Career and bridging support

 

Note:

Central funding for the Career and Bridging Support Schemes was discontinued with effect from 1 August 2011.

However, divisions and/or departments are encouraged to consider local arrangements to support continuity of employment across gaps in funding while research grant application outcomes are awaited.

 

The guidance below may be used as a basis for any such arrangements.

SUMMARY

Summary of the two schemes

In certain circumstances, the University can provide continuing support for the employment by the University of contract research staff where outside funding is not immediately available.

  Bridging support Career support
Purpose To enable continued employment of academic-related research staff between fixed-term contracts at the University To enable continued employment of long-serving academic-related contract researchers whose research contribution is of particular value to the University

Costs provided/

Length of support

MODE 1

Where further funding has been confirmed, salary costs for normally up to 6 months

MODE 2

Where further funding has yet to be confirmed, salary costs for normally up to 3 months

Salary costs for normally up to 1 year
Staff eligibility for salary support Academic-related contract researchers with the following length of service:
- normally at least 2 years' service in academic-related contract research posts at Oxford, or at least 6 years’ service in ac-rel contract research posts in HEIs - normally at least 6 years' service in academic-related contract research posts at HEIs - normally at least 15 years' service in academic-related posts at HEIs
Applications by Head of Department (Head of Division to endorse Career support scheme applications)

 

BRIDGING SUPPORT SCHEME

Suggested eligibility criteria and maximum length of funding are given. However, in exceptional circumstances, where a particular project is of strategic importance to the University, the length of service requirements may be reduced and/or the maximum length of grant extended.

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The Bridging Support Scheme is intended to permit the employment, in certain circumstances, of academic-related research staff between fixed-term contracts at the University of Oxford, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order (a) to encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff; and (b) to avoid the traumatic and disruptive break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff. The scheme is only available for staff who are employed by the University; staff working in university departments but not on the university payroll are not eligible for the scheme.

There is no central funding available for any associated costs (salaries, equipment, consumables, etc) which remain the responsibilities of the department/division concerned.

There are two modes for support under the bridging support scheme.

Mode 1 - where further funding has been confirmed

Applicants must normally have:

(i) at least two years' service in academic-related research contract posts at the University of Oxford; or

(ii) a total of at least six years' service in academic-related research contract posts in universities or comparable institutions.

Applicants eligible under Mode 1 may normally apply for up to six months' funding.

Mode 2 - where further funding has not yet been confirmed

Applicants must normally have at least six years' service in academic-related contract research posts in universities or comparable institutions.

Applicants eligible under Mode 2 may normally apply for up to three months' funding in the first instance. If during this time confirmation of future external funding is received, additional bridging support up to a total of 6 months may be sought.

  1. The applicant may not normally receive more than six months' support under the Bridging Support Scheme in the three years up to the end of the period for which bridging support is currently requested.
  2. Efforts must have been made to secure a new grant for further funding in good time before the expiry of the present contract and all other relevant sources of support fully and satisfactorily pursued.
  3. Every effort must have been made (and where appropriate continue to be made) to secure from the external funding body the early start of a new award, so as to minimise the period between contracts and the length of time for which bridging support is sought.
  4. The head of department must support the application for bridging support and provide an assessment of the benefits which would result to the department and individual concerned.
  5. A satisfactory programme of work must be agreed with the head of department to cover the period of employment for which bridging finance is sought, and brief details must be provided.
  6. Where no further funding has yet been secured, bridging support may be requested until the likely start of further funding, provided this period does not exceed three months. If, within the three-month period, the application to the funding body is rejected, bridging finance will nonetheless continue for the reminder of the three months.
  1. All applications for bridging support must be made through the head of department or the chairman of the faculty board, (a suggested application form is available)
  2. Applications should consist of a completed application form detailing the following:

(i) a precise summary of the salary costs requested, making allowance for any annual increment due and including full on-costs (National Insurance and pension)

(ii) a brief description of the research to be undertaken during the period for which bridging support is requested

(iii) details of any previous bridging support received by the applicant (or a statement that no previous support has been received)

(iv) information about the efforts which have been made to secure a new grant, and to arrange the early start of any new award

(v) signed declaration by the Head of Department

(vi) a statement from the head of department, indicating their support for the application and outlining the benefits which would result to the department and the applicant (the applicant may also submit, if they wish, an assessment of the benefits which would result from bridging support)

(vii) where the application is made under Mode 2, for example, where further funding has not yet been obtained:

  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae for the applicant, including a list of publications
  • an academic reference from outside the University
  1. There is no central funding available for bridging support. It is therefore for divisions/departments to consider what funding may be available locally, and set up an appropriate process for fairly considering applications for funding.
  2. If funding is obtained from an outside body within the period covered by a bridging support grant, the bridging support will cease as soon as the outside funding begins. Any savings will be returned to the departmental/divisional bridging support fund. Where an external funding body agrees to provide retrospective funding to support a researcher for a period covered by bridging support, then the bridging support budget must be reimbursed accordingly.
  3. Grants must be used within a period of three months for the purpose for which they were allocated.

Where bridging support is provided, heads of department may be asked to submit a brief report to the division, commenting on any benefits of the award and future funding arrangements. The operation of the scheme should be reviewed annually in the light of experience.

CAREER SUPPORT SCHEME

Suggested eligibility and maximum length of funding are given. However, in exceptional circumstances, where a particular project is of strategic importance to the University, the length of service requirements may be reduced and/or the maximum length of grant extended.

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The Career Support Scheme is intended to provide funding for a limited period of continued employment for a very small number of long-serving contract research staff, whose research contribution is of particular value, who do not have a new grant in prospect, and who would otherwise face unemployment while efforts continued to be made to secure a new source of funding. The scheme is only available for staff who are employed by the University; staff working in university departments but not on the university payroll are not eligible for the scheme.

There is no central funding available for any associated costs (salaries, equipment, consumables, etc) which remain the responsibilities of the department/division concerned.

Applicants must be already employed on an academic-related research contract at the University, and must normally have at least 15 years' service in academic-related contract research posts in universities or comparable institutions.

Applicants may normally apply for up to 12 months' funding.

  1. The applicant may not normally receive more than 12 months' support under the Career Support Scheme in the six years up to the end of the period for which career support is currently requested.
  2. Efforts must have been made to secure a new grant for further funding in good time before the expiry of the present contract and all other relevant sources of support fully and satisfactorily pursued.
  3. It must be reasonable to assume that an alternative source of funding could be obtained to support the individual within 12 months.
  4. Every effort must have been made (and where appropriate continue to be made) to secure from funding bodies the early start of an award, so as to minimise the period between contracts and the length of time for which career support is sought.
  5. The head of department or faculty board chairman must support the application and certify that the individual makes a major contribution to research at the University.
  6. A satisfactory programme of work must be agreed with the head of department to cover the period of employment for which career support is sought. This should result in demonstrable benefits to the department and the individual concerned.
  1. Applications should consist of a completed application form, together with:

(i) A letter of application from the head of department/faculty board chairman, outlining the case for support based on the benefits which would result to the department and the individual concerned. The individual may also submit, if they wish, an assessment of the benefits which would result from career support

(ii) A full, up-to-date curriculum vitae of the person to be supported, with a list of publications

(iii) An academic reference from outside the University

  1. The completed application should be forwarded to the head of division, who is asked:

(i) to review the application and comment on the academic desirability of supporting the case

(ii) to comment on the ability of the department in question to make a contribution to the costs involved

(iii) to identify a subject expert from outside the department in question who can confirm that the research standing of the relevant subject area at Oxford is likely to suffer significantly if the researcher ceases to be employed

  1. There is no central funding available for career support. It is therefore for divisions/departments to consider what funding may be available locally, and set up an appropriate process for fairly considering applications for funding.
  2. If funding is obtained from an outside body within the period covered by a career support grant, the career support will cease as soon as the outside funding starts. Any savings will be returned to the departmental/divisional career support fund. Where an external funding body agrees to provide retrospective funding to support a researcher for a period covered by career support, then the career support budget must be reimbursed accordingly.
  3. Grants must be used within a period of three months for the purpose for which they were allocated.

Where career support is provided, heads of department may be asked to submit a brief report to the division commenting on any benefits of the award and future funding arrangements.

 
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