Checklist for research staff

This checklist has been produced by the Research Staff Working Group. The following questions are offered as prompts for researchers both for discussion with supervisors and for pursuing independently. They should be used in combination with the parallel document 'Researchers' careers', which has more detailed information and provides links to sources of further advice. 

In the first three months of your contract 

  • What do I want to get out of this experience as a researcher at Oxford? 
  • Where do I see myself being in five or ten years' time? What are the implications of that for my career and professional development while I'm here? What opportunities do I need to look for? 
  • Do I understand the terms of my contract, including the fixed-term nature of it? 
  • Have I seen a copy of the University's Code of Practice for the Employment and Career Development of Research Staff? 
  • Have I looked at the staff handbook on the HR Support website? 
  • Have I completed my initial induction? Do I know what induction procedures there are in the department/group? What have I been sent or given? What do I need to know about? Who shall I ask? (My supervisor? The departmental administrator? A colleague?) 
  • Do I know about research and publication protocols and codes of practice in my group and department, and in the University generally? Do I know what training is available from the University on research integrity? 
  • How clear am I about what is expected of me in this project? 
  • Do I know what the Careers Service offers specifically for researchers? 
  • Do I know what the People and Organisation Development Unit and my division offer (for example, induction seminars, seminars on teaching)? 
  • Do I know what the University and College Union offers for research staff? 

During the contract 

  • How is my work progressing? Have I asked for feedback from my supervisor or from colleagues? What am I doing well? What could I improve? How am I working on these? 
  • How well am I attending to my career? What opportunities have I taken (eg conferences, publications, grant applications, teaching, training events and networking)? 
  • How well am I attending to my personal development? Have I had a personal development review meeting? 
  • What are my achievements? What are my goals? How do I see my future beyond the end of this contract? What action am I taking towards this? 
  • Have I registered with the Careers Service for Researchers? 
  • Where can I get advice? 

Approaching the end of the contract (typically around nine months before the end) 

  • Have I familiarised myself with university procedures relating to the expiry of fixed term contracts? 
  • What are the prospects for my continuing employment on this (or a different) project? (Do I want to stay?) 
  • What discussions have I had with my supervisor about this? What communication have I had with my departmental administrator? What action am I taking to secure the job that I want when this one finishes? 
  • Where else can I get advice and support? In particular, have I checked what advice for researchers is available to me from the Careers Service or from divisional resources (see further information)? 

Related links