professor in the UK

You are a senior researcher, apost-doc or already a professor and you are looking for a professorship in the UK. Find below some basic information about how to proceed.


Universities have professorships with research and teaching activities.


  • To apply for a professor position at a university, you usually need a PhD and several years of recognized research experience. 

  • Besides research and managing tasks, you will often have teaching duties. Having teaching experience is therefore often an advantage.


  • The steps of an academic career leading up to a professorship have the titles "lecturer", "senior lecturer" and "reader". Such university positions can be either permanent (usually with the opportunity to seek promotions to the next levels as the research career progresses), temporary (e.g. if funded by a specific budget) or "tenure track".

  • Ordinary or extraordinary professor: Permanent position and head of a research group at a university.

  • Assistant professor, tenure track professor: Temporary positions. The professor has to work for approximately five years before a decision is made on whether he or she should become an ordinary professor and a permanent position. 

  • Grants for professorships: Some countries resp. science foundations have launched professorships limited in time: They offer young researchers grants to establish an independent team to implement a research project. The duration of these subsidies depends on the specific programmes (normally 3-6 years). To apply, you usually need a PhD and several years of recognized research experience.

How long?

Ordinary or extraordinary professorships are usually permanent positions. However, temporary positions have been created recently, e.g. assistant professors, tenure track positions, etc (see above). Depending on the university, the duration of the contracts and the conditions may vary. 

How much?

The salary varies from place to place. The salary must be indicated in the contract of employment. Often, it can be negotiated.

How to proceed?

Open professor positions are announced in national and international newspapers, journals and on job portals (e.g. the science job portal of myScience UK or science job portal of myScience international). The job ad indicates how to apply and which documents (CV, publication list etc.) you have to join.



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