Department Handbook

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Department Handbook 2015 Table of Contents

Welcome and Introduction

A. Building Locations

B. Personnel Support

C. Getting Started

D. Administrative and Support Staff - who does what

E. Departmental Facilities

F. Ordering Consumables and Equipment

G. Phones, Faxes and Administration

H. Expenses, Conferences and Fees

I. Safety and Security

J. Solving Problems

K. Departmental Responsibilities

Appendix A - IT Rules and Regulations

Appendix B - IT Disciplinary Procedures

Appendix C - Bribery and Fraud Policy

Appendix D - Statement of Policy and Procedure on Conflict of Interest


Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to the Department of Materials.

As you will already know, our main activities here are research and teaching.  There are approximately 28 research groups who undertake a wide range of projects in all fields of Materials Science, and further details of the groups and their areas of research can be found at

Teaching takes place at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels with an extensive programme of lectures and seminars throughout the year, details of which are regularly circulated and available via the links on our web home page.

As you will soon notice, the Department is spread across many buildings, focused on two main sites – central Oxford and Begbroke Science Park: [The Department of Materials was instrumental in persuading the University of Oxford to purchase the Begbroke Science Park five miles north of Oxford. The site has been developed into a thriving community offering a unique environment where world-class scientists work alongside colleagues from industry, decision makers and entrepreneurs to translate cutting-edge research into commercial opportunities. Buildings house spin-out companies as well as other departments from the University including (as well as Materials), Engineering, Earth Sciences and Computing Sciences.]

  • The Head of Department and Admin staff are mostly based in the Hume-Rothery Building, together with the Library, Stores, workshops and the FIM group.
  • Research groups are based in 12/13 Parks Road and 21 Banbury Road which are occupied wholly by Materials. 
  • We share space with Engineering in the Holder Building and the ETB (Engineering Technology Building). 
  • The Materials Modelling Lab is situated on the top floor of the Rex Richards Building.
  • Professor Peter Bruce (Wolfson Professor of Materials) in and his group occupy space on the ground floor and basement of the Rex Richards Building.
  • The Hirsch Building at Begbroke houses groups and large items of equipment; groups are also in the IAT and Christian Buildings.

There is a regular mini-bus service between the Begbroke and Oxford sites.  (Maps showing locations of our buildings can be found both in this document, and also at:, and the timetable for the Begbroke bus is regularly updated at:  There is also a tracking system which can be found at which shows the real time location of the buses.

Around 250 people work in the Department of Materials full time, including professors, lecturers, independent fellows, researchers and support staff.  Each year we welcome around 40 new graduate students starting their DPhil studies and during the university terms we also have some 100 or so undergraduate students who attend lectures and practical teaching. Throughout the year we welcome and host visitors at all levels. 

Altogether with our staff, students and visitors, we have a vibrant atmosphere that demonstrates how important the people within the Department are to us and therefore we are proud to have achieved a Silver Athena SWAN award that recognizes our commitment to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine in higher education.  While the award particularly supports women who wish to pursue a career in science, we see this as an opportunity to support all those who wish to further their careers while maintaining a balance between their work, home and family lives.  Having gained the award in 2012, we have been working to improve the support we give to all our staff and to implement measures that confirm our intention to provide active support for all in their careers, such as the mentoring scheme initiated this year.  We have formed an Equality and Diversity Committee which meets termly and whose primary aim is to:

  • To promote equality and diversity within the Department of Materials on grounds of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, religion and age. 
  • To promote and support work/life balance for all members of staff within the Department.
  • To monitor and report on:
    - Flexible working arrangements.
    - Ratios of applicants and successes, where appropriate, under equality criteria for undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and staff opportunities.
  • To monitor career support and mentoring for staff in the Department.
  • To inform the Department generally of the work of the Committee and any initiatives within this area.
  • To report regularly to the Departmental Committee and other departmental bodies as appropriate.

In April 2015 we submitted our application to renew our Silver Award and while we await the results, we also welcome any ideas and support that you may wish to give to the E&D Committee as we review our performance and plan for the next three years.

With our Department split across several buildings we recognise the importance of maintaining contact with groups and colleagues who may not be located near to us.  Therefore we encourage members of the Department to meet up in the Common Room that is located in the Holder Building, and to attend coffee sessions held for groups such as students and research groups on the Begbroke Site.  Academic and senior admin staff coffee is held every Tuesday and Thursday at 11.00 am in the Wolfson Meeting Room, and on Tuesdays is also open to postdoctoral researchers.  We hold a Newcomers’ Party at the beginning of the academic year for all those who have arrived in the Department during the previous year, as well as a Christmas Party in December for all members of the Department.  Additionally we encourage attendance at seminars and colloquia that are regularly advertised – these are your chance to learn about other research taking place both within the Department and from external speakers and to network with other researchers.  Details of all these opportunities will be advertised regularly in the weekly newsletter and on our Materials website.

The Department has an outstanding record for world class research.  In the UK Government’s most recent assessment of research excellence in UK universities, the 2014 REF, Oxford Materials was one of the top-rated materials departments in the country.   98% of our activity was judged to be in the highest categories of excellence (Grades 4* & 3*; respectively ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’).  Annual research funding in the Department is approximately £10.1 million, coming mainly from industry, research councils, the EU and charities.  The Department’s strengths are also demonstrated by the size and variety of our grant portfolio, the number of research students, the range of meetings and conferences we support, the extent of contacts with industrial colleagues and our alumni, and the number of academic papers and books published

Quality in academic life is central to the Department’s role: we have some of the best Materials undergraduates in the UK, excellent postgraduate students and postdoctoral research fellows and our faculty members (the Associate Professors and Professors) are internationally distinguished.  We also have exceptionally able and committed technical, secretarial and cleaning staff who are vital members of our team – and I hope that you will take the opportunity to meet them as soon as possible.

The notes in this booklet describe our central facilities and how they can best be used.  We also set out the Department’s policies that are designed to ensure that all research groups and individual members of the Department can pursue their research interests to the greatest effect.  Please take time to read these notes and keep them for future reference.  (They are also available online at: )

The University has a Bribery and Fraud Policy: see Appendix C at the end of this booklet.  We have also included details of the University’s Conflict of Interest policy (Appendix D).  Both these policies are important and I recommend that you should read these (and remember them) and report to me immediately any instances that you believe contravene either policy.

We have a few suggestions for you to make the most of your time in the Department:

  • Read this booklet and keep it handy for reference (or bookmark the website);
  • Make time to get to know your immediate colleagues, departmental staff and the technicians who support your research;
  • Make a point of attending departmental seminars, colloquia (talks) and lectures – they are well publicised and give you a unique opportunity to learn about the other research taking place in the Department, as well as from external speakers who are usually leaders in their field;
  • Please don’t be afraid to ask if you can’t find something or need advice – the admin and support team, together with your supervisor, are here to help you and we are happy to ensure that you have everything you need to complete your project.
  • Read the weekly newsletter – I use it as my main source for informing the Department of admin and personnel matters.

I very much hope that you will enjoy your time with us here in Materials and that it will be productive for you.  Whether your time here is only for a short while, or for a few years, we always hope that you will keep in touch, and when you leave we will be happy if you sign up as an alumnus (contact Lorraine Laird to give her your details) so that we can update you with news of the Department, and any events which you may wish to attend.

