Academic Staff Buyout Guidelines

  1. Both Government and the University expect that academic staff at the level of lecturer and above will be engaged in research and development activities. The external revenue that they generate in this way is essential to help cover the costs of research activities and build the research capacity, profile and reputation of the University.
  2. The term "buyout" is used in these guidelines to refer to the practice of using external funding from external research grants, consultancies and similar activities to release academic staff from some of their teaching or other duties, so that they can fulfil externally-funded research commitments.
  3. As a matter of principle, all academic staff, except those employed on research-only employment agreements or on approved study leave, are expected to be actively engaged in core university activities including teaching and postgraduate supervision, even during periods of buyout.
  4. As a matter of principle, all staff who teach, unless in a supporting or temporary capacity, are expected to be active researchers. Deans should not allow their Faculties to be over-reliant for teaching on sessional assistants, teaching fellows, tutors and senior tutors or any others who are not research-active. They are also expected to ensure that those employed to replace staff on buyout are suitably qualified and to make provision for professional development if deemed necessary.
  5. The University's Academic Workload Policy stipulates a 40/40/20 split for research/teaching/service-administration over a 3-year period. Before approving a staff buyout, Deans are expected to ensure that workloads for all other academic staff in their Faculty remain fair and equitable.
  6. Deans should not allow any individual academic staff member's overall workload to exceed 1 FTE unless it is justified in their view by exceptional circumstances, and the staff member agrees.
  7. Authority to approve staff buyout and the associated funding and employment arrangements rests with the relevant Dean after consultation with the relevant Chairperson of School/Department. The Dean and Chairperson of School/Department share responsibility for ensuring that funds are sufficient to provide staff on buyout with adequate relief from other duties so that they can deliver the agreed outcomes of the externally-funded project.
  8. Deans should ensure that opportunities to engage in external research activities with funding for buyout are not confined to senior staff and that more junior staff also have similar opportunities to build their research capability.
  9. Any questions or concerns about the interpretation or application of these guidelines should be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.


Approved by the Vice-Chancellor

4 September 2012

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