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A range of academic titles can be conferred by the Division or the University. These include the title of (Full) Professor, the title of Associate Professor, the title of University Research Lecturer, and the titles of Visiting Lecturer or Visiting Professor. Professorial Distinction Awards can be made to joint appointment-holders who have the title of Full Professor.

The procedures and criteria for eligibility vary- some are available to non-employees, for example, whilst others are available to staff in particular grades. Note that the award of the title of (Full) Professor or of the title of Associate Professor for example does not change an individual's underlying role, duties or paygrade.


Visiting professors and visiting lecturers 

Procedure for conferral of Visiting Professor and Lecturer titles

university research LECTURER 

For individuals with substantial research achievements and academic standing commensurate with that expected of an Associate Professor. Contributions to teaching may be more limited than those required for Associate Professor title, for example. 

Procedure for conferral of URL title

associate professor title 

For individuals making a significant and sustained contribution to achievement of the University's goals, and who are comparable in distinction to those holding the substantive post of Associate Professor. 

Associate Professor Title can be awarded to eligible individuals in university grades 9 and 10 or to clinicians in an honorary consultant role. Nominations are considered periodically by the divisional board, and nomination is made via the Head of Department. The MPLS Procedure Document sets out the process for conferral of Associate Professor title by the Division and the criteria (which include research, teaching and citizenship aspects). Please contact the Academic HR Officer if you need any more information.



(Full) Professor title is awarded via the annual Recognition of Distinction exercise. All those employed by the University in academic or senior research roles are eligible to apply, as are others who are making a significant and sustained academic contribution to the University. Criteria in research, teaching and citizenship apply, and research distinction must be at least equal to that expected of those appointed to full professorships at other leading international research universities. The Division holds a briefing event for potential applicants when the annual round is opening, and this is publicized through departments.

Applications for the 16-17 round have now closed. Awards will be formally announced by the university in Michaelmas 2017. Further information is available here.

Please contact the Academic HR Officer if you need any further information about the University's Recognition of Distinction process for conferral of Professorial title.

The MPLS Recognition of Distinction Committee for 2016-17 comprises:

Professor Donal Bradley (Chairman), CBE FRS, Head of MPLS Division

Professor Chris Ballentine, Professor of Geochemistry

Professor Patrick Grant, Vesuvius Professor of Materials and Head of the Department of Materials

Professor Lesley Gray, Professor of Climate Physics

Professor Christopher Hunter FRS, Herchel Smith Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Cambridge

Professor Andrew Jaffe, Professor of Astrophysics and Cosmology, Imperial College London

Professor Dame Frances Kirwan DBE FRS, Professor of Mathematics

Professor Marta Kwiatkowska, Professor of Computing Systems

Professor Stuart Mackenzie, Professor of Chemistry, Head of Sub-Department of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Professor Anne Osbourn, John Innes Centre

Professor Paolo Radaelli, Dr Lee`s Professor of Experimental Philosophy and Head of Sub-Department of Condensed Matter Physics

Professor Judith Rousseau, Professor in Statistics, Université Paris Dauphine

Professor Ben Sheldon, Luc Hoffmann Professor of Ornithology and Head of the Department of Zoology

Professor Lionel Tarassenko, CBE FREng, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Head of the Department of Engineering Science

Professor Sarah Waters, Professor of Applied Mathematics

Professor John Wheater, Professor of Physics and Head of Department of Physics

Professor Charlotte Williams, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry


Periodically, the University holds an exercise to determine the pay awards that should be made to its Professors and Readers in addition to their basic salaries, on the basis of their academic distinction. These are known as Professorial Distinction Awards. Academic distinction in terms of research record is the primary criterion. More general contributions to academic work may be recognised, particularly leadership in, or in the development of, a field of study beyond or within the University. It is expected that applicants will have already exceeded the research criterion for conferral of the title of Full Professor. More information about the process and criteria can be found at

Those eligible to apply include those whose post is a (non-clinical) Statutory Professorship or Statutory Readership and substantive non-clinical Associate Professors with title of full Professor. 

The 2016-17 process has now been completed. Please contact the Academic HR Officer if you need any further information about the University's Professorial Distinction Award process.

The MPLS Professorial Distinction Awards Committee membership for 2016-17 comprised:

  • Chairman: Professor Donal Bradley CBE FRS, Head of MPLS Division
  • Professor Helen Atkinson CBE FREng, Graduate Dean and former Head of Engineering Science, University of Leicester
  • Professor Steve Cowley FRS FREng, Director ,Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and Chief Executive Officer, UK Atomic Energy Authority and incoming Head of House, Corpus Christi
  • Professor Charlotte Deane, Head of the Department of Statistics 
  • Professor Gideon Henderson, FRS, Head of Department of Earth Sciences
  • Professor Dame Georgina Mace, DBE FRS, Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystems, and Head of the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London 
  • Professor Tim Softley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham 
  • Professor Sir Martin Taylor, KBE FRS, Warden of Merton College 
  • Professor John Wheater, Head of Department of Physics
  • Professor Mike Wooldridge, Head of the Department of Computer Science 


This page contains information on the award of titles. Information about processes for appointing academic staff and appointing heads of department can be found here and about processes for academic staff in post can be found here. If you have a query about academic staffing that is not answered by the documents on these pages, please contact the Academic Appointments Team.