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IIRP guidance

1. Background

1.1    De Montfort University’s (DMU’s) strategic vision includes a commitment to “nurture, recognise and support researchers and research leaders” (Strategic Framework 2015-20), and it is further committed to creating a dynamic environment and pervasive research culture that encourages academic staff to undertake ambitious, innovative and rigorous research.

1.2    From a DMU perspective, the overall aim of research and innovation allowances is to provide research-active academic staff time to enable international quality research to be undertaken. 

1.2    The main aim of IIRPs is to provide a framework to support research-active academic staff in developing and planning their research career.

1.4    The IIRP framework is designed to ensure fairness and provide increased transparency regarding the allocation of research and innovation allowances.

1.5    DMU supports and values research of international quality wherever it is found, including where it falls outside the boundaries of the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission.

1.6    IIRPs will be peer-reviewed by school-based panels in order to inform workload allocation discussions.  Final decisions about staff loading will be made by the line manager responsible for resource allocation (usually the head of school), and oversight of staff workloads will remain with Faculty Staff Loading Review Groups.

1.7    Any member of academic staff on the single pay spine seeking a research and innovation allowance and all professorial staff will be required to submit an IIRP which should detail research and innovation plans for the coming year.  Whilst Profs are not formally included in staff workload planning, they are included in the IIRP process to allow for review and feedback and to guide heads of school in allocating teaching and other duties.  Where appropriate this should be discussed with the appropriate local research lead (e.g., Head of Research Group).  Detailed research outcomes from the previous year will be captured using the existing Staff Research Record Form which will be required to be submitted with the IIRP.

1.8 The IIRP may be made available to inform the annual appraisal process at the initial meeting in August/September.

1.9 Systems are in place to ensure that people who know they will be away from DMU at the time of the IIRP exercise can still engage with the process.

1.10   It is expected that heads of school ensure that, where appropriate (especially for early career research staff), adequate mentoring and support is available to the researcher from a suitable research mentor, in order to support their IIRP application.

1.11  This document is aimed at providing guidance for members of staff producing an IIRP and school panel members and should be read in conjunction with other guidance provided (e.g., Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)).

1.12 Specific queries relating to IIRPs should be directed to either the relevant Faculty Head of Research and Innovation/Associate Dean (Research and Innovation).


Prof Deborah Cartmell


Prof Jo Richardson 


Prof Brown


Prof Alistair Duffy


2.  Operation of Panels

2.1    Panels will be established at School level.

2.2    The panel will comprise:

PVC Research & Innovation (Chair) or their representative.

Faculty Head of Research and Innovation/Associate Dean (Research and Innovation). 

A minimum of two senior research active members of academic staff (e.g., Reader, Professor, UoA Coordinators)

A minimum of two junior research active members of academic staff (e.g., Senior Lecturer, Research Fellow).

RBI staff member

Faculty servicing officer

2.3    Due consideration should be given to the balance of the panel in terms of Equality and Diversity.  All panel members must have undertaken Equality & Diversity training within the last 2 years and will be appointed by the Faculty Head of Research and Innovation/Associate Dean (Research and Innovation), subject to the Chair’s approval.

2.4    The main role of the panel is to provide guidance to the line manager responsible for resource allocation (typically the head of school) in terms of the appropriateness of the research allocation requested in the context of: (i) the research and innovation plan proposed, (ii) outcomes from the previous plan (if appropriate) and (iii) support required to achieve the plan.

2.5    The panel will not make any decisions in terms of resource allocation, which will remain the responsibility of the line manager responsible for resource allocation (normally the appropriate head of school).  The panel will recommend an allowance to the line manager responsible for resource allocation.

2.6    It is important that the research and innovation plan is evaluated in the context of: (i) any disclosed individual circumstances, (ii) the size of research and innovation allowance requested and (iii) the career stage of the member of staff requesting the allowance. Where training and development requirements are identified the applicant should be supported as appropriate.

2.7    The panel should not prioritise particular types of research and innovation activity (e.g., REF-related research).  DMU also recognises that there is a need to engage with stakeholders in order to develop impact from research.  Consequently, activities related to scholarship, research, innovation and research-related impact would be welcomed in an application for a research and innovation allowance if appropriately balanced.