Alana Davies, Departmental Administrator
September 2015

A. Building Locations

Map available in printed version of handbook is not available. As an alternative see the visitor information map PDF logo

B. Personnel Support

(for members of the Department on the University payroll)

The Departmental Administrator (Alana Davies) is directly responsible for the personnel management of all postdoctoral research assistants, research fellows, administrative and technical support staff, ably assisted by her Secretary, Alison Jewitt.  They support the recruitment of all non-academic staff.  Alison and Alana work with the relevant supervisors to produce the paperwork for advertising posts, while Rebecca Bradford and Debbie Townsend support the online recruitment, producing shortlisting packs and managing the arrangements for the interview process.  Alison produces the contracts of employment, and inputs details into the online personnel system (HRIS) resulting in a regular payment of your salary each month.  

At the time of interview we ask you to supply copies of documentation to prove your eligibility to work in the UK, your qualifications and proof of your current address.

Following the interview, once we have offered you the post and you have accepted it, we send you a contract to sign, a medical history questionnaire and a university card application to complete.  If you do not have the right to work in the UK, we apply for a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) for you and support your application for a work visa.  (More about the responsibilities of visa holders later).  

Before you start work, and on your first working day we must check the following original documentation:

  • papers which prove your eligibility to work in the UK;
  • certificates of your relevant degree or other qualifications;
  • documentation to prove your current address;
  • We will check to ensure that we have had confirmation from Occupational Health that your medical history questionnaire has been accepted and there are no queries;
  • We will arrange for your University Card to be ready for you on arrival, thus enabling you to set up your email account.

Shortly after your arrival (or sometimes in advance, depending on payroll deadlines) we will ask you for details of your address in Oxford, your bank account, and whom we may contact in case of emergency.  You should have these with you when you make arrangements to meet Alana for your initial induction.

Soon after your arrival you will be invited for an initial induction interview with Alana which covers basic information such as admission to the University’s pension scheme, recording annual leave, what to do if you are ill, and the benefits of being a member of the University staff (see  More details on all these points are covered in the following section, together with some useful website addresses.  Each month Alana gives a more general induction about the Department for new postdocs and fellows who have recently started in post.

Additionally we hold a termly meeting to which all postdocs and fellows are invited.  These sessions cover topics of interest, such as how to make a grant application, career opportunities and various employment issues, as well as updates from senior members of the Department, and over lunch there is a chance to meet members of other groups and to hear about their research and interests.  These sessions are published in the weekly newsletter and usually occur near the end of each term. 

New members of research staff are also encouraged to attend the welcome sessions run by the University’s Research Society and further details can be found at  These sessions include useful information about the University and how it works as well personnel and careers information.

For those of you arriving from overseas there is a helpful website at

I would recommend to everyone that they should complete the online induction session found at:    

Another particularly helpful website can be found at: which has details about pay, holidays and leave, sickness absence, networks and associations, family life and a whole lot more!

During your working life there are bound to be times when you need to ask advice on particular personnel matters, such as your contract, or maybe you need to consider taking maternity or paternity or compassionate leave or would like to talk about the possibility of flexible or part-time working.  Alana is happy to discuss and advise on any of these points and such interviews will of course be confidential – just contact Alison either on 73666 or by email ( either asking her the query directly if it is straightforward, or asking her to make an appointment for a meeting with Alana if it is more complex or confidential.  It is worth noting that the Department will, if at all possible, meet requests for flexible or part-time working, adjustments for particular family needs – either short term or long term – and has agreed the majority of requests from existing staff, including a job-share for a member of the technical staff and negotiating for a part time fellowship.   Those working on fixed term contracts funded either by research councils, industry or the EU should note that there are usually schemes to enable taking maternity or paternity leave, although these can differ between funders; similarly arrangements can be made for flexible working if it is possible within the project.  If you are considering any of these options please do come to see me early on so that we can discuss how they could work.

Annual Leave

Your contract will state the total number of days’ annual leave to which you are entitled.  The leave year runs from 1 October to 30 September each year.  If you start on any date other than 1 October your number of leave days will be worked out pro rata (which is also the case if you work part-time).  The annual leave allowance includes eight days public ‘bank’ holidays – ie Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday, two Mondays in May and one in August.  The Department also has two fixed closure periods – five days of annual leave are automatically deducted for the Christmas closure and when added to the Bank Holidays during that period enable us to shut from just before Christmas until the first working day after New Year’s Day.  The dates are circulated in good time before Christmas to ensure that everyone can plan for their winter holidays.  We also take Maundy Thursday as a fixed closure day, giving us a long weekend over Easter.  Therefore (unless you already qualify for long service leave – gained after five years of working for the University) you will have 24 days personal leave in a full leave year. 

Each member of staff is given a leave card on which to record the days of personal leave that they take.  As part of your holiday planning, we expect that you will discuss your annual leave with your supervisor, and once the dates have been agreed these should be recorded on the annual leave card, initialled by your supervisor and sent to Alison so that she may record these days in our departmental records.  Once noted the card will be returned to you, ready to record the next leave you take.  The card should be completed before you take annual leave, and if possible at least two weeks ahead of time.  Use of the card is required for all postdoctoral research and support staff and has the benefit of documenting dates of leave which have been agreed in the unlikely case of any dispute – particularly as we will have a central record of your leave.  You should plan to take all annual leave within the year that it is due.  Only in exceptional circumstances will you be given permission to carry over up to 5 days from one leave year to another.  You should also plan to take the leave (if possible) throughout the year, and not to expect that you may take extended periods of leave during the summer (unless for a specific purpose, such as visiting family located a lengthy plane journey distant from the UK and agreed in advance).  Some members of staff may be restricted to taking their main leave outside University terms, and if this is the case, it will be included in your job description.

Notification of Sick Leave

If you are unwell during your stay in the Department you should ensure that your supervisor is told as soon as possible that you are not well enough to come to work.  In addition, you should ensure that either the Receptionist (Jane Foxall – – or 01865 273777), the Administrator or her secretary, Alison, are also informed either by telephone or by email.  You will find two forms on the Materials website at to complete if you are sick – the sickness confirmation form should be completed on your return from sick leave, irrespective of the length of time you have been unwell, even if you have only been away for one day, and the self certification form if you are away for between 3 and 7 days. 

If you are not well enough to return to work after a week, then we expect that you will need to consult a doctor who will advise if you are fit to work and if not, will supply a ‘fitness to work’ note detailing the number of days before you are able to return to work.  If this is the case you must ensure that you send in this medical note as soon as possible to the Administrator, especially if you are unable to work for more than a week, so that we can record your sick leave and make arrangements to provide cover if necessary.  In the unlikely event that you have a long-term sickness problem, we are committed to working with you to enable you to return to work, if necessary with additional support.  All sickness forms (with the exception of the ‘fitness to work form’, which should be forwarded immediately) should be returned to Alison as soon as possible after your return to work.

Maternity, paternity and shared parental leave

Employees who hold a current contract of employment with the University and have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with the University as an employee who intend to return to work following the birth of her baby (for a minimum of 3 months) may, provided they complete the correct forms (see may claim maternity benefits. 

Paternity leave is an entitlement to time off that may be taken by the biological father, or the mother’s partner (regardless of gender or marital status) following the birth or adoption of their child.  Paternity leave is intended to support parents in the early stages of a child’s life/adoption.  All eligible employees may be able to take one or two weeks’ ordinary paternity leave (OPL) which may be available at full pay.  Paternity leave must be taken in the first 56 days following the birth or adoption of a child.  If you wish to take paternity leave, read the full details here:

Details of the arrangements for the recently announced shared parental leave enables eligible parents, if they so wish, to share a period of leave and pay in the 52 weeks immediately following the birth or adoption of their child.  The scheme is complex.  Further details can be found at:  If either parent is considering a plan to take SPL, then please contact the Administrator to discuss this as early as possible.  

Staff with work visas

If you have a Tier 2 visa under the UK’s points-based migration system then the University of Oxford is your sponsor, and as a sponsored migrant you have the following responsibilities.

