Professorial Merit Pay

SUMMARY

The Professorial Merit Pay scheme is a biennial exercise which is open to all those employed by the University with the title of full professor (except those with clinical contracts) as well as non-clinical statutory professors and readers.

ELIGIBILTY

Those eligible to apply are:  

  • Statutory professors and readers (except clinical)

  • Associate professors

  • Keepers

  • Staff on the academic-related grades and on RSIV contracts who hold the title of full professor and are employed by the University on non-clinical contracts

Those on clinical contacts and those who are not employed by the University are not eligible. Individuals who are already in receipt of the highest level of professorial merit pay are also not eligible to apply. 

Associate Professors with full title are assessed against the criteria on the basis of work undertaken within their University contract. 

Applications from individuals working in Continuing Education or Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) are considered by the division appropriate to their academic contribution. 

 

PROCEDURE

There are three stages in the procedure. 

i) Salary Reviews: Heads of department and Faculty Board Chairs will lead salary reviews of eligible staff in their department/faculty (not taking college benefits into account) to identify whether the broad salary bandings for eligible staff appear correct. This is to enable them to identify any outliers below expected levels in terms of exceptional merit, or where there may be a gender pay gap.   

ii) Divisional Committees: Applications will be considered by a PMP Committee in each academic division.  

iii) Senior Appointments Panel (SAP): Divisional PMP committees will make recommendations to the SAP, which consists of: the Vice-Chancellor (chair); the Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Research and Innovation and for Education; and the Registrar. The SAP will review the divisional recommendations. It may seek further information or comment from the Chairs of Divisional PMP Committees who may be invited to attend meetings of the SAP for this purpose. The SAP will ratify the recommendations when it is satisfied that proper procedure has been followed and that standards have been applied consistently with due attention to equality of opportunity. 

Divisional Committees will normally be chaired by the head of division and will be broadly based, covering as far as possible the major disciplines or broad areas of research and study under the aegis of the particular board, and will have significant external membership (2 or 3 externals on a committee of around 10 members in total). Committee membership will be published on the divisional website and in the Gazette. 

There is no appeal against decisions. 

AWARD LEVELS

There are three pay bands and 21 levels, with a description of academic merit attached to each pay band. Current rates can be found on the payroll website.

PMP awards are in addition to any allowance made to associate professors and keepers when full title is awarded.  

When considering awards, committees take into account applicants’ current University remuneration levels, incorporate assumed college salary for Tutorial Fellows, and take into account the remuneration of peer groups within the University. Additional college benefits are not be taken into account. There is a University-wide cap on the total value of awards to be made. Awards for successful applicants will normally therefore be limited to one level.  

Awards take into account the total permanent pay of the individual. When a new or increased award is made, pre-existing permanent pay elements (which may include previous professorial merit awards, recruitment and retention payments but NOT responsibility allowances nor any allowance paid to associate professors and keepers on receipt of the title of full professor) will be ‘rolled in’ to the value of the new award. Individuals may therefore not see an increase in salary to the full value of the new award. 

Merit pay awards may be recurrent and therefore pensionable, subject to the rules of USS. In some circumstances one-off lump sum payments may be awarded, which are non-pensionable. The difference between the types of award is set out below. 

Recurrent awards

Applicants will only move up within or between bands when significant progress has been made since the previous award (or if no award is held, since appointment or award of title) and when it is anticipated that this level of performance will be sustained.

It is accepted that not all roles will allow applicants to demonstrate an even performance across all three areas, and a “best fit” approach will be taken to assess overall merit. For example, an applicant might be outstanding in two out of the three areas and good in the third, or less strong in one area but with a record in another area approaching that of the next band up. While the range of activities will vary, it is the overall quality of contributions which is of importance.

One-off awards

A divisional PMP Committee may award a one-off lump sum payment, equal to one level on the PMP scale, rather than a recurrent increment.

This may be considered appropriate where the Committee wishes to recognise an individual who has:

  • performed exceptionally against one or two of the three criteria (noting that a “best fit” judgement will have already been made for roles which do not allow applicants to demonstrate even performance across all three areas), but who has not demonstrated that they have met the standards expected for their role for a recurrent award under the remaining criteria, or
  • made an outstanding ‘one-off’ contribution to the department/faculty.
CRITERIA

Applications are judged against descriptors which outline the standards expected across leadership and citizenship, research, and teaching for the University at the three bands. 

