Academic Career and Reward Framework

Project overview

This project is developing a new Academic Career and Reward Framework for academic teaching and research staff at the University of Oxford.

The overarching objective is to recommend a set of proposals to improve the career paths, workload, and reward and recognition of academics. The project has the following aims:

  • A set of clear career paths for academics and research staff;
  • Recognition of teaching and research, and the ability to adjust the balance through career;
  • Clarity on pay benchmarks and pay mechanisms;
  • Pathways which readily align with the research career progression;
  • Relief of workload stress for Associate Professors. Promote and encourage departments to engage and use workload models; and
  • Improved satisfaction with pay and benefits.

Work has been divided into four main workstreams:

  1. Academic Pathways Framework 
  2. Academic Workload 
  3. Academic Reward and Recognition
  4. Academic Contracts and Policy


The first two workstreams (Academic Pathways Framework and Academic Workload) are well underway and currently in their data gathering and benchmarking stage, which will largely be complete by the end of Hilary term 2024.

Following initial sector benchmarking work carried out in the summer of 2023, the project team has been engaging stakeholders across the collegiate University with its initial thinking around the framework. These discussions began in Michaelmas term 2023, through Divisional Board meetings and committees, at the Joint Committee for Equality Diversity & Inclusion, at People Committee, and with trade unions. In Hilary term 2024 there was further consultation with the Conference of Colleges Steering Committee and workstream leads are presenting to the Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE) Board in April 2024.

Six focus groups involving staff with teaching and/or research responsibilities, in a range of roles from across the University, were held in March 2024. These were led by an independent facilitator.

Visit the workstream pages at the links above for updates on each aspect of the project.

Next steps

  • Trinity term 2024: Further engagement with professional services colleagues whose work intersects with academic roles is planned from April 2024 onwards.
  • Michaelmas term 2024: Analysis of the data gathered will be used to formulate and model recommendations by the end of Michaelmas term, with further divisional and committee engagement planned.
  • Hilary term 2025: A proposed framework will be shared for consultation in the New Year, before an agreed framework is taken forward for implementation.

Pay & Conditions review

The Academic Career & Reward Framework project is separate to the Pay & Conditions review commissioned by the Vice-Chancellor in 2023. The data gathering and benchmarking requirements for the two projects overlap, however. Relevant insight and analysis on academic pay and reward will be shared between the steering committees for both projects, and recommendations coming out of the Pay & Conditions Report will be reviewed by the Academic Career & Reward Framework Steering Group to inform the development of proposals.