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I'm starting a lecturer position in Computer Science in the UK, which is roughly equivalent to a tenure-track assistant professor position. However, the department head told me that, while they do provide some support for conference travel, they do not offer any kind of startup package and we are expected to acquire our own grant funding to hire postdocs etc.

  • Is it the norm that new faculty members do not receive any kind of startup support in the UK?
  • If yes, how do new faculty members start building up their career? (I would love to continue devoting all of my time to research, but I will have some teaching obligations which will certainly lower my individual research output.)

I'm still a PostDoc in Canada for a few months and my supervisor is as puzzled as I am about this information.

Background: The UK university is part of the Russell Group, which is a self-selected collection of UK universities that are (supposedly) the most research-active.

Edit (Regarding Teaching Load): I have a 1+1 teaching load (reduced to 1+0 in the first year) but I was told that, in the UK workload model, one also has other obligations such as tutorial classes, taking on several project students, and master thesis supervisions. These students are being assigned to me and their projects are not necessarily related to my research.

1 Answer 1

In my experience, startup packages for Lecturers in the UK are much smaller than for Assistant Professors in the US. That said, I have never heard of a Science/Engineering School in the Russell Group offering no startup funds.

My School would typically:

  • Guarantee £30,000 contingent upon the Lecturer applicant applying for a £15,000 Royal Society Research grant (if the application was not successful the school would provide £30,000, but if the application was successful the school only provided £15,000) These grants have a very high success rate.

  • Guarantee funding for a 3 year Phd studentship

  • Guarantee "research" computers for the Lecturer and PhD student

The school also had a small amount of internal money for running pilot experiments (applications up to £5,000) conditioned on a large grant proposal at the end and conference travel (applications up to £1,000) conditioned on presenting work. These could be applied for every other year. New lecturers were given a boost to their application scores for their first 3 years.

The school also could recommend new Lecturers for money from the University (up to £25,000). They could only recommend only person per year and the money was somewhat competitive.

If the new Lecturer was successful everywhere (which is not too difficult), they could expect £67,000 and a PhD student. The school would also make sure there was suitable lab space with furniture. In the UK, you are also paid on a 12 month contract so there is no need for summer salary.