1.       You must ensure that the Department has up-to-date contact details for you at all times, including your home address, home phone number and mobile phone number.  If any of these change you must notify Alana or Alison within three working days of the change.

2.       You must notify Alana or Alison within three working days if you change your immigration category, for example if you obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or if you move to Tier 1 or any other non-sponsored category.  You must also show them the original evidence of your changed status.  If you get a new passport we will need to take a certified copy.

3.       We are also required to keep a record of days when you are absent from the Department, whether on leave, away at conferences etc, or ill.  Please remember to let us know beforehand if  you will be out of Oxford and complete your sickness absence form if you have been ill, submitting it promptly to Alison for recording.  Even if you do not miss any work, we have to record if you leave the UK, for example a weekend in Paris.

We need to report relevant matters to the UK Border Agency within ten working days of the change so it is essential that you notify us in time for us to comply with this requirement.  Failure to do so may result in penalties for us and for you, including on-the-spot fines, and/or you having to leave the UK immediately.  The UKBA carries out spot checks on departments with no notice, so we need to have all the necessary information in advance.  For the same reason we need to maintain up-to-date records in the Department, for example of travel and other absences.


All employees of the University of Oxford are automatically deemed to be members of the relevant pension scheme (USS for academic or academic-related staff or OSPS for support staff) from the day they start work here.  You may choose to opt out if you wish.  Full details may be found at   You will have been given details of the pension scheme with your contract and during your induction with Alana, but further information can be found at the University’s website .

Probation Period of Appointment

The purpose of the probationary period is to ensure that when starting a new appointment, you are able within a reasonable period of time to gain a full understanding of the requirements of the post and to achieve a satisfactory level of performance. 

In practice this means that while monitoring your performance in your new post, your supervisor should ensure that you have sufficient information to settle into your project, or training enabling you to use the equipment or software necessary to support it.  I anticipate that throughout your employment here in the Department you will meet regularly with your supervisor to discuss progress of the project, either individually or as part of regular team meetings. 

At the mid point of your probation period I will write to both you and your supervisor, asking that you have a meeting to discuss your personal progress (as distinct from that of the project), considering any additional support that you may need, career opportunities that should be investigated, or issues affecting your own progress within the research (or service).  If any issues which need attention are identified, these should be agreed, with a timetable for implementing/improving them.  Your supervisor will confirm your progress to me and in the unlikely event that there are concerns these will be addressed.  Assuming that there are no problems, I will then check with your supervisor towards the end of your probation period, and if all is going well, will write to you to confirm your appointment.  

Fixed Term Contracts

The majority of research staff are appointed to fixed term contracts which match the funding awarded to the Department for a particular project.  In the Department of Materials we are committed to supporting research staff, and to developing their careers.  Within this context we regularly circulate details of career development courses, opportunities to attend conferences and lectures, and have recently introduced a mentoring scheme.  We have termly lunchtime meetings and encourage postdocs to attend these sessions to meet colleagues from other groups and to hear about their research ideas.  This is a good opportunity to network and the Administrator (Alana) is always happy to take your suggestions for improving these sessions.  Additionally, we seek representatives from the postdoctoral research fellows for committees such as IT where their advice is invaluable. 

New members of research staff are invited to attend the welcome sessions run by the University’s Research Society and further details can be found at These sessions include useful information about the University and how it works as well personnel and careers information. This is a really useful website with lots of information, and I would recommend that you read the information as well as joining the mailing list – and you could even join their Twitter conversation, which is very popular.  In particular you may like to complete the online induction for all new staff to the University - For those of you arriving from overseas there is a helpful website at  Another particularly helpful website can be found at: which has details about pay, holidays and leave, sickness absence, networks and associations, family life and a whole lot more!

In addition the University provides support in the form of courses and workshops which are available from the Institute of Learning (see and the Careers Service (see  Many of these details are included in the weekly departmental newsletter.

Three months before the end of your fixed term contract I will write to you confirming the end date of your contract and to ask if you would like to have a meeting to discuss your plans for the future.  Ahead of this time I will contact your supervisor to see if he or she has any plans for extending your current project or identifying any funding which could extend your employment contract.  If you wish to meet, we can review your options and career plans and we can support you with any application which you make to posts advertised within the University.   At this time I will also expect that your supervisor will be giving you career advice, particularly within the area of research in which you are working.

Whether you have found alternative employment or are still making applications, I will write to you one month before the end of your contract to confirm that your employment will cease on the contract end date, and asking for details of your forwarding address, as well as reminding you to return office keys, clean up the IT on your computer, agree the storage of your research results with your supervisor, and ensuring that you complete drafting any final reports which are required by your project.  You should also take the opportunity to ensure that you leave your lab in a tidy condition, and you are required to dispose of all unwanted chemicals safely.  If necessary you should seek advice on how to do this from our Chemicals and Materials Safety Technician (Mimi Nguyen).  Those who have been employed for 24 months or more who are not moving to another post within the University may be eligible for redundancy payments at the end of a fixed term contract.

Requests for Regrading

The Department of Materials is committed to valuing all the staff who work within it and expects supervisors regularly to review levels of staffing and duties for support and research staff.  Where there has been an increase in the level of responsibility (ie not just the amount of work) there may be a case for requesting review of your current grade.  Any such request should initially be discussed with your supervisor (although you may approach me directly to ask advice).   If, having reviewed your job description, it is clear that the level of responsibility has increased, your supervisor should discuss a request to review your grade with me.  Further information on the regrading procedure is available at  You should discuss the procedure with Alana before attempting to complete the paperwork. 

During this academic year we plan to set up a website of information for current and new members of staff.  In the meantime, the following websites may be useful:

Training and Career Development

There are two schemes which provide career development skills – Springboard for women (see and Navigator for men (see and also  

Mentoring Scheme


In June 2014 the Department launched a mentoring system to provide career support to postdoctoral research staff in the Department, giving access to a member of staff different from their line manager or supervisor.  This gives the postdoc (mentee) the opportunity to discuss how best they can perform in their position, their working environment, career progression and opportunities.  It is not a staff appraisal scheme which would be directed specifically at job performance.

All postdocs are free to choose a mentor from amongst the Department’s academic staff if they wish to seek advice, and should inform Alana Davies when they have chosen a mentor (to ensure that members of academic staff are not overloaded with such requests).  (A full list of all departmental academic staff can be found at:   Prospective mentors can refuse a prospective mentee if there is a specific reason – for instance if they already have a significant burden of mentees.  The relationship can be terminated by either party.

The Administrator (Alana Davies) explains the mentoring system as part of the initial induction session she has with each new member of staff, and this note in the handbook expands on that explanation.  Members of the postdoc community will be reminded at least annually that this option is available.

Once a mentee has chosen a mentor there should be agreement on how the relationship should work and what guidance the mentee seeks.  The mentee should submit a one page cv and the area in which they wish guidance before the initial meeting.  It will then be up to both parties to agree on the number of meetings and the timescale for the discussions.  Mentees should be prepared to carry out any suggested actions and to report back on progress.

We see this as providing postdocs with positive support for their future careers.  We will review the scheme periodically, and as part of this review contact mentors and mentees for feedback on the effectiveness of mentoring for them.


