Research and Study Leave Policy


All members of academic staff who have teaching and research as part of their academic duties.


To clarify the objectives and eligibility criteria of research and study Leave (RSL) and to outline the financial assistance available to successful applicants.


The provision of Research and Study Leave represents a significant investment by the University. It has three key objectives:

  • To support academic staff to enhance their research and teaching performance (for example, by providing the opportunity to build international collaborations, acquire new research or teaching techniques or gain access to critical research materials)
  • To support academic staff to develop their careers in line with the academic standards (for example, by providing the time to complete a major piece of research or publication, or develop an innovative teaching practice), and
  • To contribute to the enhanced academic reputation of their academic unit, faculty/LSRI and the University (for example, by providing the opportunity for joint research and publication with colleagues at leading international universities).



1. Approval of RSL is always to be discretionary.

2. Eligible staff must discuss RSL proposals with their academic head (or the academic head’s delegate) as part of the annual Academic Development and Performance Review process.

3. Applications must be made at least 8 months, and no more than 12 months, prior to the period of leave being applied for.

4. The academic head is responsible for ensuring that satisfactory arrangements can be made to ensure that the work of the academic unit can continue when staff members are on RSL and will be expected to comment on this in the recommendation to approve or decline an RSL application.

5. Where the academic head cannot confirm that satisfactory arrangements can be made it may be necessary to defer the granting of leave.

6. Applications will be considered by a sub-committee of the Faculty Staffing Committee with the final decision being made by the dean.

7. While the University is committed to providing RSL, its provision will be dependent on the funds available and the staffing requirements of the academic units concerned


8. To be eligible to apply for RSL academic staff members must have research and teaching as part of their academic duties and have completed at least one full year of service (either full or part-time) since the date of their appointment, or the end of their last RSL.

9. If members of staff who have a fixed term appointment meet the other criteria for research and study leave, they are eligible for RSL provided that their term of appointment ends at least two years after they would return from leave.

10. Members of staff who had teaching and research as part of their academic duties under a previous fixed-term employment agreement at the University may, at the discretion of the employer, be permitted to count that service for RSL purposes.

11. RSL will not be granted to a member of staff where any part of that leave would fall within the last two years of employment.

Note – this policy does not apply to Research Fellows, Senior Research Fellows or Professional Teaching Fellows.

Length of leave

12. The period of RSL that may be applied for will accumulate at the rate of two months per year pro-rated of full or part-time service since the date of appointment, excluding any periods when the staff member has been on RSL or on leave without pay (LWOP).

13. The period of RSL that may be applied for is capped at 12 months.

14. Staff members may apply to take all or part of the period of leave for which they are eligible.

15. Any portion not taken may be applied for at a later date along with any further period for which they become eligible to apply (to a maximum of 12 months).

16. RSL must be applied for in monthly increments with the minimum amount that may be applied for being two months.

Note: periods of parental leave or sick leave, whether paid or unpaid will not count as LWOP for the purposes of this policy.

Criteria for approving RSL

17. In considering an application for RSL the FSC sub-committee and dean will take into account:

a. the applicant's eligibility for RSL in the terms set out above

b. evidence that the period of RSL will meet the objectives laid out in the purpose statement above

c. the effect the intended leave will have on ongoing activities in the academic unit

d. the detailed statement by the academic head on the application which must include reference to the performance of the applicant in teaching, research and service/leadership

Financial assistance

18. Staff members on approved RSL will continue to receive their salary with the exception of any administration allowances.

19. The University will provide additional support by providing grants-in-aid to the extent that is reasonable in the circumstances, or to the maximum specified in the Research and Study Leave Procedures.

20. Members of staff on RSL must seek the prior approval of their academic head if they wish to accept a financial grant or salaried post whether at a university or elsewhere, or engage in private consulting for fees, during the period of their leave.

21. Obligations arising from these payments must not interfere with staff members’ pursuit of their research and study leave objectives.


22. A grant-in-aid, as outlined in the Research and Study Leave Procedures, will be made available having regard to the circumstances of each case and to the funds available.

23. The grant-in-aid is to be inclusive of travel booked though the University’s Travel Management Company (TMC).

24. Any member of staff who receives a grant-in-aid in respect of RSL may be required to refund a proportion of the grant, as determined by the dean, if they do not remain in the employment of the University for a period of two years from completion of the leave period.

Leave reports

25. Within three months of returning from RSL staff members are required to submit a report of their leave to their academic head using the RSL report template.

26. Failure to do so may result in a reduction of the grant-in-aid available for any future leave.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic duties are defined in the Academic Staff Collective Agreement and for the purposes of this policy refer to roles where staff members are employed to conduct research and teaching such as lecturer, senior lecturers, associate professors, professors and senior tutors who have an agreed research component.

Dean refers to both deans of faculties and directors of Large Scale Research Institutes.

Grant-in-aid is funding made available to a staff member who has been approved RSL in order to assist with covering actual incurred costs during the period of leave.

University means the University of Auckland.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory
Owner: Director, Human Resources
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: 16 February 2024
Review date: 16 February 2029