Generic Role Profile: Professor

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 Generic Role Profile 




Role Purpose 


The purpose of the role is to support and maintain the University’s national and international 

reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Contribution to excellence in research 

will encompass international leadership in the post holder’s relevant subject area through 

originality in research and scholarship and contribution to the advancement of knowledge in 

the subject area. Contribution to teaching will include an established reputation and 

contribution to teaching within the department/faculty.   The role holder will participate in the 

overall contribution of the department/faculty, where appropriate. 







Recruitment to a role at this level is determined by personal merit and the application of 

criteria related to the duties of the role.  Normally posts are created and filled through 

promotion’s exercises in accordance with the criteria set out in Section 5 of the Senior 

Academic Promotions Guidance. However, some posts may be advertised and an 

appointment made by open competition.  


All applicants are legally required to demonstrate the right to work/permission to work in the 

UK. The requirement for any higher level pre-employment checks is dependent on the role 

and is detailed in the advert and/or further particulars. Offers of employment will be 

conditional upon the satisfactory outcome of all required pre-employment checks and 

whether an outcome is satisfactory will be determined by the University. 






There are no progression arrangements above this grade. 


Professor March 2010 Page 1 



Main Responsibilities 



Key duties and responsibilities (Statute D, II, 4 and D, XIV, 9) 

1.   Research 



  investigating new areas of research within specialist subject area – this may 

involve national and international collaboration with members of other Higher 

Education Institutions or organisations; 

  identifying research topic and initiating analysis that will be original and 


  determining appropriate research methodologies for research; 

  adapting research methodologies; 

  applying appropriate research methodologies and analysing results/conclusions 

to formulate new concepts and ideas; 

  monitoring progress on large research projects and writing reports to relevant 

bodies about progress of research; 

  may lead team of researchers – recruiting, selecting and managing the work of 

staff, directing the research programme. 



Research – publications:  

  writing national and international papers on topics relevant to specialist subject 

area.  This will include journals, books and other material; 

  identifying and initiating major research within his/her specialist subject area, for 

example where gaps in knowledge exist, or leading investigation into significant 


3.   Teaching: 

  designing and developing innovative approaches to the learning experience for 

undergraduates and postgraduates with the intention of challenging thinking, 

fostering debate, and encouraging the development of intellectual reasoning 

and rigour; 

  delivering teaching to graduate and undergraduate students. 




 member of departmental/faculty subject group, determining teaching 


  actively investigating funding opportunities within area of research – this will 

include submitting research grant applications; 

  participates in relevant committees within department/faculty; 

  may, on occasion, participate in school/University committees where 

appropriate and/or where invited. 



Postgraduate Students: 

  mentoring and guiding the work and research of postgraduate students; 

  providing references for students. 




  attending conferences in specialist subject area to liaise and network with 

national/international colleagues the role holder will, on occasion, be invited to 

give presentations and lectures in his/her specialism; 

  participating in external working groups – on occasions the role holder will be 

asked to participate in collaborative projects; 

  originating and developing internal and external collaborative groups to pursue 

research and other interests and have an impact on events and decisions; 

  may be asked to act as an external examiner for other institutions; 

  may provide references on behalf of academic colleagues; 

  will participate in peer review of publications; 

  reviews research grant applications. 




  undertake other duties as appropriate. 

Professor March 2010 Page 2 


Person Profile 


Essential knowledge, skills and experience required for the role 


  Educated to higher degree/PhD level in relevant specialist subject area. 

  Carrying out original/innovative research, actively contributing to the advancement of 

knowledge in the relevant subject area/s at a national and international level.  

  Established bibliography of research publications such as journal contributions, books, 


  A previous and active participant in the national Research Assessment Exercise. 

  Engages in continuous professional development - keeps up-to-date with the latest 

thinking in specialist subject area/s by reading other academic material, attending 

conferences and active discussions with other academics in field – this may be internally 

at the University of Cambridge and/or with colleagues at other institutions. 

  Established national and international recognition and reputation in his/her field/s of 

research and academia. 

  Provides advice/guidance/opinion as a leading national/international authority in the 

specialist subject area/s. 

  Experienced in giving lectures and seminars to both undergraduate and postgraduate 

students and in designing and developing innovative material for teaching and seminars. 

  Is invited to give papers at conferences. 

  Is invited to give peer reviews. 

  Edits other research publications in specialist subject area. 

  Acts as external examiner for other Higher Education Institutions. 




