Careers in research

Are you looking for a research career at the University of Derby? Find out more about current vacancies and what it is like to work here.

Research at Derby

We have a vibrant research environment with around 400 doctoral students and 300 research-active staff. There's a culture of applied and innovative research, which is led by our colleges and research centres, in collaboration with the University Professorial Council.

If you choose to join us at Derby, here's what you can expect:

In the University's most recent staff survey

93%have good work relationships
80%are proud to work here
73%have a sense of accomplishment from their role

Research career pathway

A career in research is incredibly rewarding and will allow you to make discoveries that have a huge impact in the real world. Whether you are starting out as an Early Career Researcher or have already gained experience and are considering your next move, take a look at our career pathway.

The first part of your career will involve being a researcher or lecturer. Within these roles, there are a range of positions available depending on your experience, such as assistant and senior positions. Research roles (Research Assistant, Researcher and Senior Researcher) are more commonly associated with fully funded projects while lecturing roles (Lecturer and Senior Lecturer) will allow you to share your knowledge through teaching while working on your own research.

In both roles, you will become an expert in your discipline, generate your own research and support others’ research and bring in external income and funding. Your research will also contribute to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). In more senior roles, you will be leading on research programmes, knowledge exchange and enterprise activity. Within a lecturing role, you will ensure that research informs and inspires a research-led curriculum and teaching.

Having gained considerable experience, progressing to an Associate Professor is the next career step. There are three roles available as an Associate Professor; Associate Professor (Professional Practice), Associate Professor (Research) and Associate Professor (Learning and Teaching). All three roles have a slightly different focus, but they each require you to be an expert in your chosen discipline and have a research impact that is nationally and internationally visible.

As an Associate Professor (Professional Practice) you will contribute to the Innovation and Research Strategy and/or the Learning and Teaching Strategy to enhance learning and teaching practices and/or innovation and research. You will achieve this through academic leadership, professional practice and reputation enhancement.

As an Associate Professor (Research) you will contribute to the Innovation and Research Strategy with academic leadership and research activity through extensive experience in research and research management. You will also be leading on research-informed activity and collaborative research bids as well as further research projects.

As an Associate Professor (Learning and Teaching) your key focus is to contribute to the Learning and Teaching Strategy to enhance practices, manage and develop learning, develop assessment strategies and deliver leading-edge practice. This will be achieved through academic leadership and appropriate research activity and by bringing extensive experience in learning, teaching and pedagogic practice. You will also lead on collaborative research bids in learning and teaching and ensure links are made back to pedagogic practice, the curriculum and student experience as appropriate.

As a Professor at level 3, you will have substantial experience and in-depth knowledge of your specialism, alongside a significant national track record and an emerging international reputation within your field. You will make a substantial contribution to the pedagogic practice and learning and teaching strategy. Within your subject/professional specialism, you will have an influence on national policy and your research contributions are beginning to be recognised internationally. You will also apply your expertise in developing and winning external funding. You will take on leadership and management roles, including collaborations outside of the University with public and private partners, academic institutions, research funders, government agencies, non-government bodies and industry.

As a level 4 Professor, you have considerable academic standing and experience, with a significant international track record. Within your field, you will have gained an international reputation, with experience in developing and winning substantial funding and grants. Your extensive research record will be internationally excellent (as defined through the Research Excellence Framework) and will represent the University externally to industrial partners, research funders and government agencies, advising governmental and non-governmental bodies, in accordance with their chosen specialism.

To be a level 5 Professor you will be widely recognised as a leading authority in your subject area and have achieved high academic distinction. You are likely to have been elected to esteemed scholarly societies such as the Royal Society, British Academy or comparable societies outside of the United Kingdom. Within your field, you may have played a pivotal role in working with leading academic, governmental or industrial partners on a range of interdisciplinary collaborations that are highly impactful.

Plus, you will have substantial experience in developing and winning external funding bids, and successfully delivering externally funded multi-institutional/stakeholder projects on time and on budget. You will be expected to have a sustained record of research activity that is internationally excellent and/or world-leading (as defined through the Research Excellence Framework) and will represent the University externally to industrial partners, research funders and government agencies, advising governmental and non-governmental bodies, in accordance with their chosen specialism.

Early Career Researchers

An Early Career Researcher (ECR) applies to anyone who has recently completed a PhD, regardless of the role you are in. At Derby, you remain as an ECR for 4 years where you will be supported through a range of development activities run by the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Office. You will be a member of the ECR Forum which is led by a Committee of ECRs. As an ECR, you are able to apply for internal competitive seedcorn funding. Other support includes help with funding and grant applications, understanding impact, mentoring schemes, research seminars and networking opportunities. Visit supporting our researchers to find out more.

Early Career Academics

The role of Early Career Academic (ECA) was created to attract outstanding, research-active individuals with the ambition to develop a career in academia. Our ECAs join the University on a one-year contract during which they are provided with an intensive development programme and research mentoring from one of our senior Professors. This role is for those at the start of their research career who show the potential to be rising stars in their field of research. The programme allows them to develop as independent researchers and to build their teaching capabilities, providing them with a strong skill set to become a rounded academic member of staff. By the end of the year, our ECAs will be awarded with a permanent Lecturer contract providing the required development has been met and training has been completed. After receiving a permanent contract, the ECAs will continue to be supported with their development and will have the opportunity to progress their career via the academic progression pathway.

Technician working on equipment

Academic themes

To develop the most innovative solutions to real-world problems, we collaborate across six academic themes. Aligned to some of the local and global challenges we face, our interdisciplinary approach brings our experts together to deliver the greatest impact.

Explore our six academic themesExplore our six academic themes