A6.1: Main page
Research Councils' individual merit promotion procedure (revised 2007)
1. Purpose and scope
1. The purpose of the Individual Merit Promotion (IMP) procedure is to give recognition to scientific researchers who have made, and who will continue to make, an outstanding personal contribution in their field.
2. Individual merit promotion reflects scientific merit. It does not require a wider range of organisational duties to be taken on within the management structure of the employing organisation. Indeed staff can transfer from an organisational line management post to an IM post at the same level if they meet the requirements of the IM procedure.
3. The criteria for each of the three levels of IM promotion are described at (, grading guidance). The banding structure and current average salaries used by the relevant Research Councils and by other bodies, which participate in this procedure, are set out at appendix A6:1ii, grades and average salaries covered by the IMP procedure.
2. Equal opportunities
4. The Research Councils and other participating organisations are invited to make nominations annually for individual merit promotion. These will be considered by the IMP Panel, currently chaired by Professor J O Thomas DBE FRS. The IMP procedure aims to ensure that all nominations are treated fairly regardless of ethnic origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability or gender and will take account of individual career patterns when assessing candidates for promotion.
3. Individual merit promotion criteria
- Candidates will have made an outstanding personal contribution to their area of scientific and/or technical enquiry. It is not sufficient to demonstrate that they have worked well and achieved good results in their present grade. Candidates, and their line management, must be able to clearly demonstrate excellence in the current grade, showconsistently very high evaluations in their annual appraisals, and be clearly worthy of promotion to the higher grade on scientific merit
- Candidates must also demonstrate the potential to make a further outstanding personal contribution to scientific enquiry, and to have a clear conception of the general objectives of their future research and the methods of achieving them
- Candidates, and their line management, must demonstrate that their research has made, and is likely to continue to make, a significant contribution to the goals and priorities of the employing organisation
- Candidates should be able to demonstrate that their research achievement and performance has achieved a high degree of external recognition, both nationally and internationally, and has influenced other scientists working in their field
6. More specific criteria, linked to the nature of the research being undertaken (eg basic, strategic, applied etc.) are set out at appendix A6:1iii, individual merit criteria.
4. Procedure for nominations
7. When initially considering the nominations, the panel can decide that some candidates do not meet the criteria of the scheme and should therefore not be interviewed. Where the panel considers there to be a prima facie case for IM promotion, or where the panel is uncertain, opinions will be obtained from at least 3 referees (4 for promotion to IMP levels 2 and 1) from outside the employing Council or organisation, who have relevant specialist knowledge. A minimum of 1 referee (in the case of IMP level 3) or 2 referees (in the case of IMP levels 2 and 1) will be active members of internationally recognised non-UK research groups.
8. The panel will appoint 2 or 3 of its number to sit with 1 or more experts from outside the employing organisation to interview candidates who have been approved in the initial sift. The experts must be distinguished senior scientists, whose peer judgements are widely respected.
9. The purpose of the interviews is to examine in greater detail the candidates' work, their contribution to scientific enquiry and their intended future work. Candidates should be prepared to give a short description of their work and to be questioned on all aspects, but particularly in some depth on those elements they have selected as being representative of their most significant work.
10. The report and recommendation of the interview panel will be considered by the full IM Panel at its plenary meeting in May, and a decision will be made on each candidate's suitability for promotion.
11. In endorsing the candidate’s nomination, the employer must provide assurance that the candidate will be able to carry out the proposed future work, in terms of both opportunity and facilities. In this context, Directors are required to confirm that candidates will be able to devote the major proportion of their work time to personal research and associated activities over the next 5 year period, consistent with the high levels of scientific quality and productivity required for IMP, and that any organisational role which they are required to play within the establishment during this period will be compatible with this commitment to personal research.
12. There is no appeals procedure against a decision on IM promotion, since panel judgements are based on peer assessment of scientific quality. Unsuccessful candidates may be reconsidered for IM promotion in the following or in subsequent years.
6. Periodic review of individual merit promotion holders
13. Candidates hold individual merit promotion only as long as they continue to meet the criteria for the scheme, and continue to maintain the standards for which it was awarded. Periodic reviews are held to ensure that the overall and individual standards of the scheme are being rigorously maintained. Each holder of an individual merit promotion will be fully reviewed within a maximum of 5 years from the initial promotion. These reviews will involve a submission by the IMP holder's line management covering details of the work since promotion or last review; the distinction of the work; and a plan of the work to be undertaken during the next 5 years. Referees' reports will be called for at the panel's discretion. Directors or Heads of Organisations are required to notify the IMP Secretariat if the time available to an IMP holder for personal research ceases to be a major proportion in any consecutive two year period.
- confirm the postholder in their IM grade
- ask for more information, either internally or externally by way of referees' comments, to assist in the review
- as a result of the additional information it may confirm the postholder's IM grade
- either initially or as a result of the additional information it may decide to interview the IMP holder before deciding on future IM status
- it may withdraw the IM grading if it considers that the IM criteria are no longer being met