Annual Review Guidance for Researchers

The focus in Annual Review is about having an honest two way conversation. The resources and 5 steps to take will help you have a positive performance and development discussion as well as signpost you to resources available to you as a researcher.

Evidence suggests that having clear expectations and being offered support to achieve them has a positive impact on your wellbeing and motivation.

How to have a quality annual review conversation

 Toolkit - Annual Review (108.42 KB PDF)

Step 1. Reflect Back

On key achievements

What has gone well and what you are proud of.

How you have approached and carried out work and helped to make an impact.

On key challenges

What and how work could have gone better.

On key changes

What changes have there been to your role, priorities and how you have been working. How have you adapted to these.

Step 2. Provide feedback

This gives you both the opportunity for an honest two way conversation, talking about strengths and areas for you to work on. 

On objectives

What do you and your manager want to do more of/less of/differently.

On behaviours demonstrated

How you have been working together and with others. 

We have new guidance, in the form of a Behaviours Charter, on the behaviours which reflect our values. This is to support conversations around the importance of HOW we do our job, as well as WHAT we have achieved. Use the Behaviours Charter to have conversations around how you have demonstrated our values and to help identify development options focused on developing the right behaviours.

 Behaviours Charter (316.4 KB PDF)

These resources will help make sure your feedback is always as effective as possible.

 Toolkit - Giving and Receiving Feedback (95.93 KB PDF)

Step 3. Plan and set objectives

Share Priorities

Share priorities aligned to School/Department plans and University Strategy 2030.

Set Objectives

Set clear and realistic objectives and timeframes. While the Annual Review can’t address wider uncertainties, it can help clarify what is expected and create some clear parameters.

These resources will help you focus on what’s important when setting objectives.

 Toolkit - Setting Effective Objectives (703.66 KB PDF)

Agree Expectations

Talk and agree on how to approach meeting these objectives. For example what behaviours will help to achieve them. 

Step 4. Identify development objectives

Work out what to focus on in the next year or two. Agree how this can be achieved and what support you need.

Discuss career objectives and access support available

Career Management Support from the IAD

Discuss and agree on learning and development support on offer 

IAD Research Staff Support

Discuss the 10 Days professional development entitlement

10 Days Professional Development 

Step 5. Agree when and how to review progress

We recommend you and your manager checking in at several points during the year to review progress.

This provides an opportunity to adapt objectives and discuss changing priorities.


Looking for more support?


Communication is key to personal and career success.  Here are some resources to help you evaluate you communication style and how and when to flex it for success.

 Toolkit - Communication (95.46 KB PDF)

Access the Online Development Toolkit

Create your own annual review toolkit by accessing resources from the online development toolkit. Log in using your normal University login details and this will take you to the toolkit where you will have access to all the resources.

Access the Online Development Toolkit [Your University login required]