'A mentoring session is a safe and privileged time in which my mentee has permission to concentrate on and talk about herself.' Dr Frances Lannon, Principal, Lady Margaret Hall and Oxford Ad Feminam mentor

Reasons for a mentoring scheme:

  • To provide rounded support to staff in the Department from a different line manager or supervisor.
  • Allows the mentee the opportunity to discuss how best they can perform in their position, their working environment, career progression, fellowship applications and other opportunities.
  • Supports staff in their career progression in general terms. (NB this is not a staff appraisal scheme, which would be directed specifically at job performance).
  • This is a voluntary participation scheme:
  • All eligible staff (PDRA's) will be free to choose a mentor if they wish to at any point during their position;
  • members of staff will be offered this opportunity specifically on appointment and a reminder of the opportunity sent annually thereafter;
  • prospective mentors can refuse a prospective mentee, with specific reason, including if they already have a significant burden of mentees in the Department, and then an alternative mentor should be offered;
  • the relationship can be terminated by either party, with good reason.
  • Reminders, and a record of advisors/advisees will be maintained in the Administrator's office.
  • All members of academic staff have agreed to act as mentors.
  • The scheme will be assessed and reviewed periodically.

Mentoring in practice: advice for mentors and mentees

These guidelines aim to outline the basic ideas and principles of mentoring for those who are embarking on being a mentor or mentee perhaps for the first time. Further guidance on mentoring is available on the OLI website (

What is mentoring?

One useful description is: ‘the practice of supporting an individual through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result.’ This might happen at any point along a scale that has championing or sponsoring someone’s professional progress at one end; providing advice and support arising from the mentor’s seniority and / or greater experience somewhere in the middle; and a more facilitative process at the other end where the mentor or coach listens, questions and challenges the individual to encourage them to find answers and determine actions for themselves.

Because what will happen will be based on the mentee’s individual objectives, a crucial first step in the process is for both parties to set out and agree upon expectations, objectives, and logistical aspects. This ‘contracting’ stage is essential to the success of the mentoring process. 


1. Logistics: You should aim to reach agreement on:
How often and for how long to meet

  • Aim to meet regularly. Consideration should be given to the time restrictions of both parties, particularly the mentor.

How many meetings / how long should the process last?

  • There should be clarity at the beginning about how long the process will continue. You may also want to consider whether to set dates and times for all the meetings at the beginning of the process, or to set each one as you go along.

Where to meet

  • Consider the practicalities of a suitable place to meet. Somewhere neutral might be preferable to the mentor's or the mentee's office. It should provide privacy and be a place where the mentee will feel confident and secure enough to discuss concerns openly. You may also want to consider whether 'meeting' by phone or virtually through something like Skype might be appropriate for you.

Communication between meetings

  • How much communication do you expect between meetings? How will you communicate? – By phone, email, face to face? Discuss and agree each party's preferences. What will happen if one party is unable to make a scheduled meeting?

Keeping records

  • Who will be responsible for keeping a note of what is discussed and actions to be taken? In what format?

2. Content

It is worth thinking about these aspects in preparation for the initial meeting so as to be clear about expectations.


  • What are your objectives for the mentoring? If these are not entirely clear don't worry, but discuss why they may not be clear with your mentor.
  • What do you hope to get from the process? – sponsorship, advice or direction, sharing of your mentor's knowledge, experience and expertise, skills development, personal development, specific goals – something else?
  • What do you hope or expect to get from your mentor in relation to your objectives?
  • How will you know / measure whether objectives have been achieved?
  • Is there anything you do not wish to discuss as part of the mentoring?


  • Are you clear about what the objectives are?
  • What and how much are you able / willing to provide in respect of the mentee's objectives and expectations?
  • How much 'work' are you happy to do for the mentee between meetings?
  • What other boundaries do you have?


  • An understanding of confidentiality is essential to the process being productive. What is your individual understanding of what confidentiality means, and do your ideas align with each other? How will you manage it if they don't?
  • How will you manage things if either of you wishes to end the mentoring relationship before the agreed time?

The Mentoring Process

Very broadly, the mentor is responsible for holding the process and the mentee for working on the content. However this is a flexible definition and the extent to which the dividing line is blurred depends on how the pair have agreed to work together. What is important is that you work to establish a relationship that is based on mutual respect.

What should the mentor do?

  • Hold the process: maintain an awareness of the time; although the conversation will invariably explore many related areas, you should ensure that ultimately the focus stays on the issue in hand, and retains a constructive tone; hold any boundaries that have been agreed
  • Listen actively
  • Adopt an observational stance rather than an interpretive one
  • Summarise and reflect back in your own words what you think you have heard (and seen)
  • Ask questions appropriately
  • Challenge: you might challenge perceived inconsistencies or assumptions in what you are hearing from the mentee; or you might challenge them to take action to stretch themselves. Whatever the reason, it needs to be done sensitively and appropriately so as to open up possibilities rather than to close them down
  • Encourage the mentee to explore a wide range of options and possibilities
  • Provide advice / share expertise and knowledge appropriately and within what has been agreed at the contracting stage
  • Encourage the setting of action points that are specific, realistic and time bound
  • Review progress

What should the mentee do?

  • Own and take responsibility for the content – don't expect the mentor to solve your problems or provide quick fixes. Remain aware that the purpose of mentoring is for you to work on your professional development
  • Be open to developing your self-awareness and to making changes
  • Be open to what the mentor has to say and to their advice; this does not mean you have to agree with it. It does mean you should receive it, reflect upon it and decide later whether you agree and whether to act on it
  • Reflect between sessions on what has been discussed
  • Take the action agreed


However thorough your contracting has been, it is possible that issues will arise that have not been covered by the process – or that take you beyond its boundaries. It is important that you remain open in these circumstances and consider whether it would be appropriate to review and revise the agreement together, or to bring it to an end.

Whether this happens, or when the process comes to its natural end, do ensure that it and the relationship are closed appropriately. This can be done by reviewing and celebrating the progress and achievements made, and considering how the mentee is going to continue to work on their development.

Based on notes by Alison Trinder (MPLS Division), 2012

C. Getting Started

Staff and postdocs in the Department will find that, as employees of the University of Oxford, they have access to a wide range of facilities and opportunities.  Do make the most of them.  The University’s website ( is packed with information and includes a staff Gateway ( with many useful links, as well as on computing facilities (, training courses ( and so on.  The Department’s website ( will also be enormously helpful.  Your first contact when you arrive in the Department will probably be your supervisor or line manager, who interviewed you.  He/she will introduce you to other members of your team, show you round and help you settle in.  As an employee you will also need to make an appointment promptly with the Administrator to arrange your induction: this involves the administrative part of your joining the Department, including getting you on the payroll, registering you for a University pension, and answering any contractual questions you may have.  Please remember to bring with you the appropriate original documents for checking, as well as your bank details.


Good research needs good planning and good preparation

There is a lot to organise and to think about when you start a new research project, particularly if you are new to the Department, to Oxford, and to the UK.  You will need to arrange somewhere to live, to get to know other members of your group, to learn to find your way around Oxford and the Department and to plan your project.  It often takes some weeks or even longer to get established.  You should allow yourself enough time to settle in to the Department and to Oxford.  This time will be well spent and will help avoid problems later.  

Getting to know your research group

Your supervisor or research group leader will introduce you to other members of the group and probably ask one of your colleagues to show you around and to help you settle in.  You will, if possible, be given a desk in a room with other members of your research group, but even if this cannot be achieved, take the trouble to find where they all work – you will find their advice very helpful!

Planning your project

You will have had preliminary – and possibly detailed – discussion with your supervisor or research group leader when you were arranging to come to Oxford.  Your supervisor will now wish you to take time to think carefully about the objectives of the research project.  It will be important to agree an overall plan before deciding on an immediate programme of action, to divide the project up into phases and to consider how long each phase might take.  Your supervisor will probably identify major milestones and set some target dates.  You and your supervisor need to agree the frequency of meetings.


