Recently, I have got an Lecturer position in a UK University. However, when I got the offer letter, it said that "The appointment is for a fixed-term of five years, with the possibility of subsequent transfer to a continuing appointment." It seems to me that this is not a permanent position.

I am wondering how much possible one can transfer to a permanent position after five years. Is it suitable for me to ask this kind of questions to my Head of School? Thanks.

  • 1
    If you don't mind me asking: is this one of these positions which starts off as mainly research, with the plan that after five years you become permanent if things have gone satisfactorily? I'm vaguely aware of these existing in my own discipline, but they seem to be a relatively recent development
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 1:25
  • 1
    By way of contrast, the default Lecturer position in my discipline in a UK university has a contract of the form "your continuous employment starts on [this date], and your probationary period will end on [other date]"
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 1:29
  • 1
    Having done some looking around, your position sounds similar to one of these 5-year RCUK fellowships which are intended/hoped to transition into an indefinite (i.e. permanent) position. Could you confirm if your job offer is of this form?
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 14:29
  • 3
    In any case, I find it somewhat surprising that having gone for interview, this was not made clear to you at the time, and you should definitely seek clarification on this from the Head of School at the place which has given you an offer
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 14:31
  • 1
    Downvoting, pending further clarification from the OP about the particular details that would allow one to give a proper answer to the question
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


I suspect what it means is that if there is a position available you will be welcome to apply for it but you may not get it.

You are certainly entitled to ask the head of school for clarification.


Yes, you should definitely ask the Head of School for clarification of the process.

As an aside, I'm on a similar line at a U.S. school: full-time Lecturer (dedicated service/teaching, no research) with a 5-year clock before being approved for a CCE (Certificate of Continuing Employment, with protections analogous to tenure).

Note: The aside is not meant as a prediction of the OP's UK situation, but only to sketch out a wider universe of possibilities (contrast this example to Mark Joshi's prior answer/suspicion). Thereby highlighting the actual answer: OP must inquire at his local institution.

  • 3
    UK labor law is sufficiently different from US, that I don't think your experience is mm useful here.
    – StrongBad
    Jun 18, 2016 at 3:04
  • 2
    I second @StrongBad: this is UK/EU stuff, and the teaching/research/tenure systems are very different
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 3:22
  • @YemonChoi Is most of the EU that similar to the UK? I have a little knowledge of the UK system, but I was under the impression that it was fairly different from most of Europe.
    – Kimball
    Jun 18, 2016 at 5:48
  • 1
    @Kimball It's different, but some of the constraints/opportunities are a consequence of (interpretations of?) EU directives. See the closing para of julesandjames.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/…
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 14:27
  • 1
    On the other hand, your clarification of your answer makes sense
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 18, 2016 at 15:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .