Academic Fellowship Scheme

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 4th May 2004.

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Photo of Brian Iddon Brian Iddon Labour, Bolton South East

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reason the new academic fellowship scheme says in section 3.9 of the scheme document that a guarantee of a permanent position is an absolute condition of the award, and also insists in section 3.5 that those who have been promised a permanent position are considered to have achieved the aims of the scheme already and are not eligible.

Photo of Patricia Hewitt Patricia Hewitt Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry

The Academic Fellowships are a direct response to the Roberts Review on "The supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills". This report pointed to a lack of a clear career path for researchers and one of the primary aims of the scheme is to provide a transition between postdoctoral positions and academic posts. Government believes that a goal of a permanent academic post is necessary to improve recruitment and retention by providing the individual with a clear career trajectory and allowing for development needs to be addressed.

The statements to which my hon. Friend refers are not intended to be contradictory. The guarantee of a permanent position to be provided at the end of the five-year fellowship award (section 3.9) is a requirement on the host institution in order to provide a career path for the academic fellow. An award will not be made to an HEI without this guarantee being made.

The statement at section 3.5, however, refers to the eligibility of the individual candidate. We do not believe that it is appropriate that someone with a permanent position, or the promise of one, should undertake a further five years of training towards an academic position. A previous promise by an HEI to provide a permanent position to a researcher shows an existing commitment to the individual and therefore further support through the academic fellowships scheme is unnecessary.

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