Guidelines for Academic Visitors

1. Introduction

The Department of Social Policy and Intervention welcomes Visitors to work in the Department for periods of time ranging from a few weeks to a sabbatical year. All Visitors need to be sponsored by a member of the Department. Frequently the member of the Department will make the application for the Visitor, but unsolicited applications are also welcome. In this case, the success of the application will depend on whether there is a member of the Department prepared to sponsor the Visitor. The Department’s Executive Committee approves all Visitor applications.

We expect all Visitors to be working on a topic of interest to the Department, and will give preference to applicants who are actual or potential colleagues writing or conducting research together with members of the Department.
Visitors will normally be expected to give a seminar during their stay, contribute a working paper for publication, and otherwise actively participate in the life of the Department.

Please note that the UK Border Agency has recently changed the rules concerning academic visitors to British
universities. You are therefore advised to contact your nearest British Consul’s office to check your eligibility to travel to the UK as a Visitor and the time it might take to process a visa application if one is required.

You should consult the following links for further information:
University Guidance for Overseas Visitors
UK Border Agency

2. Applying to become an Academic Visitor

Visitor by invitation

If a member of the Department has identified a potential Visitor they wish to sponsor, it is expected that they will put forward an application to the Executive Committee (Please email pa@spi.ox.ac.uk for an application form).

The application should include:

  • CV of applicant;
  • time and duration of stay;
  • research area and interests;
  • details of any collaborations that are anticipated through offering the applicant Visitor status;
  • information on whether the Visitor will present a paper during their visit.
Unsolicitated applications

Academics who wish to apply to become Academic Visitors but who do not have a sponsor should write to the Department explaining the purpose and value of the visit, and enclose a completed application form and a copy of their CV. These will be circulated to those colleagues who might be interested in acting as a sponsor. If the applicant gains a sponsor the application will be put forward to the Executive Committee; if no sponsor is found the application will be taken no further. Please contact pa@spi.ox.ac.uk to express your interest and for an application form.

Successful applicants 

If approved by the Executive Committee, a formal invitation to visit will be offered by the Head of Department. The Visitor’s details will then be passed to a member of the HR Team who will make the necessary practical arrangements in consultation with the sponsor.

The Department charges Bench Fees to Academic Visitors at a rate of £100 (plus VAT) per week up to a maximum of £2000 (plus VAT), plus an admin fee of £200 (plus VAT). In some circumstances the sponsor will agree to waive Bench Fees.

Important information

The Visitor is responsible for obtaining a visa to travel to the U.K. if one is required and will need to present the visa on arrival at the Department. If the correct visa has not been obtained the visiting academic will be turned away. Please use the web links above to check which visa is required. 

3. What the Department can offer

As an Academic Visitor, you will be invited to participate in the life of the Department. You will be offered use of the Common Room, and will be invited to departmental seminars and other events. We also expect visitors to become fully involved in the Department’s activities, for example by giving a seminar on their research.

You will also be provided with an Oxford University Card. This gives you access to the Bodleian Library, and to a wide range of lectures and seminars within Oxford.

In some cases, the Department offers Visitors facilities to work. This includes working space, which is usually a desk in a shared office. Unfortunately, there is increasing pressure on space in Barnett House, so it is unlikely that a room for the sole use of a Visitor will be available, and some applications may be declined if there is insufficient space available. However, some Visitors may be able to make their own arrangements for alternative working space in Oxford.

Visitors must bring their own laptops. These can be connected to the Department’s network, and the building also has wireless internet access available. Printing facilities will be available for modest levels of printing, but Visitors may be asked to cover the printing costs if they are excessive. Telephone equipment may be made available on request, although you may be asked to cover the costs if excessive. You are welcome to use the Department’s post facilities, but will be asked to pay for the cost of significant amounts of mail, or anything posted outside of the UK.

Visitors should be aware that the building in which we are located was constructed about 200 years ago and retains a number of the original features. The Department occupies four levels but we can only offer wheelchair access to two of those levels on which a full range of facilities is available. It would be helpful if you could let us know whether you have particular access requirements. 

4. The role of sponsor/host

All Visitors are sponsored by a member of the Department, who act as a host and look after them during their stay.

Acting as host will include:

  • liaising with the HR Team to make practical preparations for the Visitor’s arrival;
  • being available to welcome the Visitor to the Department;
  • helping them through the practical arrangements;
  • introducing them to colleagues in the Department and University;
  • making arrangements if the Visitor is going to give a seminar.

Guidance last updated: July 2020. 

Guidelines for Visitors PDF version also available. 

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