Contract Research Staff
This web page is designed to provide a general resource of useful information for research staff. General information about the department is available in the Medical Physics Staff Handbook, which should be read by all new members of staff joining the department If you think there's anything missing from this webpage that you would like to see here, please contact a member of the PDRA Committee (see below).
The Postdoctoral Research Assistant Committee
The department's Postdoctoral Research Assistant Committee consists of four volunteer postdocs. They meet with the Head of Department on the second Friday of the month to discuss any departmental issues affecting research staff. Members of the PDRA Committee also attend the department Academic Group meetings (first Wednesday of the month), where the department's activities, including teaching and research matters are discussed.
Normally, elections are held for two posts on the PDRA Committee each year, with by-elections held when necessary between elections.
The current committee members are:
Please contact us if there's anything you would like to discuss or find out about.
Department Resources And Support
Department Mentoring Scheme
The department runs a mentoring scheme for all contract staff. Post-docs are assigned a senior staff member from another research group as a mentor and are advised to meet with them at six-monthly intervals to discuss their career progression and any aspects of department life that they are concerned about. The mentoring scheme is not compulsory, and you are free to organise meetings on a time scale that you find most appropriate. Most staff members have found the scheme useful.
If you have just started in the department and have not yet been assigned a mentor, then please let the research staff committee know and we'll be happy to find you one.
Bookable Rooms and Equipment
The Rotblat room (2.14), small meeting room (3.14a), and seminar room (1.19) can all be booked by contacting the departmental administrator, Vikki Crowe. Priority for these rooms is given to teaching during term time.
A laptop and data projector can also be booked by contacting Vikki Crowe, and can be collected from the Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering reception.
Minutes for the department Academic Group, Teaching Committee and DSSCC Meetings can be found on the intranet.
Teaching In The Department
There are teaching opportunities available for post-docs in the department - the main ones being supervision of undergraduate and MSc student projects. Project descriptions from supervisors are collated each summer for our new students to choose for the following academic year. Undergraduate projects run until March and MSc until July.
Each year, we also need undergraduate tutors.They meet with a small group of students on a regular basis during term time for academic tutorials covering the topics they are currently learning. This is a great way to keep your undergrad physics knowledge fresh! If you are interested in becoming a tutor or giving lectures in the department, then please contact Jem Hebden.
Your contract at UCL
All research staff are subject to a period of probation, which is either six months (grades 1-6) or nine months or more (grades 7-10). Information about UCL’s probation procedures and review forms can be found at:
The completed probation forms, must be submitted to the Department Staffing Officer, who will then forward these to the UCL- HR Employment Contract Administration Team
UCL requires that all members of staff undergo appraisal at least once every two years. This policy is founded on the belief that all members of staff have a right to a clear understanding of their department's expectations of them, and to have an opportunity for detailed discussion of their contribution to the department and UCL. The appraisal is normally conducted by the staff member’s line manager (e.g. head of research group) and is designed to facilitate effective two-way communication. It also enables any training and development needs to be identified. The first appraisal should be conducted within six months of the end of the probationary period, with the aim of setting objectives. Guidance on the appraisal scheme, including how to prepare for the review discussion, can be found on the following webpage:
The appraisal form is available here:
The appraisal form (for non-professorial staff) should be completed and submitted to the Head of Department – Jem Hebden, to be signed off and logged onto MyView. UCL Professors are appraised by the Head of Department using the online PAR system.
UCL's Organisational and Staff Development (OSD) unit offers a wide-ranging programme of training courses, giving opportunities for all staff to update and enhance their knowledge and skills to fulfill current and future demands at work. More information can be found at:
It is recommended that all UCL staff should complete three learning events per year. An A-Z of (free) training courses is available here:
You will receive electronic payslips before the end of each month on MyView:
If you are a post-doc employed on a specific project, you're probably employed on an "open ended contract with grant/project end date". See section 10 of the following website for more information:
When your project funding is ending, your contract may well be terminated. The procedure is described here:
It is UCL policy that staff on fixed-term contracts attend an “End of Contract”meeting with their project supervisor no later than three-and-a-half months before the end of their appointment. This meeting provides an opportunity to explore redeployment options. More information about the UCL Redeployment Register is available at:
Details on maternity/paternity/adoption leaves, your pension, the cycle scheme, eye tests and many other benefits can be found here:
If you're looking for a long term career in academia, then you'll be looking for promotion at some point! There are separate promotion procedures for teaching fellows, research staff and academic staff:
Take a look at the academic procedures if you want a bit of guidance on what your CV should look like to get a lectureship!
