The University of Glasgow is committed to enhancing its reputation as an international research led University and maintaining a level of academic discipline and achievement that is respected worldwide.

The University of Glasgow’s Academic Appointment and Promotion Policy sets out the principles that underpin a fair and transparent appointment and promotion process for all eligible academic staff.  The promotion process is designed to recognise and reward excellent performance that supports the delivery of University objectives.  These are measured by an individual’s ability to demonstrate excellence over a sustained period and evidenced by the significance of their contribution and impact across the full range of academic activities.

The Performance, Development and Review (PDR) process affords an opportunity for career goals to be identified allowing strategies to be put in place to achieve the standard necessary for promotion. Partnered with the PDR process this policy offers a career pathway for academic staff to build their expertise and standing, within their chosen discipline, whilst at the University of Glasgow.  There are five academic career tracks: Research & Teaching; Research; Research Scientists, Learning, Teaching and Scholarship; and Academic Clinicians.

Equality of Opportunity

The University is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all staff and ensuring a working environment that is free from discrimination and unfair treatment. The principles of the Athena SWAN Charter are embedded in the application of this policy.  Applicants can apply for promotion at any stage of their career insofar as the criteria for any role within the relevant career pathway is met.

The University's Equality and Diversity Strategy Committee monitors ethnic origin, disability and gender data in relation to the outcome of applications for promotion. This continual review of career development trends and statistics ensure that the criteria against which decisions are taken, remain objectively justifiable and lawful in accordance with equality legislation.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to a bias that individuals are unaware of and which happens outside of their control. It is a bias that happens automatically and is triggered by the brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, influenced by backgrounds, cultural environments and personal experiences. (ECU: 2013 Unconscious bias in higher education).

Promotion committees must be able to defend every decision for rejecting or advancing an applicant. Requiring a clear and reasoned rationale for every decision made mitigates against bias or instinct taking over. Committees must ensure that all decisions are evidence-based; stating that an applicant is ‘not ready’ is not sufficient. Committees should focus on reasons why the applicant is not ready and where these reasons originate. Where additional circumstances have been submitted committees should consider these carefully and evidence how they have been taken into account against the criteria.

Additional Circumstances

All applicants are required to meet consistent quality standards at each grade for appointment and promotion. However, the promotion committees may take account of a reduced quantity of output/activity due to certain personal circumstances, though quality must be always be maintained.  Evidence of a candidate's work trajectory is important. The evaluation of performance will give due consideration to the circumstances presented within the application and the evidence provided to support this.

Applications will be assessed solely against the criteria necessary for appointment or promotion to a particular post irrespective of employment or contractual status. Additional circumstances can be included for periods of absence from work (or where the effect has been equivalent to absence) for a range of equality-related circumstances, including family-related leave and career breaks. The Committee will take into account circumstances that are clearly outlined in an application and the impact of those particular factors against overall output.


This year an additional question has been added to the online application form to allow applicants to outline the specific effect of the pandemic on their work. Clearly most staff will have been affected in some way by the pandemic and it is our expectation that staff will outline briefly, but as specifically as possible, how the pandemic has affected their work since March this year. Examples could be the effect of homeworking balanced with additional caring responsibilities, or the effect on research if lab space was not accessible. In contrast, others may have found that opportunities for collaboration have increased. There will be other examples. Candidates should outline the specific result on their output, which promotion committees will consider in their deliberations.


The University makes every effort to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly and that the criteria based on individual merit are applied consistently.

Each application will be considered and judged on its merits in accordance with the criteria applicable to the grade of application. The promotion committee will give due consideration to any circumstances that may have had an effect on productivity, while ensuring that the quality and impact of achievements is demonstrated to the required standard.


New Appointments / Recruitment

The quality of academic appointments substantially defines the quality of the University. New academic appointments are made in accordance with the University’s recruitment policy with each job description aligned with the promotion criteria for each grade and career track in terms of qualifications, skills and experience, detailed in this policy document. Together, these policies set out the procedures which are designed to recruit the best possible candidate for appointment to the University.

Newly appointed early career academic postholders will normally be placed on a salary point within grades 7 or 8 on appointment.  The initial salary placement will be commensurate with previous experience and achievements and will be approved by the Vice Principal & Head of College, or their nominee, in consultation with the relevant Head of HR. All new academic appointees will be required to complete a minimum probationary period before their appointment can be confirmed.

Early Career Development Programme

The University expects that all academics receive constructive advice on career development from senior academic colleagues and in this regard has an established Early Career Development Programme (ECDP). The Programme facilitates proactive support, mentoring and career guidance for staff throughout their academic careers bringing a holistic, managed approach to career development with the aim of developing high achieving, high performing academics who will deliver the objectives of the University.

