Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Technical Specialists Promotional Pathway Pilot

Following our commitment to enact the recommendations of the TALENT Commission, we are amongst the first UK institutions to pilot a Technical Specialist Promotional Framework. This framework will enable technical specialists to progress based on their own merit against a modified version of the four criteria used for the Academic Progression and Promotional Framework, providing recognition for excelling in a role whilst remaining a specialist.

The pilot will run alongside the Academic Progression and Promotional Framework for academic year 23/24, with feedback welcome from all involved or linked to the process upon the completion of the first round of applications.

Who are Technical Specialists?

The UKRI definition of Technical Specialist is:

Technology/skills specialists maintain and develop new and improved approaches to implement technologies and methodologies to better address research questions. Technology/skills specialists have specialist knowledge and expertise and they often work as part of coordinated teams spanning different disciplines and geographical centres, which work together to tackle contemporary research questions. May include, but not limited to: data scientists, data engineers, archivists, informaticians, statisticians, software developers, audio-visual technologists, technical professional staff and individuals staffing core facilities, across all disciplines.

Technical Specialists underpin our research, enable us to maximise the benefits our world-class research infrastructure can provide, train researchers, and often input into teaching. They are one part of our larger technical staff community, on the 'Technical Specialist’ pathway, with other technical staff on the 'generalist / management pathway'. As part of the Technician Job Family roll-out, each role has been assigned a position on the career pathway below. If you are unsure where your role sits, please contact We will have a process for those that believe they should be transferred to the technical specialist pathway, to independently determine if the role best aligns to the pathway.


Above: Warwick technical career pathway with technical specialist roles circled in dotted red.

How will the pilot process work?

The pilot will follow the well-established Academic Progression and Promotional Framework process, but with modifications that make it fit for purpose for technical specialist roles, rather than the academic pathways. The suggested thresholds that technical specialists need to achieve in each of the four key areas of activity have been carefully aligned with the expectations of such roles for progression, with the overall total minimum score for promotion kept in line with the academic pathway for parity.

The criteria of activity have been modified in line with expectations of technical rather than academic roles. For example, the criteria 'Technical Research' aims to recognise input to a broad range of research and technical expertise, rather than a focus on leading independent research. The four criteria which assessment will take place against are:

  • Technical Research
  • Teaching and Training
  • Impact, Outreach, Engagement
  • Collegiality, Leadership, Management

Technical Specialist Promotions CriteriaLink opens in a new window

Example evidence required at each band within the criteria.

Technical Specialist Pathway MatrixLink opens in a new window

Threshold scores to achieve promotion through the pilot Technical Specialist Promotions Process.

CV TemplateLink opens in a new window

Template CV to be used in Technical Specialist Application for promotion - all grades.

Application Form FA 6-8Link opens in a new window

Technical Specialist Promotions application form for applications for promotion to FA 6-8

Application Form FA 9Link opens in a new window

Technical Specialist Promotions application form for applications for promotion to FA 9

Guidance on Technical Specialist PathwayLink opens in a new window

Guidance for applicants to the Technical Specialist Promotional Pathway

Guidance for HoDs for the Technical Specialist PathwayLink opens in a new window

Guidance for Heads of Department for the Technical Specialist Promotional Pathway

Summary ProfilesLink opens in a new window

Summary profiles for the Technical Specialist Promotional Pathway.

The Technical Specialist Promotions Criteria documentation outlines the example evidence at each band within the criteria. The Technical Specialist Career Pathway Matrix should be read in conjunction with the criteria and evidence. Alongside these, a the required CV and Technical Specialist Promotions application form are linked above, which should be used for applications. Please take note of the strict word limits.

Technical specialists will be expected to have the same number of referees required at each level as in the Academic Promotions Process (for example, currently 4 for promotion to FA8, 8 for FA9 / Professor equivalent). In the Academic Promotions Process, applications to some levels have a stipulation for a number of external referees. To recognise the differences in roles, the number of external referees at each level being applied to will be fewer than that of the Academic Promotions Process for the Technical Specialist Process. External referees could include those from industry and other higher education institutions, from peers that are either academic or technical.

The pilot process will run alongside the same timeline as the Academic Promotion Process for 2023/24, shown below. An explainer session specifically for the Technical Specialist Promotions Process will be held 27th October 2023 and details published TechNet at Warwick webpagesLink opens in a new window, with advice and support also provided by the Technician Commitment Steering Group if requested. If an individual wishes to be considered for the process, they should complete an application form for the Technical Specialist Process with a CV in the standard format with submission to their Head of Department. The Head of Department will complete their comments on the application, making clear if they support the case or not, returning the form to the applicant. The applicant will then submit this form to the email address in the latest guidance within the timelines indicated below. The Technical Specialist Promotion applications will be assessed in a sub-panel of the Academic Staff Committee (ASC), containing members of the main meeting, supplemented by technical representation. At any point, Departments can request support and advice from the Technician Commitment Steering Group.

