UCL Health


360- Degree Feedback Tool for Academics

Implementing 360-degree feedback for academics to improve research culture and wellbeing.

In 2022, as part of the Research England Research Culture award UCL received, the Academic Careers Office partnered with consultants, Dr. Paul Chadwick and Kelsey Paske, to explore the use and impact of 360-degree feedback with academic staff. This project followed two key UCL projects that identified the need for upward feedback mechanisms to address behavioural and wellbeing concerns in academia; the Behavioural Science systems mapping of sexual misconduct at UCL and UCL Centre for Behaviour Change and UCL Organisational Development and Research Culture team using behavioural systems mapping to explore research culture. This project considers that 360’s while they can be beneficial, can be used as a blunt instrument if implemented incorrectly or to the disadvantage of personal development if not aligned with key organisational frameworks and with no follow up. 

Initial Pilot 2022

This initial pilot program included:

  • undertaking a rapid literature review regarding the role of 360-feedback programmes for improving organisational culture and performance; 
  • conduct analysis of existing UCL data relevant to understanding research culture; 
  • conduct a survey with academic staff to understand their experience and perceptions of the use of 360-feedback; 
  • develop a model for 360-feedback suitable for use with academic staff, grade 8 and above; 
  • pilot the 360-feedback process with academic staff, Grade 8 and above in Life and Medical Sciences; 
  • and produce a report with recommendations on upward feedback mechanisms, including the use of 360 feedback. 


As there was a clear need to further test and refine the items and core competencies, this work has been expanded. 

While a psychometric tool like the item list used for the 360-model usually takes 2 years, this was developed and piloted in 4 months. The UCL specific 360-degree tool was informed by the current UCL 360 items, the ways of working, research integrity framework, academic careers framework and from the literature and best-practice review. The consultants developed a broad range of items, or questions that focused on specific behaviours, these were then assigned and reduced to ten domains.

Each item was accorded with a specific Grade, with the expectation increasing the more senior the Grade. The design focused on accessibility, user-friendly design, clear competencies, behaviourally specific items and psychological safety. The small pilot across the Life and Medical Sciences faculties included 27 participants, 5 receiving feedback and the other 22 providing feedback. Those receiving feedback were provided with a personalised feedback report highlighting their self-reflection ratings of each item, and by competency against the collated rating provided by their invited raters.

Key themes that emerged from the pilot include: 

  • Consensus that 360-feedback should be compulsory for roles with line management responsibilities. 
  • The process was valuable, however its success will depend on staff skills in implementation and adequate resources to implement. 
  • The impact on research culture and wellbeing would be positive, however, the key concern is ensuring there are no repercussions for individuals who have provided critical feedback to a colleague. 
  • Coaching support and guidance would support the process further. 
2023-25 Expanding the Academic 360 Feedback Process

From 2023-25, the project led by consultants will build on the findings of the project conducted in 2022 to further. The second phase will expand the pilot across a faculty, which will be the Faculty of Brain Sciences,  while developing the tool’s capability to be:

  1. Implemented with an adequate time committment by staff
  2. Integrate with support from Central Services
  3. A fit for purpose mechanism that supports faculties' aims. 

The key recommendations this expanded project will address include: 

  • Further test and refine the core competencies and items; and once refined assign them to different grades and staffing streams (e.g. research only, teaching only, mixed) 
  • Expand the pilot to a Faculty (the Faculty of BRain Sciences has volunteered to further pilot) 
  • Explore the technological capability to deliver this program at scale Consider a long-term strategy for this and align this with the work of the Research Culture team, UCL Organisational Development and key frameworks including: the Ways of Working, Research Integrity Framework and Code of Conduct, bullying and harassment policies and disciplinary processes, and the Academic Careers Framework. 
    How you can get involved

    If you would like to get involved in this work you are welcome to complete a Grade specific survey by 30th March. The survey should take no more than five minutes. 

    Grade 8 item reduction survey 

    Grade 9 item reduction survey

    Grade 10 item reduction survey

    Faculty of Brain Sciences Workshops: 18th, 19th and 20th April 

    If you are a part of the Faculty of Brain Sciences and would like to volunteer for a workshop to discuss and refine the items by grade and stream. A diverse range of roles and experiences are ideal.  If you are interested, please email Kelsey on kelsey@kelseypaskeconsulting.com with your name, role, and availability on these dates by March 25th. 

    All participants will receive a voucher for their time and the workshops will take place between 1:30-4:30pm on the dates listed above.