Over a period of five to eight years, newly appointed and promoted grade 7 and 8 academics will be guided and supported through their career with the expectation that they will reach grade 9 within this timeframe.

Promotion – Eligibility & Re-Application

Irrespective of employment type or funding source, all staff will be eligible to apply for promotion in accordance with this policy.

Normally, employees will be eligible to apply for promotion after twelve months in post however, this requirement may be waived in exceptional circumstances by the Vice Principal and Head of College, particularly where there are live retention considerations.

It may take a number of years to develop a track record which demonstrates that the criteria have been met. Therefore, it is important to plan and diligently prepare the necessary documentation to ensure excellence can be evidenced against the criteria on which an application will be judged.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek advice/guidance from their Head of School / Director of Research Institute before submitting an application form.

The decision to apply is that of the applicant, whether supported or not by their line manager.  Applicants should be mindful that an unsuccessful outcome will normally prevent a further application being made the following year without the support of their Vice Principal & Head of College.

An applicant may withdraw their application at any time prior to the meeting of the College Promotion Committee taking place.

Notification of withdrawal must be via email to hr-ppr@glasgow.ac.uk


Advancement from Research Assistant (Grade 6) to Research Associate (Grade 7) on reaching the scale point maximum of Grade 6 is the normal expectation. Research Assistants who are at the top of the scale will be expected to show a preponderance of strong performance across the Grade 7, Research Only promotions criteria.

Research Assistants who have attained their PhD but are not at the top of the Grade 6 scale may apply for advancement to Research Associate, subject to demonstrable evidence of a preponderance of strong performance across the Grade 7, Research Only promotions criteria evidencing that significant steps have been taken to escalate research effort beyond the expectations of a Research Assistant.

Applications will be considered by the College Researcher Advancement Review Panel which will take place in June of each year.

The Panel will comprise the College Dean of Research, two senior members of academic staff and the College Head of HR. Decisions will be communicated to the Performance, Pay & Reward team who will notify each applicant of the decision taken following consideration of their application by the College Researcher Advancement Review Panel.  Promotion will normally be effective from 1st August.

Where an application is unsuccessful, feedback will be provided by the Head of School / Director of Research Institute. Feedback for professional development purposes will include guidance on the action/s necessary to meet the criteria for promotion in any future application. Unsuccessful applicants at RA 6 may apply again in the following year.

Application Process

The Director of People & OD is responsible for the annual academic promotion exercise and along with the Principal’s Board of Review ensures that the process is appropriately applied.  

There are four main stages to the process:

 Stage 1

 Application Completion and Submission

 Stage 2 

 Consideration by the College Promotion Committee 

 Stage 3

 Principal's Board of Review 

Stage 4

 Notification of Outcome 


Assessment Criteria - Academic Career Tracks

Each application will be assessed against the promotion criteria applicable for the relevant career path and related grade.  The career paths are: Research & Teaching; Research; Research Scientist; Learning, Teaching & Scholarship; and Academic Clinician. There is flexibility to take an alternative career path at all grades.  Any such application will be considered in accordance with this procedure.

Academic Career Track

Grade Research & Teaching Research Research Scientist Learning, Teaching & Scholarship Academic Clinician
10 Professor     Professor Professorial Academic Clinician
9 Senior Lecturer / Reader Senior Research Fellow Senior Research Scientist Senior Lecturer / Reader Senior Academic Clinician
8 Lecturer Research Fellow Research Scientist Lecturer Academic Clinician
7 Lecturer Research Associate Associate Research Scientist Lecturer Associate Academic Clinician
6   Research Assistant   Teaching Assistant Assistant Academic Clinician

When completing the promotion application form applicants must provide evidence that they are performing at the requisite level and demonstrate an upward trajectory in performance that would merit promotion.

To be successful, applicants must demonstrate sustained performance, evidenced against the criteria specified for their chosen career track and grade.  Normally, it is not possible to demonstrate sustained performance within a year of appointment or promotion.

Grade Research & Teaching Research Research Scientist Learning, Teaching & Scholarship Academic Clinician


(qualifying criteria detailed on Zone Descriptors)

    3 columns. Remaining column should satisfy Grade 9 criteria Clinical service* + at least 3 other criteria 


(for Reader see qualifying criteria detailed on Readership Descriptors)

Preponderance Preponderance Column A + 2 others Clinical service* + at least 3 other criteria
8 Preponderance Preponderance Preponderance Column A + 1 other Clinical service* + at least 3 other criteria
7 Preponderance Preponderance Preponderance Alignment with UKPSF Descriptor 1+ evidence of progression towards Descriptor 2 Clinical service* + at least 3 other criteria
6   Preponderance      

 *Clinical service: for use in cases where clinical work is performed directly for the University (veterinary clinicans); for others the academic value and esteem arising from clinical work may be articulated with reference to the other criteria.


