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The University of Southampton
Working as a Researcher

Fixed term contracts

On average, 80% of Level 4 research staff are on Fixed Term Contracts (FTCs) within the University

Working as a researcher can often mean that you are employed initially on a contract for a fixed period of time. As a contract researcher, you should however expect many of the same benefits as staff on open-ended (permanent) contracts. These include:

* Subject to certain conditions.

Seeking permenancy

Research staff ‘who are employed on successive fixed term contracts for four years or more are considered by law to be permanent unless a fixed-term contract has been justified on objective grounds' (Vitae, Researchers, fixed-term contacts and Universities: understanding law in context, 2010:09).

Research staff are entitled to ask to be moved onto an open, i.e. permanent, contract subject to funding if they have been continuously employed at the University for four years and have had at least one extension of contract.

If you are a UCU (University and College Union) member, you could also seek advice from one of their FTC representatives. The branch has experienced officers who will be able to help you negotiate around the contracts maze, including managing the ending of a fixed term contract. The branch particularly encourages ECRs to join their Fixed-Term Contracts Working Group. This working group engages directly with the University in seeking to improve conditions for contract staff. Email for further information.


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