2.8    In evaluating IIRPs, panels will consider the fact that the process of developing the research/innovation concept, undertaking any necessary pilot studies or literature reviews, submitting an application for funding, obtaining that funding, undertaking the full project and then producing outputs from the research may take several years.

2.9    Individuals will see comments from the panel.  There can be further discussion between the line manager and panel if required.  Should the individual or line manager be unhappy with the panel’s advice, or should the individual feel that their line manager has not given due consideration to the advice from the panel he/she will be able to discuss this with the Chair of the panel or the Faculty Head of Research and Innovation/Associate Dean (Research and Innovation).  If appropriate, issues will be raised with the relevant Dean for final clarification.

2.10   Any adjustments to the allowance will be made responsible for resource allocation.  If the proposed changes are significant, the Chair of the panel will be consulted.

2.11   The timings for the panel are such that any clarification needed by the panel can be obtained before the recommendations are passed to the line manager.  Allocations will be reviewed against recommendations on an annual basis.

2.12     Completed forms will also be available to relevant UoA Coordinators to view, whether part of the appropriate panel or not.

2.13     Character limits for the IIRP form will be strictly applied.  

3. Who should fill in the form?

3.1    Anyone who wants to request a research and innovation allowance that will be considered in determining an individual’s total academic workload.  Whilst professors are not formally covered by the workload allocation system, an allocation of an IIRP assists the head of school in allocating workload across the school and also ensures that feedback on research performance is given.  Therefore all professors are expected to complete an IRP form.

3.2    Failure to submit an IIRP will result in a zero additional research and innovation allowance for the academic year.

3.3   Staff who are employed on a fixed term basis and grant funded to conduct research for 100% of their time are not required to complete a form.

3.4    In their first 12 months in post following commencement of employment, VC2020s and ECAFs receive a default allowance of 640 hours pro rata (from the notional 1569-hour working year) for research. This default allowance applies for the first 12 months regardless of start date e.g. where someone commences employment on 6 February 2017, the 12 months expires on 6 February 2018. Where the 12 months expires before the next IIRP round, the Head of School/Department should agree an appropriate allowance with the PVC Research and Innovation for the intervening period and will normally reflect the pro rata equivalent of 640 hours per annum in respect of that period. For ECAFs who progress into a VC2020 role, the above allowance will apply in the same way for their first 12 months in post as a VC2020.

3.5   Individuals do not need to apply for a research and innovation allowance if partially bought out on specific internal/external funding unless an additional time allowance is wanted, but they should still complete the form in order for this time to be recognised correctly.

3.6 Individuals do not need to apply for a research and innovation allowance if fully bought out on specific internal/external funding but they should still complete the form in order for this time to be recognised correctly.

4. What should/shouldn’t be requested?

4.1 Longer, pre-planned research-based consultancies should be included, as should research-based Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.  Time can be requested to build up research.  Shorter projects may arise at any time and should continue to be dealt with as they are at the moment – line managers may need guidance as to what constitutes a “shorter” project and can come to the panel chair for advice at any time.

4.2 PhD supervision should not be listed in the plan.

4.3 Time for unfunded research can be included in the plan, but some details must be provided to guide the panel about what the outcomes from this activity will be.

4.4 Staff who are undertaking PhDs cannot request time for PhD research through the plans; however, time to produce outputs from PhD research may be included if appropriate.

4.5 Plans should be both realistic and ambitious – the panel may come back to an individual for clarification or may request a revised plan if the initially submitted form is felt to be unrealistic or lacking ambition. A clear distinction should be drawn between tangible objectives that are planned to be achieved over the next year, and longer term, more strategic aspirations. There are sections in the form where both these aspects of your research and innovation plans can be articulated.

4.6 An individual may seek advice about how to complete their form from either the Faculty Head of Research and Innovation/Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) or the faculty research and innovation office.

5. Timeline

Submission of IIRP and Staff Research Record to 
Faculty Research Support Office
Friday 31 March 2017
School Panel meeting to consider IIRPs May 2017
Panel recommendations to Line Manager responsible for 
resource allocation (e.g., Head of School/Department)
June 2017
Feedback to applicant

July 2017



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