Research and knowledge exchange

Frequently asked questions

In an organisation as large as the University of Sussex, it can sometimes be tricky to track down answers to simple questions relating to your role or employment. Below are the answers to some of the common questions we get asked by research staff along with links to further information, guidance and resources.

The questions and answers on this page are grouped info the following categories: 

 

You may also wish to visit our Policy and Resource Library which has links to important policies, guidance and support relating to your research activity, development, employment and the wider context of the University. 

Employment

When is my pay day? 

Monthly paid staff are paid by bank credit transfer in arrears, on the last working day of the month. Payments through the Casual payroll are also made on the last working day of the month. Information on payroll cut-off dates and other payroll information can be found at payroll and pensions documents and forms

Who should I contact with queries relating to my pay or pension?

Every School/Unit has a dedicated payroll and pensions contact. You should contact this person in the first instance with any pay or pension related queries.

How many days annual leave am I entitled to?

Annual leave entitlement may vary depending on your contract of employment and you should consult the terms and conditions of your employment in the first instance. The standard annual leave entitlement for full time research staff is 30 days including University minimum service days (pro-rata for part time members of staff). The leave year runs from 1st October to 30th September

 When are bank holidays and other closures?

 Information on term dates, bank holidays and the University minimum service days can be found on the Term dates and other key dates page.

 Can I work flexi-time?
 

You should refer to the university’s flexible working procedure for detailed information.

If you are a member of staff with 26 weeks continuous service you have the right to make a formal request for flexible working once in every 12 month period.

 What is my notice period?

Notice periods vary depending on the nature of contract so you should refer to the terms and conditions of your employment contract in the first instance. If in doubt speak to the HR advisor for your area

Where can I find information about my legal rights as an employee on a fixed term contract?

You should refer to the University’s Fixed Term Contracts: Management Guidance for information regarding the policies for fixed term employees.

In addition Vitae has some very useful information on researchers' employment rights in the UK.

My fixed-term contract is due to expire soon. Where can I find information about re-deployment and redundancy?

The university has a redeployment procedure, you should look at the redeployment procedure and redundancy procedures on the HR Policies page.

How do I apply for a promotion?

Details of application processes for research staff promotions and pay rewards are provided on the promotion/reward procedures webpage. Research Fellows should apply for promotion via the academic promotions process. Research Fellow Promotions: Tips for successful promotion applications [PDF 81.20KB]

Where are staff vacancies advertised?

Staff vacancies are advertised on the University’s current vacancies page

Am I entitled to maternity/paternity/adoption leave and/or parental leave and pay?

Your maternity/paternity/adoption and parental leave entitlement will vary depending on the nature of the contract and how long you have been in post in your current role. You should refer to the terms and conditions of your employment and also to the family friendly policies for more information.

If funded on a research grant your funder may also have guidance surrounding Maternity/paternity/adoption and parental leave and you should also check their policies/guidance as many will allow grant extentions and/or reimburse the institution to cover periods of leave. Those funded on an UK Research Council grant should refer to the RCUK briefing on maternity/paternity/adoption and shared parental leave.

I'm being harassed or bullied at work. What can I do?

The university is committed to preventing any form of harassment or bullying in the work place. If you feel that you are being harassed or bullied by another individual(s), in the first instance you should try to talk to the person(s) concerned directly. If this doesn’t make a difference or you feel unable to talk to the person(s), you should discuss the issue with your manager/mentor or other trusted person in your school/department of work. You should keep a log of all incidents of harassment/bullying and any discussions held with individuals about the issue.

If none of these help then you should take the issue to the University’s Harassment Support Group (see the Harassment and Bullying policy for contacts) who can provide advice, or the HR advisor for your area.

The University’s policy on Harassment and Bullying sets out more information about the steps you should take.

If informal methods fail to stop the harassment, you can make a formal complaint through the Grievance procedure.

I am suffering work-related stress. What support can I get?

If you feel you are suffering from work related stress you should discuss the problem with your manager/mentor or the HR advisor for your area. The University makes counselling services available through Occupational Health and you should contact your HR advisor or line manager if you wish to be referred or alternatively you can make a self-referral. Further information is provided in the University’s stress management policy.

Who's my contact in Human Resources?

Each area of the university has dedicated HR support. You can find out who your contact is by consulting the list of HR Contacts by Area of the University page

 

Policy, Research and Funding

What is the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers

The UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers [PDF 2.70MB] is an agreement between funders and employers of research staff to improve the employment conditions and support for researchers and research careers in UK higher education. It sets out clear standards that research staff can expect from the institution that employs them, as well as their responsibilities as researchers.

