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11 August 2016 @ 08:12 pm
Half Permanent Secure  
For the past few years my job status has been permanent insecure, meaning that my post was funded by money from grants and should those grants end without another being obtained then I would be made redundant. As of 1st September, half my time will be permanent secure meaning they need a better reason than the money has run out to sack me.

As of 1st September for half my time I will be a Knowledge Exchange Support Officer which means my job will be turning my Lego Rovers public understanding activity into an Impact Case for the 2020 REF. The other half of my time will continue to be a permanent insecure job as a postdoc on the Verifiable Autonomy grant.

I'm fairly sure this was prompted the fact I started looking for lectureship jobs earlier this year and so some money was found in order to keep my in place to work on the Impact Case. So it's sort of nice to be wanted, though it would also have been nice to have got an interview for one of the lectureships. That said, this wasn't a done deal. I had an interview today with a five person panel consisting of the head of school (of computer science and electrical and electronic engineering), both heads of department (CS and EEE), the university head of impact and the school manager.

The job does allow me to apply for grants in my own name, however, so the opportunity is there for me to turn this into a full time academic post (with a heavy emphasis on public engagement) if I can make that work out.

Still, Yay! for being half time permanent secure!!!

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/203130.html.
wellinghallwellinghall on August 11th, 2016 07:42 pm (UTC)
Hurray! (or, at the very least, half hurray!) Well done you!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 11th, 2016 07:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks, it's sort of scary since no one knows what a Knowledge Exchange Support Officer is so it's mine to make something of or crash and burn horribly - on the other hand it's mine to make something of...
wellinghallwellinghall on August 11th, 2016 07:50 pm (UTC)
I can see that is a double-edged sword, but I am sure that you will learn to wield it with aplomb.
lukadreaming: Pencilslukadreaming on August 11th, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
Excellent news!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:31 am (UTC)
parrot_knightparrot_knight on August 11th, 2016 08:33 pm (UTC)
That's fantastic given how unsteady everything is at the moment. The knowledge exchange work very much recognises what you've been doing.
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:33 am (UTC)
Given I didn't get an interview for the lectureship, I deduce there has been some disagreement behind the scenes about whether I am worth employing on a more permanent basis. However, I've a pretty good idea which people pulled out all the stops here to make this happen and its good to know that some people value the public engagement stuff.
fififolle: Primeval - Connor  Yes! *squee!*fififolle on August 11th, 2016 08:51 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness, that's brilliant! Congratulations :D Sounds like a scary panel, so well done.
Very happy for you!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:34 am (UTC)
They were quite scary, particularly the Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering - I knew the money was coming out of their budget but hadn't quite realised they'd want me more involved in the research side of their department so some of his questions threw me a bit!
fififolle: Primeval - Blade (slashybits for me)fififolle on August 13th, 2016 06:10 pm (UTC)
the little creep: sidewisenyarbaggytep on August 11th, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC)
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:34 am (UTC)
Adilo Creamon: min1the_marquis on August 11th, 2016 10:29 pm (UTC)
Congratu... on your half-job ;)
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:35 am (UTC)
Cordelia Delayne: [people] rupert youngcordeliadelayne on August 11th, 2016 11:57 pm (UTC)
That's great news!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:35 am (UTC)
a_cubeda_cubed on August 12th, 2016 12:26 am (UTC)
You've been with Liverpool for over four years now, haven't you? Notwithstanding the Brexit referendum, at present the UK isbound by the Fixed Term Workers Directive which means that after four years and at least one renewal of a temporary contract you are effectively a permanent employee, absent some very specific exemptions and these exemptions have been drawn quite tightly by the employment tribunals and the courts. If you are not a member of UCU then I would strongly recommend joining - it's not very expensive and whatever your thoughts on their industrial action and other political stances, being a member of the union gives you full access to legal advice on employment matters and generally individual support from local union reps for personal work situations.
The consequence of the FTW directive means if they want to make you redundant then they have to do an assessment of EVERYONE they employ on a similar basis to you and decide whom to make redundant. Now, yes, if you are a specialist in research area A and it's research area A that is without funds then they can make the decision to render you redundant. However, other rules also kick in about re-deployment. If they make you redundant then they are not allowed to recruit anyone for (I think) 18 months on any job into which you could have been re-deployed and which it is reasonable for them to have known would be coming up. They must do this on the basis of "are you able to do the job" and not on "could we get a better candidate if we advertised this job". In particular if you have been given an "at risk" notice during a period when they are advertising a lecturing post, then making you redundant and appointing someone else to the lesturing post is very iffy considering you have been a lecturer at a similar institution before, from which post your resigned and shifted jobs rather than being dismissed with cause.
If you are already a UCU member, or if you join, then I advise asking for proactive advice on your situation from the local association, and/or from the legal advice line, so that you have a clear knowledge of the legal ramifications of your situation and can make decisions with an appropriate set of information.
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:55 am (UTC)
So the permanent insecure designation is the one Liverpool uses for people who fall under the FTW directive. Liverpool is actually pretty good about this, with bridge funding available if there is gap between research contracts (i.e., one grant is about to finish and there's another you could work on coming up but there will be a break between the one ending and the next starting) and a fairly robust redeployment procedure. The man who works next to me in my office just successfully moved from one post to another via redeployment. I wasn't eligible for redeployment when the lecturing post came up being over two years away from the end of the current grant. I wasn't eligible for redeployment for this Knowledge Exchange Support Officer post either, so there was an anxious two weeks while it went through the redeployment process before it became a vacancy I could apply for.

