergone training on supporting suvivors of sexual violence).