Life in the Department

The department is a lively place to work. During term time, there are

  • regular seminars
  • regular departmental coffee mornings (including some epic cookies once a term)
  • social events for students, postdocs and within research groups

The department also has an annual Christmas dinner, usually at a college, as well as a family-friendly summer party.  We are in the habit of celebrating successes and achievements with cake and fruit.

Professional Development

Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring provide alternative and highly effective development opportunities for staff to work through knotty issues, gain insights and achieve goals.

Mentoring is a voluntary process in which one person gives their time to help a mentee.  The aim is to provide confidential, non-judgemental and constructive support to enable the mentee to develop themselves in whatever way is most appropriate. A mentor may be a sounding board, someone to help you work through your ideas, and someone to throw light on your path.

Postdocs will be offered a mentor within the department during their induction with their PI/supervisor/line manager. This will be somebody other than the person they directly report to.

Annual Performance Development review (PDR) and Career Development review (CDR)

All University staff are entitled to a conversation that is dedicated to their personal and career development, gives them the opportunity to agree goals and objectives and creates an environment in which feedback can be heard and received.

Career research champion for postdocs

Professor Gesine Reinert is our early career researcher champion. Her role is that of informal support, offering career advice, assisting with small grant applications, discussing teaching opportunities and the like. It is embedded in the departmental structure in that she reports to the Equality and Diversity Committee in our department, liaises with the MPLS Division and also with the early career support group in Maths. Professor Reinert will be in touch to find out what our new postdoctoral researchers may be interested in during their first week.

The Careers Service offers support specifically for research staff

Review and Reappointment 

Associate Professors are normally appointed for five years in the first instance. Reviews are held at the mid-period (in the third year) and in the fourth-fifth years of appointment. Should these be satisfactory, the Associate Professor is then granted tenure (which is formally called reappointment to the retiring age). Evidence of sufficient progress in research and sufficient contributions to teaching and administration is required at each stage; the review process is much the same at each stage, but differs in the level of attainment expected.



New starters

The University website provides comprehensive information about starting as an employee.

Your first day

On or before your first day you will have a brief meeting with the HR and Finance Administrator who will complete your right to work check and take copies of all the necessary documents. On your first day with the department you will be invited to an HR induction with the HR and Finance Administrator. The meeting will last approximately 45 minutes and you will go through key details including, a building induction and tour of the department, this will also be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about the department or your role.

Your first week

During your first week you will have an initial objective meeting with you line manager/ supervisor where you will be allocated a mentor and will set SMART objectives to complete during your probation, during this meeting you can discuss any requirements for your role including IT, training and group arrangements.


Your probation length is detailed in your contract. Halfway through this period HR will write to your supervisor/manager to arrange a meeting where you can review and document the progress made on your objectives. At the end of your probationary period, subject to satisfactory performance, you will receive a letter confirming the end of your probation.

Further resources

You may want to take a look at the University Staff Handbook and also do the online course Induction for new staff

Training and Workshops

People and Organisational Development Unit (POD)

POD is the university’s main provider of courses for staff, which provide:

Personal development 

  • Online resources and tools for planning personal development
  • Face to face and online personal development and personal effectiveness programmes
  • Mentoring on job application and interview skills from a network of experienced recruiters in the University (professional services and support staff

Coaching and mentoring              

  • One to one coaching from a network of volunteer coaches in the University
  • Guidance on finding and working with a mentor

Other departments that provide training and workshops include:


Other university mentoring and networks

The department is an inclusive and friendly environment. It is well-run and has great people (faculty, support staff, and students) and exciting research.