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Guidance on Creating the Role Description


The Role Description Form has been developed to allow the University to collect and hold information about roles in a consistent manner.  All roles at the University  in Grades 1 - 10 are fully evaluated by a trained panel of HERA ( Higher Education Role Analysis) Role Analysts.  

There are 2 different scenarios where you will be required to complete a Role Description Form. Please read below details of these scenarios and instructions on what to do in each instance.


Scenario One - Recruiting for Existing Role


Part 1 of the role description form must be completed and submitted with the Online Staffing Authorisation Forms when recruiting. Please use this Role Description Template in such cases.


Part 1 of the role description form (specific working arrangements, duties & responsibilities and person specification) is an essential recruitment tool. It outlines details of the role for potential candidates and is used for short-listing, interviewing and for providing feedback to unsuccessful candidates. The main duties, responsibilities and person specifications of an existing role should be available within your department, from the previous recruitment cycle of this post. You should only need to tweak part 1 of the existing role description form or edit it in line with our new guidance document and template.


 Download detailed guidance on completing the Person Specification.


Scenario Two - Evaluating a New or Existing Role that has changed substantially

Applies to new roles for evaluation, or existing roles that have changed substantially.

If the new role (non academic) cannot be matched to an existing role, you will need to complete the full role description form, part 1 and part 2, as the new role will need to be evaluated. Following the HERA evaluation, a grade and role matching code will be allocated to the role.


Download detailed guidance on completing the full Role Description Form, including an explanation of the HERA elements.


Generic Role Profiles

Generic role profiles have been developed using the different levels and streams of the National Library of Academic Role Profiles and tailored to suit the purposes of Edinburgh Napier University. These profiles ensure consistency and provide clear promotion routes within the University.  


Research positions

All Research positions within the University should be matched to one of the following Role Profiles:

 Research Assistant (Role Code RES1)

 Research Fellow (Role Code RES2)

 Senior Research Fellow (Role Code RES3)

 Principal Research Fellow (Role Code RES4)


Consultant Profiles

All Consultant positions within the University should be matched to one of the following Role Profiles:

 Trainee Consultant (Role Code Cons0) 
 Associate Consultant (Role Code Cons1)
 Consultant (Role Code Cons2)
 Senior Consultant (Role Code Cons3) 

 Principal Consultant (Role Code Cons4) 


Academic Role Profiles   

The academic role description and person specifications have been designed as standard pro-formas incorporating the academic career development framework. There are four academic pathways:

The vacancies will mainly be advertised using the research pathway. Successful applicants must demonstrate clear evidence of sustained achievement addressing the criteria linked to the route advertised. The criteria for each of the routes are defined in terms of:
Esteem [Academic Profile: recognition nationally and internationally. Public Engagement: press and media, events and exhibitions, public liaison]
Innovation [Contribution to Knowledge: publication, presentation, performance or exhibitions. Impact: demonstrable influence on practice, performance, knowledge, products or public policy]
Contribution [Income Generation: grants, external funding, business growth. Institutional Citizenship: collaboration with colleagues, actively contributing to the successful operation of the university, committee and working group engagement]
Academic Leadership [Leadership: building formal and informal teams and communities of practice within the University. Successful Management: managing teams, projects and resources. Capacity Building: mentoring of staff, postgraduate research supervision, diversification of university activity]


Grade 5 Academic Role Profiles

Advertising for an Academic Position

In conjunction with the advertisement the following role descriptions and person specifications will form part of internal and external advertising.
The role description and person specification will also refer to the appropriate academic pathway criteria i.e. Research, Learning and Teaching, Enterprise, and Professional Practice that a candidate will be assessed against.