For associate professors, these criteria refer to work undertaken within the applicant’s University contract of employment, including external academic contributions such as to peer review bodies, government committees etc.

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Leadership and Citizenship  

Evidence of academic leadership and the willingness and ability to lead, mentor, develop and motivate colleagues, lead and manage a research team competently and engage in capacity building, as appropriate to the discipline. 

An ongoing record of contributing fully and effectively to the administration and continuing improvement of the department/faculty as appropriate for the post held. This may include examining, pastoral care and student welfare, outreach and access work, contribution to Athena Swan, Race Equality and similar initiatives. Evidence of contribution, which is of benefit to the University, to peer review bodies/committees, professional organisations, government committees or Research Councils etc. will also be taken into account, as well as activities connected to enterprise, links with industry and business etc. as appropriate to the discipline. 

Research 

An ongoing research record which is characterised by a significant influence on the field of study, and is of a high order of excellence and of international standing, together with an international reputation and a research record which is outstanding in comparison with the majority of academic staff in the United Kingdom. This may include, as appropriate for the discipline, evidence of successful collaborations with other research teams/institutions, contribution to public understanding, significant and sustained success in obtaining research grants; and/or proven and sustained success in research leadership. 

Teaching  

An ongoing record of contributing fully and effectively to teaching for University departments/faculties (not teaching done in colleges) as appropriate for the post held, including an appropriate number of research students successfully supervised. 

Leadership and Citizenship  

At this level there will be strong evidence of academic leadership and a proven ability to lead, mentor, develop and motivate colleagues, lead and manage a research team well and engage in capacity building, as appropriate to the discipline. 

Evidence of a significant contribution to the management/administration and continuing improvement of the department/faculty or the wider University as appropriate to the post held. This may include a significant contribution to examining, pastoral care and student welfare, outreach and access work, contribution to Athena Swan, Race Equality and similar initiatives. 

There will also be strong evidence that a leading role has been taken in peer review bodies/committees, editorships of leading academic journals, professional organisations, government committees or Research Councils etc. as well as activities connected to enterprise, links with industry and business etc. as appropriate to the discipline. 

Research 

A distinguished ongoing academic record and a very significant international reputation. This level rewards those who are recognised as research leaders, for example through their membership of an academy (eg Royal Society, British Academy) and/or their international equivalents, and/or have been awarded highly prestigious prizes and/or prestigious lectures or other such honours, as appropriate to the discipline. They are international authorities in their particular field who have made a significant and lasting positive mark on the University’s work in their subject area directly through their own research and/or through their role in leading and developing their discipline at Oxford, including a significant contribution to public understanding. 

Teaching  

As well as an ongoing full and effective contribution to teaching for University departments/faculties (not teaching done for colleges) as appropriate for the post held, there will be evidence of active, ongoing leadership of review/development of the curriculum, course management, designing new courses etc. as appropriate in the context of the particular department/faculty.    

Leadership and Citizenship  

Significant and sustained intellectual and academic leadership and capacity building both across the department/faculty and at subject level nationally and internationally. 

Evidence of an active role in the strategic development and management of the department/faculty or evidence of significant and influential contribution to the wider University as appropriate for the post held. This may include an outstanding contribution to examining, pastoral care and student welfare, outreach and access work, contribution to Athena Swan, Race Equality and similar initiatives. 

Sustained excellent performance in significant senior academic leadership positions within the department/faculty, division and/or the wider University will be taken into account at this level, as will equivalent external roles, such as the leadership of major government reviews. 

Research 

Academic distinction of the highest quality, with a corresponding outstanding world-leading and worldwide reputation which is universally acknowledged across the broadest subject areas and recognised through the award of multiple external international markers of esteem, such as membership of academies or other prestigious organisations, international prizes. At this level individuals will have, over a sustained period, made a formative and lasting contribution through their research and through their overall role across their general field of study, with corresponding recognition and influence in their own and related subject areas, including an outstanding contribution to public understanding. 

Teaching  

Active, ongoing leadership in teaching and a significant contribution to the development and delivery of teaching in the subject area as appropriate for the post held, both within the University (not colleges) and on a regular basis to national and/or international audiences.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications must consist of a completed application form, and a publications list covering the period since the previous award (or if no award is held, the past 3 years, either since appointment or award of title). Completed applications should be submitted electronically through the CoreHR online system 

Full instructions are issued each year when the scheme is launched. 

 

The 2021 round is not yet open

 

 

 
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