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Research and study leave

Research and study leave (RSL) is leave that is taken away from normal teaching, research and administrative duties, and may be granted to academic staff for them to pursue an approved research and study programme.

RSL normally provides an opportunity for staff to travel to develop and maintain contacts with the wider academic and research community, to collaborate in-person and gain access to information, equipment or other resources. However, due to Covid-19, staff who wish to apply for 2021 should assume that they will only be able to travel within New Zealand.

The value of RSL is measured by its usefulness to the University's teaching and research, the individual's professional development and the contribution the leave may make to the University and the wider community.

With increased emphasis on research impact, knowledge translation and applied research, applicants are encouraged to consider options for NZ-based RSL embedded within an end-user organisation. This could be with a local authority, iwi organisation, government department, research-informed NGO or a research-intensive company.

Applications for NZ-based periods of Research and Study Leave in 2021

Staff may now apply for 2021 RSL that is based in New Zealand. Applications must reach Human Resources by Friday 4 September 2020 and should be directed via the Divisional Office to confirm eligibility. Applications will be considered by the Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Pro-Vice-Chancellors’ Group for all divisions.

  • Applicants will need to ensure that they submit applications for HoD and Dean endorsement before the due date.
  • Applicants will also need to make contact with their divisional office as soon as possible to enable their RSL eligibility to be confirmed.

Download the Research and Study Leave Application Form (Word)

Criteria for granting Research and Study Leave

When assessing applications for Research and Study Leave from eligible staff, the University will consider the quality of the plan for the leave, the applicant’s previous achievements, the ability of the department to cover the absence, and any special circumstances with respect to career stage and timing of leave.

An application for RSL should demonstrate the following, as assessed by the Head of Department (and Dean, where applicable):

Research and professional practice

  • Quality research outputs that are expected to result from the RSL, and the timeline for these following the end of the RSL.
  • Collaboration with research or professional practice colleagues at other institutions that will lead to significant future benefit to the University of Otago. This will normally include presentation of research as a guest of other institutions.
  • Collaboration with industry, government or communities that will lead to translational research of clear benefit to industry, policy or society.

Teaching, assessment and curriculum development

  • Investigation and development of pedagogy and innovations in teaching that will significantly enhance the work of the University.
  • A contribution to teaching at another institution, normally of no more than 60 hours.

External engagement

  • Contribution to external engagement, such as engagement with potential students at exchange partner institutions, presenting at alumni events, developing beneficial relationships with external organisations.

Prior achievements

  • Production of quality outcomes from previous periods of RSL, or, in the case of an application for first RSL, the ability to plan a research strategy and produce outputs in an independent area of research.
  • Willingness to engage with other institutions to promote the University of Otago.
  • A satisfactory record of past achievements in teaching, research and service.

Justification and practical considerations

  • A justification that the location(s), duration and timing of the proposed RSL are necessary in order to achieve the goals, giving reasons as to why the work cannot be achieved in the normal course of the year.
  • A satisfactory explanation of the practicability of the proposed leave programme, the appropriateness of the proposed places of work.
  • A satisfactory description of the arrangements to cover the applicant’s normal university duties.

Supporting documents

  • CV
  • Invitations from host institutions
  • Quotes for any financial assistance requested
  • Report from previous RSL
  • Letter of support from the funder (for research-funded staff only)
  • Letter of support from the DHB (for joint clinical staff only)

Endorsement and eligibility check

  • Head of Department statement
  • Dean statement (In Health Sciences)
  • Divisional Office check for eligibility to apply