UCL Human Resources


Research Staff Appointment Guidance

This Guidance applies to the appointment of different types of research staff.

All research staff are employed on Research and Professional services staff terms and conditions of employment


Job title

1. Research staff are appointed to one of the following job titles:

  • Research Assistant – Grade 6 scp 25 - 27
  • Research Fellow-Grade 7
  • Senior Research Fellow-Grade 8
  • Principal Research Fellow-Grade 9
  • Professorial Research Fellow-Grade 10

Qualifications and experience 

2. Research Fellows at Grade 7 and above must hold a PhD.  In exceptional circumstances, where the applicant can demonstrate extensive research experience over several years, they may be appointed  without a PhD.

3. Automatic Promotion from Research Assistant (grade 6) to Research Fellow (grade 7) will take place when the member of staff obtains a relevant PhD. The promotion will be effected once the PhD has been awarded, and will be backdated to the date the PhD thesis was finally submitted (including corrections).  The department must complete the regrade form, to submit the request to UCL HR Services requesting a regrading on this basis, confirming respective dates of submission and award, and supplying appropriate supporting paperwork from the awarding body. (Extract from Academic Promotions Guidance.)

Research fellowships 

4. Where someone holds a research fellowship this should be recorded on the new contract request form using MyHR Department Transactions. Such fellowships are generally awarded by the Research Councils, the Royal Society, and charities.

5. Existing academic staff who are awarded an externally funded research fellowship will be given the appropriate Research Fellow title and retain their academic terms and conditions of employment.

Marie Curie Trainee Fellows

6. Marie Curie Trainees hold European Commission funded training fellowships, for the purpose of training early stage researchers who are doing a PhD.  The training is completed jointly with other private or public sector partners.

7. The Marie Curie Trainee will be paid a fixed salary on job grade "MCT" for the duration of the fellowship which will not qualify for cost of living awards. They will be paid the current London Allowance which will qualify for adjustments. There are four possible levels of basic salary depending on whether they have dependents and whether they opt out of SAUL membership. Please visit Research Services for salary information and for information about Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship appointments. 

The contracts of employment will be issued by HR Services. The probation period is six months.


Proleptic Academic Appointments

8. Some early-career fellowships require that the Fellow, appointed on Research Terms be appointed to an academic position (Lecturer) at the conclusion of the Fellowship. In these cases, in order for the Fellow to prepare for the future academic role, they will be required to serve the 36 month probation for Proleptic Fellows and Lecturers without substantial experience.  The 36 month probation will start at the commencement of the Fellowship. If the fellowship is for less than 36 months the period of probation will continue in the academic appointment.

9. Research Fellows are required to set aside sufficient time to meet the requirements of the probation scheme, including completion of UCL Arena Two, without compromising their research commitments. With Funder approval, a research fellow may use an additional designated title assigned by the Funder alongside the Research Fellow title during the Fellowship.

Without Proleptic Appointments

10. Research Fellows without proleptic appointments will serve 9 months probation. See the Induction and Probation Policy.


11. The tables below outline the research related occupational types with an associated description, to assist with new contract requests and changes.  This information must be entered correctly for reporting purposes:

Occ Type


Occ. Type Name



Research Fellow



Senior Research Fellow



Principal Research Fellow



Professorial Research Fellow

Research Fellows – appointed to a Fellowship

Occ Type


Occ. Type Name



Research Fellowship



Senior Research Fellowship



Principal Research Fellowship



Professorial Research Fellowship

Research Assistant or Marie Curie Trainee

Occ Type


Occ. Type Name


6B or MCT

Research Assistant or Marie Curie Trainee

Honorary Research Associates

Occ Type

Occ. Type Name


Honorary Research Associate 


Honorary Senior Research Associate

Please also see Current and historical Non Clinical Researcher (RES) staff categories.

HR Employment Policy Team
October 2022