What is the HR Excellence in Research Award?

This is a European Commission award that recognises higher education institutions’ commitment and strategies for implementing steps to enhance working conditions for researchers as set out in the European Charter for Researchers and (in the UK) the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

The University of Sussex was recognised with an HR Excellence in Research Award in April 2013 and is continuing to implement its Concordat Implementation plan. The award is reviewed at 2 year intervals. Further information and documentation relating to the University's award can be found on the HR Excellence in Research webpage.

What is the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and how does it affect research staff?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The submission deadline for the most recent REF exercise has passed and the outcomes were published on 18th December 2014.

The results of the government-commissioned exercise show that over 75% of research activity at Sussex is categorised as 'world leading' (4*, 28%) or 'internationally excellent' (3*, 48%) in terms of originality, significance and rigour. For a full breakdown of the University's results visit the University's REF results web page.

A number of impact case studies and videos have been produced that celebrate the benefits that Sussex research is having both nationally and internationally.

Research staff contribute to the REF either (a) directly if they are leading their own research projects as a Principle Investigator (PI), or (b) indirectly when their supervisor/PI/collaborators submit research on which the researcher is a co-author.

The next REF or equivalent assessment exercise is currently expected to take place around 2020, pending confirmation.

Where can I find information about Intellectual Property (IP) and commercialisation?

There is a guide to Intellectual Property Rights available through the Research and Knowledge Exchange webpages.

If you think that your research has commercial potential or you have an idea or opportunity that might be suitable for exploitation, you can find out more about the support available to you from Research & Enterprise Services or The Sussex Innovation Centre.

The University has created the Enterprise Development fund to support academic commercial activity. Research staff are eligible to apply for funding through this mechanism to support activities such as proof-of-concept work, development of a business model, securing IP protection, and access to specialist consultancy services.

What funding opportunities are available for research staff?

Guidance relating to research staff funding is available through the Research Staff Funding pages and Research and Knowledge Exchange website. Funding is available through a wide variety of external sources and Research Professional is the best place to begin your search for funding opportunities.

In addition to external sources of funding there are a number of calls each year through the University’s Sussex Research initiative, some of which are open to research staff to apply.

How does the Peer Review Process Work?

Peer review processes vary depending on which funder you are applying to or which Journal/Publisher you are submitting your publication to. It is therefore best to check the peer review processes of the individual organisations you intend to submit your work to. 

The Peer Review - The Nuts and Bolts [PDF 1.03MB] guide was written for early career researchers by members of the Voice of Young Science Network. It is a good starting point to understanding peer review as it gives a broad and general overview of peer review of research papers and includes contributions from those involved in running peer review processes, editing and reviewing.

How do I upload my research publications to my web profile?

You should manage your publications record through Sussex Research Online. Once your publications list is uploaded you should identify those that you wish to include on your web profile and choose the ‘make public’ option. The publications should appear on your Sussex profile by the next day.

 

Other Support and Information

How do I contact IT Services?

The IT services webpages have trouble shooting guides for a wide range of commonly encountered issues. You can also request assistance through their red ‘help’ button. You will need to log in with your ITS username and password to report your problem.

You can also visit the IT service desk in Shawcross or telephone the general enquiries line (ext. 8090) +44 (0)1273 678090.

How do I book onto University training courses?

The Research Staff Office coordinates the Research Staff Development Series of workshops specifically for research staff. These workshops can be booked online through the research staff training and development pages or via Sussex Direct.

It is a University expectation that you should spend a minimum of 5 working days on activity to support your professional development; see the Research Staff Professional Development Guidance [PDF 1.65MB] for more details.

University training courses offered through the Staff Development Unit and the Researcher Development Programme can be booked through Sussex Direct. Once logged into Sussex Direct, navigate to the ‘personal’ menu, and choose ‘staff development’. Here you will be able to browse and book onto courses.

Other courses may be offered outside those listed on Sussex Direct and in these cases information on how to book will be provided in the advertisement for the event.

I would like to use the University logo in my Powerpoint/Poster presentation. Where can I find the University's branding guidlines?

Branding information is available through the University’s Publications and Branding Website

Who do I contact regarding disability issues?

