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One of the ways in which we recognise staff who have performed well in our Department is through the University's annual Awards for Excellence Scheme and year-round Recognition Scheme

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This is an important opportunity to reward staff in our Department who have performed well. If you are a line manager, consider whether you can nominate those you line manage, such as researchers, professional services staff and technicians (note that self-nomination is also possible for the Awards for Excellence part of the scheme).

The scheme is particularly useful for rewarding those in the early stages of their career, such as apprentices and post-docs.

The scheme is designed for up to 10% of eligible staff to receive Awards for Excellence and up to 8% Recognition Awards.

The scheme

The scheme is intended to recognise contributions from staff who:

  • have performed well in all the key areas of their jobs;
  • have consistently demonstrated exceptional performance, significantly above that expected for their grade;
  • have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to a value or behaviour framework, through examples provided against the expected behaviours (such as RDM's Respectful Behaviours Framework and the 'recognising values/behaviours form' on the HR website).

The scheme has two elements:

  1. Awards for Excellence Scheme, awarding one-off or recurrent incremental payments. It is expected that in the majority of cases non-recurrent awards will be made. This is because recurrent awards are primarily for those who are at or above the scale bar for their grade and whose exceptional performance is expected to continue (but note that recurrent awards cannot be made to people already at the top of the discretionary scale for their grade). As for those on E grades or Apprentice grade, only non-recurrent awards can be made, because these grades have set routes of salary progression.
  2. Recognition Scheme, under which smaller, more timely awards (£200 before tax in all cases) can be made to recognise one-off, outstanding contributions at any time of the year.


All staff in grades 1-10 (and some staff employed on clinical grades) with more than six months' service are eligible to be considered for an award.

The following members of staff are not eligible for awards under either scheme:

  • those holding posts (such as EC Marie Curie fellowships) for which the funder's terms specify the individual's rate of pay outside the University's salary scales
  • those with less than six months' service with the University at the time of assessment (i.e. they started after 1 November 2023)
  • those whose TUPE arrangements preclude inclusion or impose alternative 'merit' arrangements
  • those holding clinical consultant contracts who are eligible for NHS merit awards
  • those on grades 9 and 10 who have been awarded the title of Professor and are therefore eligible for the Professorial Merit Pay scheme)

See details of the scheme, including the eligibility criteria. 

The 2024 nomination process in RDM

Nominations for both the Awards for Excellence and Recognition Schemes should be submitted to by noon on Tuesday 18 June 2024.

A panel chaired by the Head of Department, with senior academic membership and professional support staff advisers from across the RDM divisions and RDM Strategic, will consider all eligible nominations received. Please ensure all nomination forms are fully completed, with the reasons for nominations explained and evidenced, as the forms will be assessed by panel members who will not necessarily know the work of the nominees personally.

In most cases, it is anticipated that line managers will submit nominations for members of staff who they think meet the relevant criteria, and it is expected that line managers will have discussed a nomination with the member of staff before submission. In cases where a member of staff and their line manager disagree about whether they should be nominated, the member of staff has the option to submit a self-nomination for an Award for Excellence (but not for a Recognition Award).

The RDM panel will meet in early July and awards should be paid in the payroll at the end of August, as per the university timetable for the exercise.

If you have any questions about the two schemes, please speak to your line manager, or the Business Manager or HR officer for your RDM division.