You should discuss with your supervisor the safety aspects of your work, attend a safety induction course and complete a personal risk assessment form.  This is essential before you start any experimental work.  Safety is always the first priority.  Further information is provided in the handbooks on the departmental website: Statement of Safety Organisation and Safety in Laboratories and on the University Safety Office website (  All risk assessments should be sent to Andrew Watt for review.  He will approve, and if there is a problem or query follow these up. Once he has countersigned them, they will be sent to the Administrator’s office for photocopying – the original to be returned to the group leader and the copy filed.  Personal risk assessments will be filed in the relevant personnel file.

It is also good practice for everyone’s safety that all groups ensure that their own labs are cleaned regularly.  Materials will be provided by the Department: contact the Buildings and Facilities Manager (73681) for supplies. 


If you are a research student you will be a member of a College, and you may have a college room.  If you are a postdoctoral research assistant (postdoc) or a visitor to the Department you will need to find your own living accommodation.  You may already have discovered that it can be difficult.  Rented accommodation is relatively expensive in Oxford, as the demand from students and visiting academics is high.  Detailed advice is available from the University accommodation office located at Ewert House, Ewert Place, Banbury Road, Summertown, which also keeps a list of available properties.  They have a good website (, and it may well be worth going to visit them (the office is open from 10.00 am - 12.45 pm and 1.45 – 4.00 pm).  Other worthwhile places to look include the advertisements in the University Gazette, also available on the web at, cards in the windows of newsagents’ shops;; and, of course, members of your group may be able to help.  There are also one or two commercial letting agencies.  These tend to be rather expensive and you may be able to get better value for money if you can find somewhere privately. 

It is often necessary to take quick decisions as to whether you want to rent a particular room.  So it is helpful to have decided in advance what sort of accommodation you are looking for, how much you are prepared and able to pay and for how long you want it.  Think carefully before you make any commitment.  It is a good idea to talk to one of your group first.  If the letting agency needs a letter confirming your status and salary, the Administrator will need your authority to release the information.  If you are paid by the University, it is normally possible to obtain an advance of salary if you need to pay a deposit for accommodation.  (See Alana Davies or Alison Jewitt in good time.)

NB – it is NOT permitted for anyone to sleep in the Department overnight, whatever the reason.  If you are having accommodation problems then you should seek help from either your college or your supervisor.

First contacts in the Department

You will in due course make contact with a lot of people in the Department, including the technicians responsible for facilities that you wish to use.  There is a fuller list towards the end of this booklet.  But to start with, the people you are most likely to want to know (apart from members of your research group) are:

Professor Patrick Grant Head of Department
Dr Adrian Taylor Director of Studies
Professor Andrew Watt Safety Officer
Mrs Alana Davies Administrator
Mr Tim McAree Deputy Administrator (Finance)
Dr Jo Roberts Deputy Administrator (Research and Finance)
Ms Philippa Moss Deputy Administrator (Academic)
Mr Leslie Chorley Buildings and Facilities Manager
Mr Ian Sutton Stores Technician
Dr Paul Warren Senior IT Officer
Mr Rob Saunders IT Support Officer
Mr Chris Akinola IT Support Officer / Photography / Audiovisual
Mrs Alison Jewitt Administrator’s Secretary
Ms Lorraine Laird Head of Department’s Personal Assistant
Mrs Rebecca Bradford General Office
Ms Debbie Townsend General Office
Miss Jane Foxall Reception, Hume-Rothery Building
Mr Barry Fellows Finance Officer (General Office)
Mrs Grace Sewell Librarian
Mrs Marion Beckett Graduate Studies Secretary
Mr Shaun Boyce Begbroke Site Manager


Some practical suggestions

Location: The geography of the Department is confusing!  Take time to find your way around, at least between your laboratory, your office, the library and the common room.  (See also the section on Begbroke).  Most administrative offices are in the Hume-Rothery Building on the central site.

Common Room: Coffee, light refreshments, lunches (to eat in or take away) are available for purchase in the common room (usual hours 8.30 am – 2.00 pm).  Access may be restricted outside normal working hours.  Please put any plates, cups etc. that you use on the trolley for dirty crockery and leave the tables and furniture tidy.

There is a restaurant at Begbroke which everyone in the Department is welcome to use (whether or not they are working at Begbroke).

Keys: You will need a departmental key, available from Jane Foxall in Reception, or from Ian Sutton in Stores.  Note: you will be issued with a key only after a Risk Assessment form has been satisfactorily completed and approved.  Access to all buildings on the central site is by swipe card: your university card will be programmed in the General Office, and in Engineering Reception (the Thom Building) for buildings shared by Engineering and Materials.  At Begbroke you will get a key fob from Shaun Boyce, the facilities manager, who can be contacted via site reception.  You will need your supervisor to approve the issuing and access rights at Begbroke.

Safety: It is extremely important to bear safety in mind at all times and to comply with the relevant Health & Safety procedures.  Read the departmental safety notes (

University card: You will need a card for entry to the EM facility and most departmental buildings, for access to libraries and other University facilities and to enable you to borrow books from the departmental library.  Students should apply to their college for new or replacement cards; research assistants and staff should ask Alison Jewitt, while academic visitors should contact Kay Davies.  Don’t forget to contact either Alison, Kay, or your college in good time if you need a new card.  There is a charge of £10 for lost cards.

Incoming mail: You will be shown the pigeonhole where your post will be put each day.

Email: Email is provided by the central Oxford University IT Services.  When you receive your University Card you will receive by post your Oxford Username and an activation code for registering online at  Department IT staff can help with email queries, including activating new accounts.

Facilities: For information on departmental facilities, read these notes!

Guidance: The best way to get what you need for your research without inconveniencing others is outlined in these notes, but also don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues.

Photographs: Please ask Chris Akinola (ext 73667 or to take your photograph.  This should be done in your first week.  Photographs of all members of the Department are displayed either in the Hume-Rothery building or at Begbroke, depending on where you are based.

Ladies’ toilets: Sanitary products are available from the vending machine in the ladies’ toilets in Hume-Rothery building.

Problems: Ask your colleagues in the group, consult your supervisor or come and see Alana Davies, the Administrator, or Alison Jewitt.


Requirement tick when completed
Risk Assessment  
Obtain key(s)  
University card, with programming for swipe access to buildings  
University SSO account (email)  
Remote Access account (wireless VPN)  
Department account (fileserver printing)  


D. Administrative and Support Staff'}

Departmental Administrator – Alana Davies
( – 73747)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Responsible for the Finance, Personnel Management, Buildings, overall management of support staff and all non-academic activity.  Supports recruitment of non-academic staff, their induction and personnel management.  Serves on Departmental Committee, Departmental Safety Committee, Equality and Diversity Committee and IT Committee.  Ask her advice on any personnel queries, compassionate leave, queries about grant funding, advice on grant applications and practically anything else non-academic not covered elsewhere! 

Deputy Administrator (Finance) – Tim McAree
( – 73722)
Ground Floor, Hume-Rothery Building (behind Reception)
Tim is directly responsible for the financial management of the Department, working with Alana to produce the annual budget and to monitor departmental spend.  Advises budget holders on their cost centre finances, ensures doctoral students receive their maintenance payments.  Liaises between members of the Department and the central purchasing team to obtain value for money, especially within the tendering process.  Also ensures that we work within the financial regulations of the University.  Answers queries on financial policy as well as direct queries on spending.  Supports audits and financial reports, especially to the EC and industrial/TSB funding agencies. 

Deputy Administrator (Research and Finance) – Dr Jo Roberts
( – 73712)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Jo is responsible for grant applications, monitoring research project funding and co-ordinating final expenditure statements when required – in other words all aspects of funded research, as well as supporting the Research Opportunities Group.  Contact her if you’re considering making an application for funding – she can provide the costing and general advice on the funding agencies and will work with academic members of staff supporting the Department’s research policies.  She will also circulate regular financial reports on research project budgets.  She assists the Departmental Administrator in serving on recruitment committees.