However, the fact remains there is a difference between being paid from a selection of short term grants and funds and being paid out of the departmental salary budget. I'm lucky in that my PI takes getting grant money and retaining a team of happy long term postdocs very seriously so, for the past 10 years, there has always been another relevant grant for me to move to. However he obviously can't promise there will always be another grant (indeed we lost Matryoshka more or less because we didn't have anything for her to move to which could guarantee more than a few months work and Bergen were offering her 4 years) and the rest of the department isn't overburdened with grant-getting superstars - particularly not in areas that match well with my background (possibly if I wanted to get into economic algorithms and big data the story would be different). Obviously, similarly, one can't count on there being a steady supply of new lecturer appointments given the way the university planning and budgeting process works either.

I was beginning to feel a little that I'd been lucky that the juggling balls had all remained in the air for 10 years. I was also beginning to think there were things I'd like to do which were difficult as a postdoc and points where my PI and I wanted to take research in different directions and pursue it in different ways, so moving out into a more independent role seemed desirable.

I was UCU (AUT then) departmental rep at Nottingham. The experience soured me strongly against the union and I left when I came to Liverpool.
Kargicq: Neuromancerkargicq on August 12th, 2016 06:53 am (UTC)
louisedennislouisedennis on August 12th, 2016 09:56 am (UTC)
daniel_saunders: Worcester Collegedaniel_saunders on August 12th, 2016 11:34 am (UTC)
louisedennislouisedennis on August 13th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
bunn: Cream Teabunn on August 12th, 2016 12:12 pm (UTC)
Well, this is excellent, and it seems likely that a 'Knowledge Exchange Support Officer' is probably a minor bit part in a lot of Who episodes, particularly the ones that involve lots of white corridors and people in jumpsuits. It might be best to avoid appearing too much on screen, otherwise you might end up as the Tragic Minor Bit Part of the episode. Or at least, not wearing a jumpsuit.
louisedennislouisedennis on August 13th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
I forsee endless confusion over the job title. I shall probably go on telling people I'm a postdoctoral researcher (since I am half the time).
fredbassettfredbassett on August 12th, 2016 07:24 pm (UTC)
That's great news!
louisedennislouisedennis on August 13th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
May: begin at the beginningrain_sleet_snow on August 12th, 2016 08:09 pm (UTC)
All the distinctions started to sound a little People's Front of Judaea/Judaean People's Front by the time I got halfway through, but I gather this means more security for you, so yay, that's fantastic! :D
louisedennislouisedennis on August 13th, 2016 04:27 pm (UTC)