Guidelines and policies

IHW guidance note on personal and professional development time for staff

Photo of person with laptop, notepad and coffee


This guidance concerns:

  • Early Career Researchers (ECR) defined as R&T/R-only grades 6 and 7;
  • MPA grades 3 to 5, and MRC bands 7 to 5 and their line managers.

The guidance does not cover staff above these grades. This is because at these grades, the distinction between ‘personal and professional development’, grade role descriptors, and expected contributions to unit/institute overall performance indicators is more fluid, and guidance unlikely to be helpful.


The guidance seeks to ensure equality of opportunity for all ECR/MPA staff at the above grades to develop professional skills and experience, and strengthen their CV. It is intended to guide decisions on personal and professional development, and balancing of workload priorities.


Personal and professional development activities are those which fall outside of the core research for which the individual has been hired and/or fall outside of the role descriptors on the individual’s job description. Activities should be broadly relevant to individual roles and should enhance skills that are beneficial to the university. It is not the type of activity that is important, but whether it falls inside or outside of the core research/role descriptors for that individual.

  1. The basic principle is that an ECR/MPA staff member (R&T/R-only grades 6 and 7; MPA grades 3 to 5, and MRC bands 7 to 5) are entitled to have a minimum of 10 days per year (equivalent to 5% of time/2 hours per week) to spend on personal and professional development (pro-rata for part-time staff). For research staff, the purpose of this time is to enable staff to progress against the 12 domains of the Researcher Development Framework.
  2. It is up to the individual staff member how they spend this time, with guidance and agreement from their line manager. Staff may also seek guidance from a mentor, if they have one. Unless there are good reasons why time out would harm core work, line managers should work towards agreement. At the same time, they should be free to challenge poor ideas, and ensure staff are not wasting their time or being exploited. Researchers funded by more than one external project, or by a combination of core and external, should split this time proportionally to their time allocation on each source of funding.
  3. Individual staff members and their line manager should discuss and agree which of their planned or potential activities count as personal and professional development. If agreement cannot be reached, Research Group leads should be consulted by research staff, and the IHW Unit administrators group by MPA staff.
  4. The annual PDR is a key opportunity for such discussions, but there may need to be further discussion throughout the year as opportunities for personal and professional development arise. Mentors can also play a valued role in helping individuals identify, or choose between, opportunities.

The Glasgow Professional Behavioural Framework is relevant to MPA staff. 

Opportunities for ECRs at University of Glasgow are structured around the Researcher Development Framework

Approved by IHW executive group
First approved To be confirmed
Last reviewed/updated December 2021
Next review due June 2024