UCL’s policy, terms and procedures for the appointment of individuals to ‘Honorary’ and ‘Visiting Professor’ associations with UCL.
1. This document sets out UCL’s policy, terms and procedures for the appointment of individuals to ‘Honorary’ and ‘Visiting Professor’ associations with UCL.
2. This policy applies to the conferment of all honorary appointments, including ‘Visiting Professor’ status, across UCL. All UCL staff involved in administering or conferring these appointments are required to follow this policy.
3. Conferment of the title of Emeritus Professor will only apply upon retirement of a UCL member of staff who is a Professor and cannot run concurrently with any honorary appointment. The Emeritus Professor guidance and procedure applies to the conferment of the title.
4. For Affiliate Academic appointments, the Affiliate Academic Scheme applies to their appointment.
5. An honorary or visiting title may be conferred upon a person who will make a contribution to the academic, teaching or research programmes of UCL or to other programmes which benefit the University. The appointee should be of an academic standing equivalent to that of the academic title to which they are appointed at UCL. The UCL Academic Career Framework sets out the expected performance at each grade, and it may assist in determining the equivalent honorary title. Honorary and Visiting titles may not be conferred on employees of UCL.
Categories of honorary and visiting appointment
6. The categories of honorary or visiting appointment to which a person may be appointed and the equivalent academic status are set out below:
UCL Honorary Status
Guidelines on Equivalent Status
Honorary Professor of UCL
This title is reserved for individuals who are closely linked to one of UCL’s academic departments (or Institutes), and who are from a non-UCL academic/research institution.
This title may be conferred upon distinguished individuals from either related fields of activity (e.g. the professions or industry) or academic/research institutions.
Honorary Associate Professor
The title is reserved for individuals who are closely linked to one or more of UCL’s academic departments (or Institutes), and who are from an academic/research institution.
Title awarded to individuals who are equivalent to Associate Professor who undertake teaching/lecturing and/or research.
Title awarded to individuals who are equivalent to Lecturer level and who undertake teaching/lecturing.
Honorary Senior Research Fellow
Awarded to individuals equivalent to Senior Research Associate grade and above. Individuals would primarily be involved in research/collaborative projects rather than teaching.
Honorary Research Fellow
As for Honorary Senior Research Associate but awarded to less experienced individuals. (E.g. those with a higher academic degree).
Honorary Research Assistant
Awarded to individuals equivalent to UCL Research Assistants. This includes individuals who do not hold a PhD in a relevant subject, which are involved in research/collaborative projects.
Periods of appointment and termination
7. Honorary appointments will continue to have effect for a period of up to five years. Honorary associations have temporary conferred status at UCL. For the avoidance of doubt, at no time will anyone appointed to an honorary position be an employee of UCL.
8. The continuance of conferred status is subject to compliance with UCL standards, policies, and regulations. UCL reserves the right to bring all associations to an immediate close at any time. Advice should be sought from the Academic Registrar where matters of Research Misconduct are alleged and, from HR Business Partnering on other matters. The appointee will be advised in writing if they no longer hold an honorary status.
Privileges, rights and obligations of persons with honorary appointments
9. Persons with honorary appointments:
a. are not members of the Academic Board or any faculty;
b. may obtain a visitors card and have access to the UCL’s information facilities, including its electronic communication network;
c. may be provided with office accommodation at the discretion of the head of department;
d. will report to the head of department (or alternative supervisor as approved by the head of department);
e. will acknowledge UCL in publications and grant applications arising from research involving University collaborations; and,
f. will comply with UCL’s statutes, regulations and policies as they relate to their activities.
g. are expected to behave in a manner which promotes a positive cultural climate where all staff and students can flourish and where no-one will feel compelled to conceal or play down elements of their identity for fear of stigma. This includes a commitment to upholding the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion in their work
10. Persons with honorary appointments may not:
a. commit or authorise expenditure of UCL funds;
b. carry out performance appraisals for UCL staff without a co-supervisor who is a University employee; or
c. be directed to undertake an activity on a regular or recurring basis.
11. Honorary staff are covered by UCL’s employer liability, professional indemnity and personal accident policies. The UCL travel insurance policy may be used for trips made on behalf of UCL.
12. Appointees are required to adhere to UCL policies, including but not limited to:
- UCL Equal Opportunities Policy Statement
- Information Security Policy and supporting policies
- UCL Intellectual Property (IP) Policy
- Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy
- Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk Policy and Procedure (Staff and Students)
- UCL Health and Safety Policy
- UCL Disclosure of Conflict and Declaration of Interest Policy
- Personal Relationships Policy
- DBS Checks and Criminal Convictions Policy
Use of honorary titles
13. A person may use their honorary title during the term of their appointment when carrying out any activity which forms part of their contribution to UCL.
14. A person with an honorary appointment, when carrying out activities which are outside his or her contribution to UCL, in circumstances where it can be reasonably construed that there is an association between UCL and the person with an honorary appointment, may use his or her honorary title during the term of the appointment where:
a. there is no conflict of interest between the person’s work and his or her contribution to UCL as a person with an honorary appointment; and,
b. appropriate insurance and indemnification arrangements are in place.
15. The responsibility lies with the person with an honorary or visiting appointment to ensure that these requirements are satisfied. Persons with an honorary or visiting appointment should seek advice from the head of department if further clarification or advice is sought in relation to this item.
Payments to honorary and visiting appointees
16. A person with an honorary or visiting appointment may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable payments to cover expenses associated with the provision of his or her contribution to UCL, such as travel, accommodation, meals and incidentals.
17. Payments to international honorary and visiting appointees will be in accordance with any visa conditions. It is necessary for the department to check the right-to-work for any Visiting Professor or Honorary staff member, who will undertake paid work for UCL.
18. For Appointments held in a department within the School of Life and Medical Sciences, the SLMS Honorary Appointment application process must be followed.
19. Honorary appointments in a non-clinical Faculty:
i) For Honorary Professor, Visiting Professor and Honorary Associate Professor titles, a review of the candidate’s credentials should be completed by an ad-hoc group of experts selected by the Vice-Provost/Dean.
ii) For all other titles, local procedures will apply and the Head of Department should determine whether to approve the request.
20. With prior agreement from the proposed honorary appointee, the department may request references.
21. The titles of Honorary Professor and Visiting Professor are conferred by the President and Provost of UCL.
22. If a title is approved, the sign-off should be sent to the Department Administrator to submit the Honorary appointment request on MyHR Department Transactions.
Letter of appointment
23. An honorary appointment will be made by a letter of invitation issued by Human Resources which stipulates the terms and conditions of the appointment.
24. Where an individual will be working in a position of trust undertaking ‘regulated’ activity as part of their honorary role at UCL, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be required before they can perform work at UCL. An honorary appointment letter will not be issued without DBS clearance, if it is required.
UCL Employment Policy team, November, 2020.