Administrator’s Secretary – Alison Jewitt
( – 73666)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Responsible for supporting the personnel management within the Department, producing contracts of employment (and extensions), applying for work visas, maintaining leave record cards and recording sickness absence.  Processes main payroll and requests for overtime payments.  Also manages the annual car parking permit exercise.  Tell her if you move address, change bank details or need a new University card.  Ask her for references for property rentals, letters confirming your employment status etc. 

Director of Studies – Dr Adrian Taylor
( – 83227)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Responsible to the Head of Department for all aspects of the academic administration in the Department, Adrian’s principal academic roles are Director of Graduate Students, UG Admissions Co-ordinator, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Chairman of Teaching Committee and Chairman of Faculty.
Supported by the Graduate Studies Secretary, Adrian oversees recruitment, admissions, funded studentships, progression, feedback, teaching and other on-course provision for our research students. For Undergraduates, supported by the Deputy Administrator (Academic) and our Practical Classes Technician, he oversees the Department’s teaching for our UG programmes (including co-ordinating teaching opportunities for research students and postdocs, team design projects, and UG summer placements and overseas exchanges).  As UG Admissions Coordinator, he organises the Materials UG admissions process and, supported by our Schools Liaison Team, oversees our schools outreach & UG recruitment activities. Serves on several University, divisional and departmental committees, and is secretary to the Faculty of Materials Committee.

Deputy Administrator (Academic) – Philippa Moss
( – 73750)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building (shares an office with Deputy Administrator (R&F – see above)
Responsible to the Director of Studies for all aspects of the Department’s provision for our undergraduate students, including timetabling and administrative support for the Examiners and support for the E(M)EM Standing Committee, JCCU and Tutors’ Committees.  Together with her assistant, Emma, she is the first point of contact for queries relating to our undergraduate teaching. 

Assistant to Deputy Administrator (Academic) – Emma Purves
(– 73703)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Additional point of contact for queries relating to undergraduate teaching; in particular, those regarding the practical lab arrangements and Part II administration. 

Graduate Studies Secretary and Personal Assistant to Director of Studies – Marion Beckett
( – 83226)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
First point of contact for queries relating to our research degrees (admissions, on course provision and progression requirements).  Contact Marion with regard to Recognised Student visitors.

Schools Liaison and Access Officers - Jayne Shaw and David Hutton
(, – 73710)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Jayne and David lead our proactive outreach programme which includes visits to schools, pupil visits to the Department, lectures, open days and so on. Supported by Kay Davies, they are the first point of contact for queries from prospective UG students, schools and pupils who wish to engage with our outreach activities and teachers who wish to engage with our CPD activities. 

Personal Assistant to the Head of Department – Lorraine Laird
( – 73737)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Lorraine provides secretarial support to the Head of Department (Professor Patrick Grant) and his group.  Contact her if you wish to make an appointment to see Patrick.  As well as supporting all the many and varied responsibilities of the Head of Department, she is also responsible for arranging major lectures in the Department, colloquia, departmental events and student prizes, and producing the weekly newsletter.

Visitors Officer and Schools Liaison Admin – Kay Davies
( – 73682)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Kay supports Academic Visitors to the Department, ensuring that the necessary documentation is completed before their arrival ( - and follow the advice contained in the ‘v’ documentation).  Contact her if you wish to request permission to host an academic visitor, or have any queries in this area.  She also supports Schools Liaison and outreach activities working with Jayne Shaw.

Finance Officer – Barry Fellows
( – 73702)
Ground Floor, Hume-Rothery Building (at the back of Reception)
As Finance Officer Barry ensures that our bills are paid promptly, purchase orders are raised correctly and in a timely fashion, and that your expenses are processed quickly – just so long as you give him all the right information and your requests comply with the financial regulations.  Check with him early on in your stay in the Department if you have questions on how to make a claim before you go to a conference, or need to buy consumables or equipment.  Our Department is part of a large organisation, and our finance processes can inevitably take time – however Barry will ensure that all your requests are dealt with efficiently.  Contact him for queries on expenses claims and orders, your maintenance payments etc. He also liaises with suppliers if there are problems with goods supplied, delays in supplying goods, or queries on their invoices.

Receptionist – Jane Foxall
( – 73777)
Ground Floor, Hume-Rothery Building, in Reception
Jane is the welcoming face in our Department.  As well as meeting and greeting visitors, sorting out car parking spaces outside the Department (if needed book these well in advance) and answering many and varied queries from the students – if she doesn’t know the answer, she will certainly know who will.Jane also supports Barry, inputting invoices and other information into the Oracle Financial System and assists with general finance queries. Contact her for booking meeting rooms, lecture theatres and car parking spaces, setting up access to departmental buildings via the swipe card system, issuing keys, processing the post and a myriad of other activities.

Senior Administrative Assistant – Rebecca Bradford
( – 73706)
Senior Administrative Assistant – Debbie Townsend
( – 73680)
Ground Floor, Hume-Rothery Building, in Reception
Rebecca and Debbie split their time between supporting the finance system (supporting the process for ordering goods and services, raising invoices, etc) and the recruitment process for all non-academic staff.  If you’ve applied for a post here you will remember that they were available to advise on arrangements for your interview, ensuring your expenses were paid, and checking on your documentation proving your identity and right to work in the UK – or asking for your Skype details and receiving your electronic presentation for interviews carried out over the internet.   Contact them for queries regarding your orders.  They also cover reception when Jane is on holiday, at lunch, or otherwise not available.  They also answer queries when Barry Fellows is away.

Finance Officer (Begbroke) - Julie Page
( – 83777)
Hirsch Building, Begbroke Science Park
Julie works part-time supporting financial activities at Begbroke, mainly for Begbroke Nano and commercial service activities.  She also provides administrative support for OMCS.

Stores – Ian Sutton
( – 73691)
Ground Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Ian manages the departmental Stores and Goods Received.  He publishes a stores catalogue (available at together with information on how the process works and the opening hours), regularly reviews our stock list and welcomes suggestions for items which should be included.  As part of his goods received duties, he also signs for, checks and inspects all parcels, orders and deliveries you may have placed and notifies you when they are ready to collect.  When he is on holiday Mimi Nguyen covers the issuing of items from Stores. 

Safety Officer - Professor Andrew Watt
( – 13455)
IAT Building, Begbroke Science Park
Andrew leads his own group specializing in solar cell research based out at Begbroke.  He is also our Departmental Safety Officer and his duties include monitoring safety generally, especially in experimental research.  He leads the Department Safety Committee and Departmental Laboratory Safety Forum, liaises with the University’s Safety Office, advises groups on improvements in their safety, and investigates any accidents which are reported as well as advertising relevant safety courses.  He gives a termly Safety and Security Lecture to all new members of the Department (students, visitors and postdocs).  All new members of the Department are required to complete a risk assessment of their activities that is submitted to Andrew.  Those undertaking experimental research are also required to complete regular COSHH and risk assessments.  Contact Andrew if you have any queries in these areas.  Andrew leads an annual inspection of all the laboratories within the Department.

Chemicals Safety Technician – Dr Mimi Tho Nguyen
( – 83337)
Ground Floor, 21 Banbury Road
Mimi provides technical support for areas of the Department where chemical processing or handling is of key importance.  She ensures that chemicals are acquired, stored, used and disposed of safely and efficiently, assists with undergraduate teaching laboratory classes and is a member of the Department’s Safety Committee and Departmental Laboratory Safety Forum.

