UEA is a research intensive university, with a long standing tradition for interdisciplinary research, an enthusiastic atmosphere and a willingness to explore new ideas, which makes UEA a special place to conduct research.

With our partners on the Norwich Research Park we are particularly well-placed to conduct research in areas of global significance including health and climate change and the security of food, energy and water.

Our research expertise influences national policy and international decision-making, particularly in areas relating to the environment, health, cultural development and the public service.

The international significance of UEA's research has been confirmed by the Times Higher Education world rankings for 2012 which placed UEA in the UK top 10 and in the world top 60 for research impact through citations of our research.

Support for Research Staff working at UEA

Delivering research excellence depends on attracting, developing and retaining high-achieving research staff. Our aim is to support the development of all research staff and to nurture our early career researchers (ECRs). There are approximatley 400 research staff working in 25 Schools of study spread amongst four Faculties. Each Faculty has an Associate Dean for Research who works to support the development of the research environment and who are members of the University's Research Executive, Chaired by our Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (PVC-RI, formerly title the PVC-Research and Enterprise.

Your School has appointed a Research Staff Co-ordinator (RSC), who is there to provide information and advice on the support available to you at a local (subject specific) and university level. We have a Code of Practice for the Management of Research Staff which provides guidance to research staff, Heads of Schools, Principal Investigators and other research managers, and Research Staff Co-ordinators (RSC) on how they can create an appropriately managed and supportive environment in which research staff can work effectively in pursuit of their project goals and to develop their careers.

The University has produced specific guidance on Appraisal for Researchers, Guidance for the Appraiser, along with some Frequently Asked Questions on appraisals for researchers. The University has also introduced Guidelines for Research Managers, providing  an overview of the HR processes that will enable PIs and other research managers to be effective line managers for research staff. A document has also been produced to provide guidance on naming individuals on grant applications.

HR Excellence in research


‘A UK-wide process, incorporating the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Chapter B11: Research Degrees and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, enables institutions to gain the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award, acknowledging alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment'.

UEA has confirmed its commitment to the new Concordat. UEA's Code of Practice for the Management of Research Staff is informed by the U.K. Concordat in its 'Support of the Career Development of Researchers. The Concordat details the 'expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders.' It aims to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK and to improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy.

At UEA the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (PVC-R&I) has lead responsibility for ensuring that the principles of the Concordat are met. Following a gap analysis, led by the Research Staff Working Group (Chaired by the PVC-R&I), UEA developed its own Concordat Implementation Plan, outlining how we support the personal, professional and career development of our research staff, in accordance with the Concordats' principles. In September 2012 UEA was awarded the ‘HR Excellence in Research' badge by the European Commission in recognition of the commitment made by the University to implementing the principles of the Concordat. 

As a condition of the award UEA undertook a successful two-year internal assessment (Progress report 2014, revised Concordat Implementation action plan 2014-16) and a four year external assessment (Progress report 2016, new Concordat Implementation action plan 2016-20, Engage case study) of progress against the original 2012 Concordat Implementation Plan. For both assessments the Research Staff Working Group led an extensive evaluation of the University’s work on researcher development. This evaluation was informed by feedback from school-level focus groups, input from research staff representatives, and research staff responses to the national Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS). In 2015 57% of UEA research staff responded to the survey and 40% responded to CROS 2017. 

Throughout 2018 we have been reviewing our progress against the 2016-20 action plan. We have reported on our activities for a six-year evaluation (HR Excellence in Research progress report 2018, Action Plan review 2018) and compiled a revised action plan for the remaining two years (Concordat Implementation Plan 2016-20 – final 2 years). The revised action plan reflects the close alignment between the HR Excellence in Research award and Athena SWAN agenda.

Following a review by the PVC R&I, the Research Staff Advisory Network (formerly the Research Staff Working Group) has now been replaced by an annual Research Staff Summit (commencing January 2019), and a Research Staff Blackboard discussion portal. The PVC-R&I will continue to monitor progress against the Concordat Implementation action plan and report action points to the Research Executive. 


Indicative Job Descriptors for Research Staff

These indicative descriptors set out the expected levels of contribution by University staff appointed to RA terms and conditions of appointment, whose roles are focused wholly or mainly on research-related activity. 

They have been developed locally in consultation with UCU, and are based on current practice within the University and good practice examples in other research-intensive HEIs. 

Each level, grade 6 to 10, subsumes the competencies of any lower levels.  The descriptors set out a summary of the key levels of experience and responsibility needed for entry into a particular level and the typical responsibilities expected of role holders at each level.  It is unlikely that any single researcher will be applying all these responsibilities at any one time but he or she would typically be expected to operate at the levels of responsibility described. It is also recognised that the complex nature of the University means that not all these descriptors are necessarily relevant to researchers in every School.

Academic managers and researchers can use these descriptors to guide career development discussions informally and as part of the Appraisal process; and in the organisation of responsibilities within project teams to provide appropriate experience for progression to the appropriate higher level post. 

These descriptors can act as indicative job descriptions where no other information is available for researchers; however it is not intended that they would replace or supersede any job description currently in place.

The descriptors are already being used by colleagues in RIN and HR to establish the appropriate grade and salary scale for new research posts and in the costing of new externally funded research posts, significantly speeding up the administrative process between award of grant and advertising. 

The descriptors will supplement the University’s current Grade Criteria for the Promotion of Research Staff to give a further degree of transparency, consistency and robustness to the promotions process.

Indicative Job Descriptors for Research Project Administrative Staff

These research administration indicative job descriptions have been designed to assist with costing and recruiting research administration posts and have been developed to reflect the typical scope and range of duties for:

•    Project Administration Manager/Co-ordinator (Grade 7)
•    Project/Research Administrator (Grade 5)
•    Project/Research Administrative Assistant (Grade 4) 

Each of the three job descriptions has been evaluated and confirmed by HERA at the respective grades and can be utilised for the above purposes without the need for further review by Human Resources.

It is anticipated that the job descriptions below will apply to the majority of posts.  Where proposed job descriptions differ from the indicative roles, these will need to be forwarded to HR for HERA evaluation to check that removing or adding duties and responsibilities will not affect the grade of the post.


To find out about research opportunities available at UEA, search our current vacancies.

Research Passports

Information and guidance on applying for a Research Passport can be found here..

Training and development

The Centre for Staff and Educational Development has a full programme of training and development for all staff. There are dedicated pages specifically for Research, and Enterprise and Engagement.

The Careers Service at CareerCentral provides support, guidance and training to make the most of your career development

ResNet is a contact, support and information network for all women working in research at UEA, the Institute of Food Research, the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury laboratory. Women Researchers Enterprise Forum (WREF) is sponsored by the Norwich Business School, Careers & Employability, ResNet, Research and Business Services & UEA Entrepreneurs. Email to join the mailing list.


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and was completed in 2014. The REF will be undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The exercise will be managed by the REF team based at HEFCE and overseen by the REF Steering Group, consisting of representatives of the four funding bodies.

More information about REF can be found on the Research and Enterprise Services web pages.

Vitae - Researchers' portal

Vitae is a national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes.

They play a major role in the drive for high-level skills and innovation and in the UK's goal to produce world class researchers and their vision is for the UK to be world-class in supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers.

To read more and get the latest updates and downloadable documents please visit: www.vitae.ac.uk/