Irrespective of the promotion level sought, all applicants must complete the relevant documents in support of their application.

Online Application

The application is essential in the promotion process and should be of the highest possible quality. When an application has been submitted, no additional information will then be accepted, and it is important therefore that the application is clearly evidenced at the outset addressing how the specific criteria for promotion have been met.

Curriculum Vitae

The curriculum vitae (CV) is an important part of the promotion application and provides the Committee with a factual summary of an applicant’s career profile. Applicants must provide an up-to-date CV.

Publication List

Each applicant is required to select up to 6 publications using the online system. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their Enlighten publication record is accurate and up to date. In cases where copyright agreements do not permit deposit in repositories, an addendum to the list will be permitted.

In addition to the above, applications for Grade 9, Readership and Professorship on the Research & Teaching track should also manually add data with respect to Award Generation and PgR Supervision. Video Guidance will be provided to support this.

Statement Provided by the Head of School / Director of Research Institute

Each application will include an evaluation of the applicant’s suitability for promotion, prepared by the relevant Head of School / Director of Research Institute. This will detail the extent to which the application meets the promotion criteria for the grade. The Head of School / Director of Research Institute will comment on the applicant’s achievements taking account of any personal circumstances and confirm the factual accuracy of the applicant's submission.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their application is made available to the relevant Head of School / Director of Research Institute in good time to allow sufficient time for the supporting statement to be submitted prior to the closing date.

In the case of professorial promotion applications, the Head of School / Director of Research Institute is required to consult with, and have their commentary informed by, key Professors within the relevant subject discipline. The commentary is intended to reflect the range of views expressed and should list the professors with whom there has been consultation.

Key points to note are:

  • Applications will be shared on a strictly confidential basis seeking a brief commentary with an indication of support or otherwise.
  • Feedback from the professoriate will be retained confidentially, complying with GDPR Principles https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/dpfoioffice/gdpr/principles/
  • The Supporting Statement from the relevant Head of School/Director of Research Institute should detail the number of professors consulted and the level of support or otherwise indicating clearly the numbers in support/not supportive of each application.
  • Unconscious Bias



Please note that UK visas and Immigration rules for Tier 2 sponsored workers limit the extent to which roles can be changed without requiring a new visa. Promotions within the same career track are generally permissible within the terms of an existing Tier 2 visa. Changing career track (e.g. moving from Research only to Research and Teaching) may necessitate a change in visa and a new visa application will be required. Case specific advice should be sought at an early stage as appropriate from the relevant College or University Services HR team.


Referee Nominations

Two external College nominated references will be sought for Professorial applications.

  • Referees should be employed by a distinguished University.
  • For each candidate, one referee should be employed by a top tier UK University and one should be employed by a distinguished overseas institution.
  • Referees should be confined to those of full Professorial status. Heads of School / Directors of Research Institute should provide written justification in any case where a referee does not hold the title of Professor.
  • Wherever appropriate referees should be of international standing and active in research or scholarship publication in the appropriate field.
  • Referees should not normally have been on the staff of the School / Research Institute in the four previous years, held an honorary or visiting appointment at the School / Research Institute in the four previous years or hold an honorary or visiting appointment currently.
  • The naming of referees (external experts) should not, normally, include people who have co-authored with the candidate in the past four years. Heads of School / Research Institutes should seek the advice of the Vice Principal & Head of College for disciplines where joint authorship is the norm and where collaborators may be best placed to act as referees.
  • The naming of referees should not include people who have acted as a PhD supervisor to the candidate.
  • There may be different aspects of a candidate's work to be assessed and referees should be nominated with this in mind and with an indication, where appropriate, of which aspect(s) a referee is being asked to comment on.
  • For candidates with inter- or multi-disciplinary research interests, Heads of School / Research Institutes are encouraged to nominate referees with an appropriate profile which could include referees from outside the School / Research Institute’s discipline.

External referees will be nominated by the Head of School / Director of Research Institute and endorsed by the Vice Principal & Head of College when an application is to be considered by the Principal’s Board of Review. It will not be normal practice for an applicant to be consulted. This information will be requested from the College following the meeting of the College Promotion Committee.