IT Support Group
Ground Floor, ETB
Requests for IT support should be emailed to or made in person by visiting the IT Support Area.  Our team of four staff endeavours to provide support for all aspects of computing, in addition to maintaining the Department’s IT infrastructure and facilities. More information and advice about IT facilities and procedures can be found under  and also later in this handbook.

Head of IT – Dr Paul Warren
( or – 73727)
Paul leads the IT team and is responsible for the implementation, delivery and security of IT within the Department, including both Begbroke and Oxford sites.  He liaises closely with groups regarding their needs, ensures that we have a secure network and advises on all orders for computer equipment before they are made. 

IT Support Staff – Rob Saunders
( or – 73930)
As a member of the IT team, Rob is responsible for the Teaching and Administrative computer systems and the Department’s server infrastructure.

IT Support Staff - currently vacant
This member of the IT team is principally responsible for the supply and support of our network. 

IT Support Staff - Chris Akinola
( or – 73667)
As a member of the IT team, Chris is usually the first line of response to queries raised with the helpdesk and via the ‘itsupport’ email address.  He also helps with printer and hardware problems as well as acting as the Departmental Photographer.

Librarian – Grace Sewell
( – 73697)
First Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
Grace is the Department’s part-time Librarian (check out details at  She manages both the books held physically in the library and online subscriptions to journals.

Buildings and Facilities Manager – Mr Les Chorley
( - 73681 or via Reception)
Second Floor, Hume-Rothery Building
The B&FM manages all buildings and their facilities on the Oxford site, liaising as necessary with the University’s Estates Services team.  Contact Les for instance if you find a broken chair, need a replacement desk, discover a plumbing leak, or need to discuss installing or moving equipment.  The Buildings Support team ensures that the Department is well maintained and secure.  Les leads the ‘call out’ team for out-of-hours emergencies and is a member of the Safety Committee.

Shaun Boyce ( – 83724) carries out the equivalent role at the Begbroke site, which is run by the Begbroke Directorate. 

Plumbing Technician, Building Support Team - Dave King
( – 73744)
Carpenter, Building Support Team - Paul Hooper
( – 73744)
Workshop, Basement, 21 Banbury Road
Dave and Paul support the Buildings and Facilities Manager in providing general maintenance in the Department.  

Electrical Testing Technician - Ashley Brown
( – 73756)
Ground Floor, 21 Banbury Road
Ashley’s duties are dedicated to testing all the electrical equipment within the Department on an annual basis.  He will give advanced warning when planning to visit your lab or office, asking that all equipment is easily accessible for his testing.  He also supports equipment disposals – so tell him when you are planning to remove an item of equipment from the Department either for disposal or on loan, as these events need to be registered on our departmental equipment register.  Ashley also looks after all the M&E planned programmes within the Materials Department, and any electrical problems on site.

EM Facility Manager - Dr Neil Young
( – 73655)
Second Floor, Holder Building
Neil leads the research support and technical staff in the David Cockayne Centre for Electron Microscopy. See for full information on the facility. He oversees user access and training in electron microscopy and manages the post-graduate level lecture courses and practical user training modules. He is a member of the Department’s Safety Committee. 

FIB Support Scientist - Dr Gareth Hughes
Second Floor, Holder Building
Gareth is the research support scientist for focused ion-beam microscopy (FIB).  He manages user access to the Department’s three FIB instruments and conducts training and research support duties within this area.

Gabriella Chapman
( – 83727)
Hirsch Building, Begbroke Science Park
Gabriella is the research support scientist for scanning electron microscopy (SEM).  She manages user access to the Department’s SEM instrumentation and conducts training and research support duties within this area of microscopy and associated analytical techniques.

Greg Cook
( – 83727)
Hirsch Building, Begbroke Science Park
Greg is the senior electron microscope engineer within the Technical Support Group.  Greg is your first port of call when you are having technical issues with any of the microscopes based at the Begbroke Science Park.

Graham Wyatt
( – 83229)
Second Floor, Holder Building
Graham is the Technical Support Group’s specialist in electronics, Grahams’ engineering skills are your first port of call when it comes to do with anything with computers or IT issues within the microscope facility, including at Begbroke.

Electron Microscopy Research Support Assistant– Jennifer Holter
( – 73701)
Second Floor, Holder Building
Jennifer provides training and service support to SEM and TEM users within the Department, working alongside the EM support scientists.  Jennifer also provides assistance to researchers wishing to use the EM sample preparation equipment.

OMCS Manager and Surface Analysis Support Scientist - Dr Colin Johnston and Dr Alison Crossley
( – 83705, - 83726)
Hirsch Building, Begbroke Science Park
Colin manages the Materials Department Industry Characterisation and Analysis Service ( with Alison Crossley and they provide advice and training in the use and application of surface analysis techniques (e.g. XPS and AFM) for students and other researchers.   

OMCS Member and Microstructural Characterisation EPMA & SEM Support Scientist - Chris Salter
( – 83722 or 83741)
As well as being part of the OMCS team providing services to industry, Chris provides advice and training in microscopic and microstructural characterisation methods (e.g. metallography, sample preparation, OM, SEM and EPMA).

OMCS Member and TEM Support Scientist - Dr Kerstin Jurkschat
( – 83740)
As well as being part of the OMCS team providing services to industry, Kerstin provides advice and training in TEM and particle characterisation.

OMCS Member and XRD Support Scientist - Dr Phil Holdway
( - 83728)
As well as being part of the OMCS team providing services to industry, Phil provides advice and training in XRD. 

OMCS Member and Materials Processing, Metallurgy and Microscopy Support Scientist - Dr Andrew Lui
( – 83743)
As well as being part of the OMCS team providing services to industry, Andrew provides help with metals processing and advice and training in metallurgy and microscopy. 

OMCS Member and SEM and Thermal Analysis Support Scientist - Dr Susan Warren
( – 83745)
As well as being part of the OMCS team providing services to industry, Susan provides advice and training in Thermal Analysis methods.

OMCS/Keysight Showcase Laboratory Analyst – Miss Nicola Flanagan
( – 83745)
Nicola joined the OMCS team in September and provides support in the area of SEM and AFM, while also working with Keysight to showcase and demonstrate their state of the art characterisation equipment.

Industry Outreach and Molecular Spectroscopy Support Scientist - Dr Colin Johnston
( – 83705)
As well as working with the Materials Knowledge Transfer Network and helping the OMCS team provide services to industry, Colin provides advice and training in molecular spectroscopies (e.g. Raman, FTIR and UV/VIS).

Technical Laboratory Manager - Centre for Applied Superconductivity – Dr Clara Barker
( – 73709 or 83767)
Basement, Engineering Technology Building
Clara is responsible for setting up, operating and safely maintaining the new departmental Centre for Applied Superconductivity facility which includes XRD equipment, furnaces and other specialist vacuum equipment.  She provides a service to all the partners in the Superconductivity project, assisting with training and practical supervision of all users of the facility, including visitors, students and other researchers.  She is also responsible for designing and construction new specialist equipment.

Apprentice – Centre for Applied Superconductivity – Robert Gresham
Basement Engineering Technology Building
Robert started his four-year apprenticeship in September 2015 and will be working with Clara in the Centre for Applied Superconductivity Laboratory.

Teaching Laboratory Technician - Paula Topping
( – 73658)
Second Floor, Holder Building
Responsible for the planning, organisation, scheduling and implementation of the Department’s laboratory teaching commitments.  Paula also supports demonstrations held during Open Days, and other schools outreach activities.  She is a member of the Department’s Safety Committee.