Technical Specialist Promotional Pathway Explained and Q&A

Key Dates

  • 27th October 2023 – Explainer session dedicated to technical specialists and finalised process guidance published
  • 15th December 2023 - Departments to notify Academic Processes of anticipated technical specialist applications
  • 26th January 2024 – Deadlines for technical specialists submission of paperwork
  • Spring/summer 2024 – Consideration of applications.
  • End of Summer 2024 – Outcomes communicated to applicants.
  • End of Summer 2024 – Feedback from Departments, ASC and applicants on the pilot to enable refinement of paperwork and processes.
  • 1st August 2024 - Date from which promotions are effective.

Why open this pathway to technical specialists?

Academic staff have a well-established route and process for promotion based upon a framework with four core criteria. Increasingly, technical specialists are ‘blurring the boundaries’, through their direct input to research, teaching and training, and knowledge exchange. This is further demonstrated through recent successes with our technical specialists securing funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). However, due to the highly specialised nature of technical specialist roles, there are often extremely limited opportunities for progression. Therefore, with modifications to the four criteria used for the Academic Promotions Process, we are able to reflect the differences in roles between the three academic pathways and a pathway suitable for technical specialists, to enable promotion based on individual merit. This includes equivalency in threshold scores at each level to the academic pathway.

We acknowledge that not all technical specialist roles will be in a position to take advantage of the pathway due to the nature of a particular role, and so progression will still be achievable through applying for a new position at a higher level, or where there is a business need and significant change in responsibilities, potentially via job re-evaluation. This is in line with all other professional services staff.

FAQs - Technical Specialist Promotion Pathway Transfer Process from Academic Pathway

Can someone transfer from Research and/or Teaching focussed to the Technical Specialist progression pathway

It is possible for someone to transfer from the Academic career progression pathway to the Technical Specialist career progression pathway if it is believed that their role more accurately meets the criteria for technical specialist. There are specific criteria which will need to be met for anyone to transfer across or to be considered for promotion via the technical specialist pathway. Technicians are categorised as Professional Services staff, rather than academic and therefore, any processes and policies applicable to academic staff would no longer apply (see FAQ on Terms and Conditions).

When considering whether a transfer is appropriate, it is also important to consider how your post is currently funded and whether, or not, overheads are recoverable on your costs. Whilst this is something that will need to be dealt with at department level, it may be an issue for some funders who have approved funding for an academic role (research fellow) as opposed to a technician. In some circumstances, dependent on funder rules, it is possible that a transfer to the Technician Specialist route might not be possible until the funding ends.

What would be the impact on Terms and Conditions of Employment

It would mean a change of terms and conditions from academic terms and conditions to professional services terms and conditions. Whilst the majority of terms would remain the same, there would be some areas, specific to those on academic terms and conditions, such as academic leave, that would no longer apply. Also, any processes normally aligned to the University Statutes and Ordinances, that apply specifically to academic staff, would no longer be relevant if moving onto a professional services contract. It is possible that reporting lines may also change as most professional services staff report into a Department Administrator and would not normally report into an academic member of staff. Your job title will also need to change and you will need to have a specific role descriptor that aligns to the role that you are undertaking; this may need to be ‘evaluated’ to ensure that it aligns with the generic roles approved for the technician job family. In some cases, this might result in a lower grade post.

Can other roles be included in scope

This process is only currently available to those staff already categorised as Specialist Technician (in line with Warwick’s Technician Commitment) or who are currently on academic terms and conditions of employment and feel that their role more closely aligns to the specialist technician role profile rather than research and/or teaching role profiles. This process is not available to research/teaching staff who are not yet deemed to meet the criteria for promotion via the academic promotion process. The profile of the role must meet all elements of the Technical Specialist criteria.

What is the process for transferring

The process for transferring must be discussed with your line manager, department administrator and head of department and include your HR Business Partner to ensure that any contractual changes are understood, together with any other issues such as multiple appointments (see below). All cases must receive approval before any change can be initiated. If it is deemed that your role more accurately meets the criteria of a technician, rather than an academic (research fellow, assistant professor, associate professor) then you would need to complete complete the form for requesting to change career pathway linked below. This must set out, in detail, how you feel that you meet the criteria, and this should be submitted along with a CV to your Head of Department.

When completing the transfer process it is possible to be considered for a sideways move (to a Technical Specialist role at the same grade) or a diagonal move (to a Technical Specialist role at a higher grade). However, staff must be aware that undertaking the transfer process does not guarantee promotion and may result in a move to a role at the same, or in some cases, a lower grade.

Form for transferLink opens in a new window

What about joint appointments split across departments

For roles that are split across department/joint appointments (on the same terms and conditions), this would need the approval of both departments before any changes can be considered.

What if I have two roles with different terms and conditions of employment in each

It is unlikely that anyone undertaking two part-time roles, with different terms and conditions, would meet the criteria fully and would therefore not be eligible to transfer to the Technical Specialist promotion pathway. Any cases should initially be raised the Technician Commitment Steering Group and with your HR Business Partner for advice.