 The information pages for disabled staff provide an overview of the guidance and support available. If you have any concerns or questions you should contact the HR advisor for your School/Unit in the first instance. The University’s contact for Equality and Diversity issues is Ms Jackie Rymell (J.A.Rymell@sussex.ac.uk)

Where can I find details on Health and Safety?

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing office is responsible for advising on all aspects of health and safety in the university. Their website contains health and safety policies and guidance.

Every School/Unit has a nominated Health and Safety Coordinator and you should approach this person in the first instance with any health/safety concerns.

You will receive a health and safety induction from your manager or health and safety coordinator very soon after you start working at Sussex.

How do I book a room?

Room booking requests for general teaching spaces (GTS) should be made through the online Room Booking Facility, you will need to log in with your ITS username and password.

Bookings of other non-GTS rooms are usually managed by the School or Unit offices.

How do I book catering for a meeting?

University catering is provided by SussexFood and can be booked through their website. You will need to register with them and know the project code to which you will charge the booking. The budget holder will need to approve catering requests to secure the booking.

How do I find a member of staff?

All University staff have an online profile. You can search for individuals using the search facility in the top right corner of the Sussex website. Select the ‘People’ option and search for all or part of the person’s surname.

Is there any language support available for non-native English speakers?

The Sussex Centre for Language Studies is now offering its English language support to Sussex research staff. This includes 1 to 1 language tutorials, small group workshops and online resources for researchers who are non-native English speakers.

You can find details of the workshops and tutorials available on the Academic Development Study Direct site.

Spaces for 1 to 1 tutorials are released in batches and fill up very quickly, so you may need to wait for a few weeks for an appointment with a tutor.

 

Practical Information for New Research Staff

How do I obtain my University ID card?

On your first working day, once you have presented your documentation to Human Resources (room 338, Sussex House), you will be able to obtain a staff I.D. card from the Print Unit in Hastings building. You should refer to the print unit website for opening times and information.

What is my employee/payroll number and how do I get one?

On your first working day you will need to present your documentation to Human Resources (room 338, Sussex House). You will then be registered as a staff member at the University and will be issued with your payroll number which will be listed on your personal pages of Sussex Direct.

How do I get an ITS username and password?

Prior to you starting at Sussex, your manager or School’s administrator will request an IT account to be set up for you. On your first day you should visit IT Services in Shawcross building to collect your username, password and email address.

It is also a good idea to attend an IT induction, either on your first day or soon after. This may have been arranged in advance for you by your manager/school administrator or can be requested upon your arrival at Sussex by contacting ITS.

When is the next staff welcome event?

You will be invited to a University level induction soon after you start work at Sussex. These are held once every term for all new staff across the University.

You will also be invited to a Research Staff Welcome Lunch hosted by the Research Staff Office. At this event you will have the opportunity to meet other new members of research staff and find out about the specific support available to researchers across the University.

What is the Research Staff Office and what does it do to support research staff?

The Research Staff Office is part of Research and Enterprise Services and co-ordinates University level provision and support for research staff.

The Research Staff Office works with research staff representatives, colleagues in schools and professional services across the university to champion the needs of research staff. We implement policy and projects to enhance researcher experiences and to support the professional development of research staff at each stage of their research career at Sussex.

The Research Staff Office co-ordinates activity in:

  • Induction
  • Researcher Community Building
  • Communications
  • Confidential support and 1:1 coaching
  • Training and Development
  • Mentoring
  • Research Staff Strategy and Policy
  • Research Staff Feedback (e.g. Careers in Research Online Survey)

For further information see the Research Staff webpages

What is the Research Staff Mailing List and how do I subscribe to it?

The Research Staff Mailing List is used to communicate news, events and information relevant to research staff and those involved in supporting research staff. All new members of research staff will be added to the list automatically. If you are not subscribed but wish to receive the emails, please contact the Research Staff Office (researchstaffoffice@sussex.ac.uk).

Where can I find information about pension schemes?

The payroll and pensions section of the HR website contains information and guidance relating to the University pensions scheme (USS). Each School/Unit has a dedicated payroll/pensions contact who can assist with pension related queries.

How do I obtain a parking permit?

Once you have been registered as a member of staff you can apply for a parking permit on Sussex Direct. Once logged in to Sussex Direct, navigate to the ‘personal’ menu and select ‘transport’ to request a parking permit.

How do I register with a doctor or dentist?

Staff members are able to register at the Health Centre and Dentist located on campus.

Is there a childcare facility on campus?

