Research and Study Leave Procedures


All members of academic staff who have teaching and research as part of their academic duties and academic staff involved in the approval process for applications.


To detail the responsibilities and procedures for applying for, undertaking and approving research and study leave (RSL).

Application procedures

The application process involves the following responsibilities for individuals and committees:

Staff members

1. Staff members will:

  • discuss their plans for RSL with their academic head (or delegate) during the ADPR process
  • prepare an application consistent with the requirements of the RSL policy using the Research and Study Leave Application form
  • apply for leave at least 8, and no more than 12, months prior to the start date of the proposed period of RSL
  • provide indicative costs of any travel outlined in the application
  • Include a copy of the previous leave report if this is not their first RSL application that is signed and dated by their academic head
  • forward their application to their academic head by the 1st of the month.

2. Applications received after the 1st of the month will go into the next month’s round for consideration.

Note - No applications will be considered in December or January.

Note - The application form and leave report form are available on the staff intranet (add links)

Academic head

3. The academic head will:

  • discuss RSL plans with staff who meet the eligibility criteria at each ADPR. This may be undertaken by the academic head’s delegate but must be reported back to the academic head
  • counsel and advise staff members in applications for RSL
  • complete the academic head recommendation section of the application form
  • forward all applications to the faculty office within a month of receiving the application irrespective of whether or not she/he supports the application
  • plan for the academic and budgetary needs of the academic unit taking account of approved and anticipated approvals of RSL

Note - where the academic head is also the dean, the dean will nominate another person to act in the role of the academic head for the purposes of the policy.

Approval procedures

The approval process involves the following responsibilities for individuals and committees:

Faculty office

4. The faculty office will:

  • work with the Chair of the Faculty Staffing Committee (FSC) to organise a subcommittee of the FSC to review each application within a month of it being submitted to the faculty office
  • prepare a letter informing the applicant of the outcome once the decision has been made by the dean.

Faculty Staffing Committee subcommittee

5. The FSC subcommittee will comprise at least two members of the FSC.

6. The FSC subcommittee will:

  • review the application carefully taking into account the applicant's eligibility for RSL, evidence that the period of RSL will meet the objectives laid out in the University Research and Study Leave Policy, the detailed statement by the academic head on the application and the outcomes of any previous leave as provided in Section Two of the RSL application form
  • interview the applicant and/or the academic head if they need further information from either party
  • make a recommendation to approve, approve with amendments or decline the RSL application to the dean. If the recommendation is to decline they must explain this in a written report to the dean.

7. In the case of a joint appointment between two academic units, the advice of both academic heads will be considered.

The dean/director of a Large Scale Research Institute

8. The dean will:

  • consider the recommendation made by the FSC subcommittee and make the final decision to approve, approve with amendments or decline RSL
  • discuss his/her decision with the subcommittee where the decision is at odds with the view of the subcommittee. The dean may choose to refer an application to the FSC if they require further advice. This must not unnecessarily delay notifying the applicant and academic head of the decision
  • ensure the applicant is informed of the outcome in a timely manner and provide an explanation of a decision to amend or decline RSL
  • approve or amend where necessary the amount of grant-in-aid applied for.

Financial provisions


Note - A grant-in-aid is intended to partly cover actual and reasonable costs incurred by the staff member who has been granted RSL.

9. Staff members who meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in the RSL policy will be eligible to receive grant-in-aid up to the maximum allowable for the period of leave.

10. The grant-in-aid is linked to months of leave granted and is capped as per the RSL policy after six years’ service excluding any periods of RSL taken and/or periods of leave without pay (LWOP).

11. Senior Lecturers and above will accrue the ability to claim grant-in-aid at a rate of $1,500 per month of leave granted to a maximum of $18,000.

12. Lecturers will accrue the ability to claim grant-in-aid at $2,000 per month of leave granted for the first three years after employment and then $1,500 per annum after that to a maximum of $21,000.

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

Release process for grant-in-aid

13. The staff member is to provide a final itinerary to the academic head which conforms with the approved leave programme, at least six weeks prior to departure using the Final Itinerary Approval and Grant-in-aid Release Form for Research and Study Leave (RSL).

14. The academic head will arrange release of any grant-in-aid by finance.

15. Any changes to the approved leave plan must be approved by the academic head before the grant-in-aid may be uplifted using the Final Itinerary Approval and Grant-in-aid Release Form for Research and Study Leave (RSL).

16. The grant-in-aid amount will then be released to the staff member by means of a University credit card.

Interim leave report

17. Staff members who take up RSL must supply an interim leave report to their academic head within three months of returning from leave.

18. The leave report requires the staff member to outline what activities they undertook whilst on RSL (including any conferences attended or institutions visited).

19. The dean may elect to deduct $500 from the staff member’s next grant-in-aid request for each month, or part thereof, where the interim leave report is submitted after the due date, to a maximum of $2,000.

20. Full commentary on the period of RSL taken will be provided in the application form for any subsequent period of leave.


21. Where a staff member has concerns that the application may not have been given appropriate consideration under these procedures, they are to discuss this first with the academic head.

22. If the staff member remains concerned about specific matters, they should then discuss these with the dean.

23. The dean will take such steps as the dean considers appropriate to resolve the concerns of the staff member.

24. If after discussing the matter with the dean, the staff member remains concerned that the decision on the application has been wrong, they may lodge a written request for a review with the Vice-Chancellor providing such an appeal is lodged within 90 days of the advice of the decision.

25. The Vice-Chancellor may appoint a two-three person committee of senior academic staff to advise the Vice-Chancellor.

26. The committee will discuss the review with the staff member (and employee representative, if any).

27. The committee then will consult with the Vice-Chancellor after which it will make a decision.

28. The committee will provide the decision and brief reasons for the decision to the staff member.

29. The decision will be final.


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: 30 October 2019
Review date: 30 October 2021