Referees will be invited to comment upon the extent to which an applicant meets the criteria for the promotion sought when comparing the full application with the University’s promotion criteria and will be asked to indicate if the applicant would be promoted to the level sought within their own institution.

References will only be sought in those cases where an application is considered by the College Promotions Committee to be borderline and where external assessment would assist the Principal’s Board of Review in determining the final outcome.

References are confidential and accessible only to the Principal’s Board of Review and Human Resources staff involved in the application of this policy, for the purpose of processing and assessment of applications.

College Promotion Committee

The College Promotion Committee membership comprises: 

  • Vice Principal & Head of College (Convener)
  • Vice Principal Learning & Teaching (for LTS cases only)
  • Director of Professional Services (where appropriate)
  • All Heads of Schools / Directors of Research Institutes
  • College Deans (Research, L&T, Graduate Studies)
  • Two Senate Assessors
  • College Head of Human Resources

The Director of People & OD or nominee should be in attendance at each of these Committees for consistency.

The College Promotion Committee, convened by the Vice Principal & Head of College, will consider and assess all applications for their College.  Promotion decisions will be determined on the evidence provided by each applicant and on the extent to which they satisfy a preponderance of the criteria across the range of academic activity applicable to the grade and track.  The Committee will decide on balance the extent to which the criteria are satisfied, potentially meriting promotion, and make their recommendation to the Principal’s Board of Review.

In the case of promotions on the Learning, Teaching and Scholarship (LTS) track, the Vice Principal (Learning & Teaching) will attend all College Promotion Committees and will feedback the recommendations of the LTS Panel (which constitutes the VP (L&T) and the Deans of Learning & Teaching) on all LTS cases.  The VP(L&T) will, in addition, highlight borderline cases for consideration by the College Promotions Committee.  Members of the College Promotions Committee may also request that any LTS case be considered by the College Promotions Committee but, otherwise, the recommendation of the LTS Panel will go forward to the Principal’s Board of Review. 

Where the College Committee considers that an application for promotion to Readership and Professorship meets the relevant criteria for promotion, the Board of Review will determine whether an applicant is to be promoted.

The Committee will include staff trained in job evaluation and Equality Act 2010, and Unconscious Bias, and every effort will be made to achieve a gender balance in its composition.  All members of the committee have a role in assessing each case for promotion and must vote either for or against promotion for each applicant. If, for wholly exceptional reasons, a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting, they are required to submit their written assessment, in advance, to the relevant Head of HR and Convener.  The Convener will inform the Committee of the submitted views on each case.

Heads of School / Directors of Research Institutes are not permitted to contribute to the formal discussion and assessment of applications from within their School or Research Institute.  They may however answer any questions of a factual nature as requested by the Committee.  Similarly, any Committee member who has had substantial input into the completion of the submitted application will not be allowed to comment upon such an application.

All outcomes, including the rationale for each decision, will be recorded for the purposes of feedback to applicants and policy monitoring.  The recommendations from the College Promotion Committee will be considered by the Principal’s Board of Review.


Board of Review

The Board of Review membership comprises:

  • Principal (Convener)
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • All Vice Principals
  • Director of People & OD
  • Director of Performance & Reward
  • Senior Senate Assessor
  • 2 External Assessors

The Board of Review is responsible for ensuring that the annual promotion process is appropriately applied.

A Board of Review meeting will take place for the purposes of assessing, reviewing and moderating the recommendations from the College Promotion Committees to ensure fairness and consistency across the University.

Fast-Track Retention/Promotion

The University is committed to retaining high quality staff. To enable the University to respond rapidly to opportunities to retain high quality staff, a fast-track promotion procedure will be exceptionally applied in circumstances of retention, as deemed appropriate by the relevant Vice Principal & Head of College, in consultation with the Head of School / Director of Research Institute as appropriate. In order to facilitate the efficient and timely handling of applications for fast-track promotion and to ensure that delays do not occur, applications may be presented to the College Promotion Committee for consideration out-with the normal timetable. In such cases, the normal assessment process detailed in this policy, and relevant promotion criteria, will be followed. Consultation / deliberation may occur via email and telephone. The Vice Principal & Head of College will determine the urgency surrounding such cases.

Outcome Notification & Feedback

The Director of Performance and Reward is responsible for notifying each applicant of the decision taken following consideration of their application by the College Promotion Committee and Principal’s Board of Review. 

Successful Application

Successful applicants will receive written notification of their promotion along with written confirmation of salary placement and, if appropriate, any market supplement.  Promotion will normally be effective from 1st August.