The main part of our Department is situated right next door to the science library. However, you can access on-line journals at:
The Public Engagement Office
UCL has a Pubilc Engagement Office who can give you support and advice if you're looking at carrying out public engagement. The Engineering Faculty Public Engagement Coordinator, Clare Elwell, is also in our department and she's always on the look-out for people willing to be involved in PE.
IT Services for Researchers
UCL’s Information Services Division provides a wide range of services to assist researchers in their work.
IRIS (Institutional Research Information Service) is a one-stop shop for information on research activity at UCL. It provides free and open access to UCL researcher profiles including contact details, list of research activities and themes, a full publications list etc. Providing and maintaining a comprehensive profile in IRIS will allow collaborators from both inside and outside of UCL to easily identify you and your work.
For help on how to use IRIS and complete your profile with a biography, research summary etc. please look at the IRIS on-line help pages.
UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS) allows you to maintain a full list of your publications, and to comply with UCL's Publications Policy, and with the open access requirements for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF). You must create and manage data related to your publications, and upload your accepted manuscripts through RPS, within 3 months of acceptance. Papers that do not comply cannot be submitted to the REF.
For more information on how to make your papers open access for the next REF, see UCL’s open access webpages. For help completing your RPS profile with a biography, research summary etc. please look at the RPS help pages.
To find out the range of Research IT Services available that include Research Software Development, Research Computing Platform Services, Research Data Services, Training etc. please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the RITS web site.
The Housman Room
The UCL Academic Staff Common Room, the Housman Room, is situated at the end of the north cloisters. Membership costs £30 per annum and is open to all staff employed by UCL. The room has a licensed bar serving hot and cold food, drinks and a range of teas and coffees. Opening hours are normally from 9.00 am until 8.00 pm, although times may vary according to the time of year; food is served between 11.45am and 2.00 pm. A range of daily newspapers, including foreign language papers, and magazines are also available to members and their guests, along with vending machines providing a variety of hot drinks.
It’s a good place to take collaborators. You can sign in up to 6 guests. However, you cannot sign in UCL staff that are eligible for membership, but have chosen not to join. Undergraduates are not permitted, and registered post-graduate students of UCL can only come in as guests after 2:30.
To become a member please complete the application form.
More about the Housman room can be found here http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ascr/
The UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching offers accredited courses in teaching (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/calt/ucl-staff/). You will need to attend the 'Introduction to Research Student Supervision at UCL' session if you intend to be a supervisor for a PhD student.
All UCL taught courses have a Moodle page (www.ucl.ac.uk/moodle) where students can access documents for each course and tutors can send emails to the entire cohort for that course.
A lecture capture system (Lecturecast) is now in the main lecture theatres at UCL. For information regarding the system and how to book a recording, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/staff/e-learning/tools/lecturecast
The Learning Technology Support Service (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/staff/e-learning/ltss) deal with Lecturecast, Moodle and all other e-learning tools.
Higher Education Academy
If you're really interested in the teaching side of things, then the Higher Education Academy has loads of documents and resources for teaching: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/physsci/resources
As a post-doc, you're probably already aware that many grants, especially project grants from Research Councils, will not allow you to be Principal Investigator. Do not dispair! If you have made a significant contribution to writing a proposal, then it might be possible for the PI to name you as a 'Researcher-Co-Investigator' on the proposal. You are also eligible to apply for personal Fellowships; these are generally very competitive, but senior staff in the department and Matt Davis and Caterina Mora, the BEAMS school research facilitators, are here to help you with any applications.
BEAMS Research Funding Webpage
This can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/research/beamsfunding and requires a UCL username and password for access. The Fellowship Opportunities and Guidance Documents sections are probably the most relevant for you.