Yes, there is a purpose built nursery on-site that caters for children aged 3 months to 5 years. The The nursery is operated by The Cooperative Childcare and is open daily from 7.30am-6.30pm. For more information see the nursery website.

During school holidays Sussexsport run holiday activities and camps for 5-16 year olds.

Is there a sports centre on campus?

Yes, facilities are located at two sites on campus: the Sport Centre and the Falmer Sports Complex. For further information visit the Sussexsport webpages.

Are there any prayer facilities on campus?

Yes, the Meeting House is the multi-faith center on campus. The Muslim Student Centre (x3322) also has prayer facilities.

When is the library open and what facilities does it have?

During term time the University Library is open 24 Hours from 12.00pm Sunday until 18.00pm Friday (vacation hours vary). The library has a wealth of resources to support research and teaching, for information visit the library webpages.

Do you have a map of the university?

Yes, here is the campus map.

Is there a bus service into town from campus?

Yes, the 23,25,28 and 29 buses run between the university campus and the centre of Brighton. Bus timetables and information is available from Brighton buses.

Does the University offer staff training?

Yes, the Research Staff Office offers a number of specific workshops/events throughout the year that are tailored specifically to research staff, these are advertised through the research staff training and development webpage, and the Sussex Researcher newsletter.

In addition the Staff Development Unit offers a variety of training courses open to staff across the university.

Research staff are also eligible to attend any workshop offered through the Researcher Development Programme.

It is a University expectation that you should spend a minimum of 5 working days on activity to support your professional development; see the Research Staff Professional Development Guidance [PDF 1.65MB] for more details.

Where should I go for careers advice?

The University’s Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) offers support and advice for research staff on all aspects of career management. There is some useful careers information for research staff on the CEC website. If you require an appointment with a careers consultant you should contact the careers advisor for your school.

See also the careers section of the Research Staff webpages for additional information and resources

Where can I find information about the University's management structure?
The University’s organisation and management structure is set out in the Organisation of the University document. The University is governed by two main bodies known as Council and Senate. At the head of the University are the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. For further information see the Governance webpages.

 

Thinking about working at Sussex?

What are Sussex's research strengths?

Research is at the heart of our academic activity at Sussex, and the rich diversity of our work is reflected across a wide range of disciplines.

The results of the Government-commissioned Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 show that 98 per cent of research activity at Sussex is categorised as ‘world-leading’ (28 per cent), ‘internationally excellent’ (48 per cent) or ‘internationally recognised’ (22 per cent). For a full breakdown of the University's results visit the University's REF results web page.

A number of impact case studies and videos have been produced that celebrate the benefits that Sussex research is having both nationally and internationally.

What is the ranking of the University of Sussex?

Visit the University rankings pages to find out the current ranking of the University of Sussex on a variety of national and international league tables.

Can I visit the University?

Yes, the campus is open year round to visitors. You may also wish to view the online campus tour and maps and directions to help you plan your visit.

What's it like to live in and around Brighton?

The University of Sussex campus is located only minutes from the exciting city of Brighton & Hove. With the beach, great places to eat and shop, a rich cultural life, and a cosmopolitan vibe, Brighton really is a unique and fascinating place to live and work.

Brighton also has excellent links to London and London Gatwick Airport for international travel.

For more information, visit our Brighton web pages.

Where can international staff find out more information about living and working in the UK?

The Research Staff Office have created an International Researcher web page with lots of useful information.

Adidtionally, the University of Sussex is a partner in the European Commission’s EURAXESS initiative, which provides support for researchers and their families living and working in Europe. The Euraxess UK website provides excellent information and resources for international researchers moving to the UK.

The Euraxess guide for international researchers moving to the UK [PDF 2.49MB] gives a comprehensive overview of the key things you need to know about living and working in the UK.

If you are a member of current/prospective Sussex staff and have a question that you think Euraxess might be able to assist with, please email euraxess@sussex.ac.uk

What can the University do for disabled staff?

The University is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to ensuring that disabled staff are given the support they need in order to fulfil their role within the University. Each area of the university has a dedicated Human Resources Contact that will coordinate any particular arrangements or support required for disabled staff members.

Please see the HR information for disabled staff for further information and guidance.

 Did you find an answer to your question? If not try our practical support page or policy and resources library.

 

Contact Us

E: researchstaffoffice@sussex.ac.uk

T: 01273 877979

Research Staff Office, Research and Enterprise Services, Level 1, Falmer House, University of Sussex, BN1 9QF

 Twitter @SussexResearchr