A successful application for promotion to Grades 7, 8 or 9 will normally result in salary placement on the first point for the new grade unless the applicant is already being paid within the contribution zone of Grade 6, 7 or 8.  In such circumstances, salary placement will be one incremental point above the level of salary prior to promotion.

In the case of promotions to Readership, salary placement will be at the top of the Grade 9 substantive pay scale.

A successful application for promotion to Professor will normally result in salary placement at the bottom of Zone 1 of the University’s Professorial zone-based pay and reward structure.  Placement within a zone will be determined in accordance with the policy for zone-based pay and reward. Professorial designations are agreed in consultation with the relevant Vice Principal & Head of College.

Clinical academics working jointly with the NHS will receive confirmation of a change of status.  Salaries are set by the NHS and depend on the level of the honorary contract.  On promotion to Senior Academic Clinician, the University will establish a clinical slot at the appropriate level with the relevant NHS Medical Director, following which the recruitment team will set up a joint NHS committee to agree the award of honorary consultant status.   Thereafter, on receipt of the honorary consultant contract from the NHS, a job plan will be jointly agreed with the NHS and a new contract of employment issued by the Recruitment Team accordingly.

Unsuccessful Application

Where an application is unsuccessful, feedback will be provided by the Head of School / Director of Research Institute with appropriate information from the College Promotion Committee / Board of Review, and the support of the College Human Resources team, as required. Feedback for professional development purposes will include guidance on the action necessary to meet the criteria for promotion in any future application.  Unsuccessful applicants may not apply in the following year without the support of their Vice Principal & Head of College.

Procedural Irregularity

The decision of the College Promotion Committee and the Principal’s Board of Review is final. There is no right of appeal against a decision taken not to accede to an application for promotion unless there are circumstances that call into question the procedures that have been applied. In such circumstances, the applicant is required to discuss the feedback received with their Vice Principal & Head of College.

An unsuccessful applicant may appeal to the Director of People & OD in circumstances where they can demonstrate that due process was not followed, and that this failure has affected the outcome. The appeal should be made in writing, stating the perceived breach of procedure and detailing the way in which this has influenced the outcome. Resubmission of the original application or the provision of new information will not be accepted. An applicant has fifteen working days from the date of the notification of the outcome to submit an appeal.

Should the Director of People & OD determine that there are grounds for an appeal, the applicant will be informed in writing. Thereafter, in accordance with the agreed procedures, an Appeal Committee will be constituted, with membership comprising individuals not previously involved in the promotion process for the applicant in question.

The membership will comprise of:

  • One Professor, having due regard to the provenance of the appellant
  • One UCUG Representative
  • One Senior Human Resources Professional

The Appeal Committee will meet as soon as is practicable following the decision of the Director of People & OD. The written appeal will be circulated to the Head of School / Director of Research Institute and the Convener of the relevant College Promotion Committee or Board of Review. The Appeal Committee will interview the appellant (who may be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative), and, where appropriate, may seek additional information from the Head of School / Director of Research Institute and the Convener of the relevant College Promotion Committee or Board of Review. The Committee will consider the original material available and will be permitted to call others to attend or to request the submission of written statements.

The Appeal Committee will be empowered to consider the facts of the case presented before determining:

  • to uphold the appeal and refer the matter back to the relevant Promotions Committee or Board of Review for reconsideration of the substantive case following the correct procedure and/or process; or
  • to reject the appeal

The Appeal Committee does not have the delegated authority to vary the original outcome. The decision of the Appeal Committee will be final.



All materials and deliberations relating to applications will be treated in the strictest confidence by all participants in the process. Members of the College Committee / Board of Review will not normally discuss applications or recommendations outside the Committee meeting structure, unless for advice on a procedural matter.

For any references sought the contents are confidential to the members of the Board of Review and will not be passed to anyone else including the applicant. All references will be obtained by Human Resources and authorisation to contact external referees is obtained from each application at the point of application submission. In line with data protection legislation, the content of a reference and its use in the decision-making process could be scrutinised by the applicant.

Application Retention

It is the University’s policy, in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998, to retain each application, and associated correspondence, in an individual’s personal file, including references sought for successful applicants. References sought for unsuccessful applicants will be held for twelve months and then securely destroyed.



Launch of Academic Promotion and Zone Movement Round 11th January 2021
Deadline for Applications to be completed online 15th March 2021
Applications available to Committees 22nd March 2021
College Promotion/Zone Movement Committees By 30th April 2021
HR Collation of Outcomes By 7th May 2021
Principal's Board of Review                                                                                   8th June 2021
Notified of final outcomes By 2nd July 2021*
 Effective date of Promotion/Zone Movement 1st August 2021

* Subject to receipt of references.