Employing Staff on Projects

Recruitment and Selection of Staff is naturally a lengthy process, and it is important that you start this process as early as possible to avoid delays in the commencement of your project. 

When to Start Recruitment

Process for Project staff Recruitment, Appointment and Contract Extension

Criteria for Approving Project Staff Funding

Dealing with Staff Funding Shortfalls

When to Start Recruitment

You do not need to wait for the project account to be formally set-up (Project Detail Notification) before commencing the recruitment process, as long as we have the necessary award papers confirming award details.

In exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the RSO, we can release an advert (but not confirm appointments) before formal announcement of an award.  This would only be allowed if it has been confirmed in writing by the funding body that an award will be made, and the terms and conditions of the funding body are standard, as commonly dealt with.  For example, finalising of contracts on EU awards is often completed after the start date of the grant, and it is useful to start the recruitment process early.   Please discuss options with Research Finance when this situation arises.  Departmental/College underwriting may be required in these instances.


Process - Project Staff Recruitment, Appointment and Contract Extension

If you are a member of staff in the College of Science and Engineering please look at the College's page detailing a different process for recruitment and extention of staff. These pages are for internal use only and so require your CFS log in.

RSA forms capture all the necessary authorisations required from the PI and Head of Department, Research Finance Office, and Personnel for staff appointments to project accounts.  Please note, if the post is jointly funded on a project account and University funds, then these forms can also be used.  Appointments working in liaison with the NHS (exluding clinicians) require additional approvals and the Indemnity Assessment Form should also be completed.  The process is outlined below.


Recruitment StageAdvertise New Post        Appoint Candidate             Extend/Change Existing Staff Contracts
Documents you must submit
  • RSA1 Form (word doc 103kb)
  • Job Summary Form
  • Advert
  •  RSA2 Form (word doc 134kb)
  • Documents pertaining to candidate (as outlined on RSA2 form)
The form should clearly reflect any changes in FTE or changes in requested funding for the post


What Research   Finance will do
  • Approve Funding for the Appointment Requested using the criteria set out below                             
  • Contact you directly if any issues arise
  • e-mail you to confirm the funding approval has been sent to Personnel                                                               

Contact RSO Staff Appointments team for assistance with any of these matters

What             Personnel  will do        


  • approve grading of the post                       
  • Generate Further Particulars from Job Summary Form
  • Confirm with you the final details of the post and advert
  • Release advert once funding approval received from Research Finance
  •  Check appointment is in line with post advertised      
  • Send out the contract letter once funding approval received from Research Finance
  •  Send out staff contract/funding extension letter once approval received from Research Finance

Contact Personnel if you require assistance with these parts of processes 


Even if project staff members are already employed by the University, it is important that their appointment to a project is formally requested on an RSA form.  Employment of staff often formally activates a grant with the funding body.  For example, Research Councils require that we notify them of grant activation within 42 days. 

We do not require RSA forms for the charging of Principle Investigator or Co-Investigator time on a project, unless they are considered by the Funding Body as a Directly Incurred Cost (such as Research Fellows).


You can use our costing and pricing software to help you cost various appointment options.  Learn more about LUCRE 



Criteria for Approval of Funding for Project Staff Appointments

  • The funding has been secured by a formal award letter or signed contract
  • The appointment is strictly within the stated award period (adjusting for activation periods allowed by the funding body)
  • There are sufficient funds available from the budgets awarded
  • Any specific terms and conditions of the award are fulfilled
  • If required by the funding body, the c.v. of the candidate has been approved 

Alternative funding must be identified for anything that falls outside of the above criteria, and it will help speed up the process if this is clearly identified on the RSA forms submitted.

If a post is being extended beyond the project end date, there must be formal confirmation (by e-mail or letter) of extension to the project from the funding body.

Full funding of the post must be in place before approval is forwarded to Personnel.

Shortfalls in funding

Shortfalls in funding for posts may arise due to a number of reasons, such as:

  • Appointment has started later than anticipated (with additional pay awards being applied)
  • Appointment may be at a higher point on the scale than anticipated in the grant application
  • There may inadequate indexation applied to the original funding due to funding body regulations


Shortfalls regularly occur on Research Council funded project accounts.  This is not an error and is beyond the control of the Research Support Office.  Due to Research Council funding rules, we can only apply for staff costs based on current scales, to which the Research Council will apply their own indexation to cover pay awards, changes in National Insurance and Pension costs.  This indexation is usually insufficient to cover actual inflationary impacts, hence the shortfall that regularly arises.

Dealing with Funding Shortfalls

  • Subject to the funding body’s rules of virement, any shortfalls should preferably be covered by other budget allowances on the grant
  • If it is not possible to vire, you will need to identify alternative funds to cover the shortfall (for example, department’s share of overheads).
  • You should refer to your Departmental Administrator for advice on local College policy on dealing with shortfalls

Full funding of the post must be in place before approval is forwarded to Personnel.

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Who to contact

Research Support Services Contact details

Tel - (0116) 252 2437 or (0116) 229 7763

Fax - (0116) 252 2028

E mail - RED@le.ac.uk