Key Contacts 


Key contact(s) 

Purpose of contact 

Frequency of contact



Lectures and supervisions 



Other Departmental/ 

Teaching programme,  


Faculty staff (academic) 

committee work, discussions 


re: specialist subject area 





Administrative staff 

Administrative matters  


(non academic) 


Academic staff at  

Conference discussions,  

ad hoc 

Other HEI’s 

collaborative projects,  


research discussions etc. 


Organisations and  

Discussions about collaborative  

ad hoc 


projects and research etc. 




Professor March 2010 Page 3 



Service Delivery 


  Role holder takes feedback from students to develop and monitor teaching in his/her 

specialist subject area.  S/he is likely to do this as part of a working group within the 


  Role holder may participate in committee work that affects the running and development 

of facilities, policies and procedures within the department/faculty and/or the University 

as a whole. 

  Role holder contributes to the setting of standards for the work of the 





Decision Making 


i.  Decisions taken by the role-holder without reference to others. 


  Determines own research topic and publications material. 

  Writes own teaching material and handouts. 

  If applicable, the allocation of work to research grant employees. 

  Expenditure of research grant money. 

  The role holder allocates marks to examination papers. 


ii.  Decisions taken by the role-holder in collaboration with others. 


  As an active member of the department/faculty, the role holder participates in planning 

and determining priorities in both teaching and administration. 

  The role holder participates in smaller subject groups that review and monitor teaching 

in specialist subject areas within the department/faculty. 

  The role holder may, on occasion, participate in the recruitment and appointment of 

academic staff in external institutions. 

  The role holder may, on occasion, participate in collaborative research projects or 

publications, for example taking joint decisions about the direction of research. 

  If applicable, the role holder may participate in the recruitment and selection of research 

grant employees. 

  The role holder, with other academics, marks examination papers. 

  Admission of postgraduate students. 


iii.  Decisions taken by others following advice or input by the role-holder. 


  The role holder provides advice and guidance to postgraduate students regarding their 

studies and research. 

  The role holder may, on occasion, provide editorial recommendations to external 


  The role holder may review grant applications on behalf of funding bodies. 

  The role holder contributes to decisions on the structures of Tripos/courses. 

  The role holder is involved in staff restructuring/s in the department/faculty and in the 

delegation of ongoing responsibilities to staff. 




Professor March 2010 Page 4 


Problem Solving 


  The role holder will be dealing with a number of students who, on occasion, will need 

support and advice.  This may include referring students to other sources of help and 

may be of a personal nature where tact and diplomacy is required. 

  The role holder is likely to deal with attendance problems such as students missing 

lectures, not submitting work etc. 

  The role holder will often have to consider the implications of limited funding for research 

and how money is most appropriately applied to research projects. 




Work Environment 



  The role holder works in an office environment, using standard equipment. 


  The role holder works in a lab/research environment, using specialist technical 

equipment where consideration for the health and safety of his/herself and of others 

working in the area is an important requirement. 



The role holder has responsibility for a number of staff within his/her environment where 

consideration for the health and safety of his/herself and of others working in the area is 

an important requirement.  This may include lab/research environments, where 

specialist equipment is being used.







a.  Team Development  


  May induct new member of academic staff in department/faculty. 

  Acts as mentor to new member of academic staff in department/faculty. 

  Participates in departmental/faculty appointments committee. 



  Gives guidance, support and specific training to other members of staff within 

department/faculty and/or postgraduate students. 

If applicable: 

  May induct new members of research team. 



b.  Teaching and Learning Support  



Gives lectures and seminars to students (undergraduate and graduate).  This will 

include tripos lectures, MPhil lectures and supervision of project work.


  Designs and develops innovative approaches to the learning experience for 

undergraduates and postgraduates with the intention of challenging thinking, fostering 

debate, and encouraging the development of intellectual reasoning and rigour. 

  Assessing student work and giving feedback. 

  Assessing feedback from students and making necessary adaptations to teaching 

material and course content.   

  Introducing into course content, the latest thinking in his/her specialist subject area. 




Professor March 2010 Page 5 


Document Outline

  • Role Purpose 
  • Appointment 
  • Promotion 
  • Main Responsibilities 
  • Person Profile 
  • Essential knowledge, skills and experience required for the role 
    • Key Contacts 
    • Service Delivery 
    • Decision Making 
    •  Problem Solving 
    • Work Environment 
    • Teaching/Training 

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