Workshops Technician - Laurie Walton
( – 73687)
Basement, Hume-Rothery Building
Laurie manages the main and teaching workshops, and controls the machines available for use within them.  He arranges teaching sessions on how to use the equipment safely and monitors the users.  The main workshop based in 179:00:22 is the main manufacture and repair facility for this Department.  It is a General Engineering environment containing many and varied types of tools and machinery to assist the members of this Department.  We have Lathes, Milling Machines, Drills, Grinders and a variety of cutting and sampling saws.  We also supply materials from stock or special order and maintain the oil supply for vacuum pumps and other machinery around this Department.  This is not the sum of our activities and all enquiries regarding the Workshop facilities are welcome.  Laurie is a member of the Department’s Safety Committee. 

Peter Flaxman ( – 73664)
works alongside Laurie (Tuesday to Thursday) specialising in microscope repairs and small microscope stages.

Furnaces and Heat Treatment - Tony Wheeler
( – 73740)
Basement, Hume-Rothery Building
Tony is our expert in the management of furnaces and various heat treatments, and he is responsible for the maintenance and day-to-day running of the equipment in his workshop, and advises groups on the use of the furnaces located within their laboratories.

Vacuum Polymer Webcoater Technician and General Support Technician for Materials at Begbroke - Richard Turner
( – 83717)
Hirsch Building, Begbroke Science Park
Richard provides technical support for Professor Hazel Assender’s webcoating facility and instruction, training and supervision/support for users of the instrument.  He also provides general technical support to groups working in the Hirsch Building, as well as assisting with the maintenance and operation of the Department’s analytical facilities, including OMCS.

Clean Room Technician – Radka Chakalova
( – 83750)
Christian Building, Begbroke Science Park
Radka provides technical support and services for the Department’s Clean Room, giving instruction and supervision for users, both from within the University and external commercial customers.  She carries out specialist fabrication of advance devices and structures to support research projects.

Senior Technician Spray Forming - Robin Vincent
( – 83743)
Advanced Processing Laboratory, Begbroke Science Park
Robin works closely with Professor Patrick Grant and Professor Keyna O’Reilly and other groups based at the Begbroke site specializing in supporting spray forming, plasma spray, hot pressing and squeeze casting equipment.

E. Departmental Facilities


1. The Department has a small but important library in the Hume-Rothery Building, comprising books and periodicals covering the major topics in Materials Science and access to many more publications in electronic format.  Most researchers find it a very helpful, accessible and easy-to use service.  New users are required to complete a registration form.  Please introduce yourself to our Librarian, Grace Sewell, at the earliest possible opportunity, and let her show you where things are.  If you need assistance, she will usually be in the library office Mondays 10:30 – 14:30, Tuesday – Thursdays 13:30 – 15:30 during term.  Vacation times will be posted on the library door.

2. SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries) is the main search engine for library collections.  It offers a one-stop search for accessing Oxford’s main library information resources. These include OLIS (Oxford’s Union catalogue of printed and electronic books; ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) OxLIP+; OU e-journals.  The library is part of the Oxford Libraries Information System (OLIS) and all new acquisitions are entered.  There are two computers that give access to SOLO services in the library, each with a user guide beside it.

3. The library is currently open 24 hours a day, although it may be necessary to restrict access if books and journals are taken away without authorisation.  Notes on the use of the library are displayed prominently.  It is essential that everyone who uses the library respects the needs of other users, present and potential.  In particular please:

  • Never take a book or a periodical out of the library without entering it as a loan on the computer outside the library office. (The OLIS system is easy to use – you will need a University card.
  • Do not borrow books which are marked with a yellow band on the spine – these are restricted for use in the library.
  • Return all loans promptly.
  • Answer any communication from the Librarian immediately.
  • Look after all books and materials.
  • There must be no eating or drinking in the library.

From time to time books and journals disappear from the library.  Taking books without registration is (a) theft and (b) highly inconvenient to other users.  Sometimes people take a book away intending to look something up and to return it immediately.  When they are distracted, they can fail to return it.  Therefore the rule about not taking books/periodicals out without registering them is absolute - for everyone.  “Never” means “never”.  

Inter-Library Loans

If it is necessary to request an Interlibrary Loan through the Radcliffe Science Library then a voucher can be obtained from the Librarian. 

Radcliffe Science Library

The RSL is the central science library of Oxford University and contains a world-class collection of books and periodicals.  Some items from the collection will be available for loan.  If you want to photocopy articles at the RSL, you will need an account.  Please check with your Group if a Group facility has been set-up.  If not, please speak to the Finance Officer, Barry Fellows, in the General Office.


The Department has two lecture theatres:

  • in the Hume-Rothery Building (ground floor, beside the General Office);
  • in 21 Banbury Road (ground floor);
  • and we also have access to LR8 in the Information Engineering Building on term-time mornings.

For meetings and seminars we have four rooms on the central site:

  • 21 Banbury Road committee room (first floor, towards the back of the building);
  • ETB Wolfson Meeting Room (first floor, room 20.30);
  • 12/13 Parks Road Meeting Room (first floor, room 30.07);
  • Hume-Rothery Building (ground floor, beside the General Office)
  • Rex Richards Building (MML meeting room; PGB conference room).

The Common Room in Holder Building, shared with the Engineering Science Department, can also be used in the evenings, by arrangement with the Administrator.  Bookings should be made at least one week in advance and there may be a charge for some activities.  Please contact Jane Foxall initially.  Access is restricted out of working hours; see EM user request form at

All room bookings can be viewed on-line at  However, please note that all meeting rooms, lecture rooms and the Common Room must be booked through Reception.

Most rooms have permanent IT/AV facilities; however additional equipment (such as portable data projectors and laptops) can be booked with IT ( or telephone 73667.

At Begbroke, Materials has one meeting room: the Yarnton Room (capacity 8 people).  Four more are managed by the Begbroke Directorate: the Woodstock Room (8 people), Bladon Room (5 people) Oxford Room (40 people) and Blenheim Room (for which a charge may be made) (70 people).  All these can be booked through Begbroke reception (ext 83700).


Workshop Technician in charge Location
Main and Supervised (mechanical) Laurie Walton H-R Building – basement
Heat Treatment Tony Wheeler H-R Building – bement

Main and Supervised Workshop

This workshop produces a wide range of equipment used in the manufacture of components used in experiments.  Members of the Department are encouraged to use this facility.  Please discuss your requirements with Laurie Walton.  If demand is particularly heavy it may be necessary to contract work out to local firms.  Laurie Walton will arrange this in consultation with research group supervisors.  Members of the Department should not contract work out themselves.

The workshop is supervised and open to all members of the Department to use under Laurie Walton’s supervision, but before doing so you must complete a safety course.  These are organised regularly and notified by email.  Good working practice in any workshop is essential for safety, and for the convenience of others.  In order to sign out materials from Workshop stock, or to have work done for you by Workshop staff, you will need to complete an order form with a project or cost code.  You should discuss with your supervisor which code to use for a particular job.

Submitting jobs to workshops

If you would like assistance from the workshops, please consult the technician in charge.  He or she is responsible for scheduling work, and keeps a list of jobs requested.  Jobs will normally be undertaken in the order in which they are received.  Some tasks can be carried out on the same or the next day; others will take longer, depending on the work involved.  The technicians should be able to give you a broad idea of how long jobs may take.

We encourage all members of the Department to make their own equipment or samples; workshop skills are useful for everyone from students to professors.

If possible each job should be described in writing, and accompanied by well-drawn diagrams, indicating all relevant dimensions.  The technicians will usually be able to give you advice on designing, constructing or repairing equipment.  Do not attempt to make electronic repairs which require specialist skills.  In the past trivial faults have been aggravated by ill-informed attempts to repair them.

The workshops in the Department of Physics can provide technical support in their workshops for areas not covered by the Materials team.  Always ensure that you get a full quotation for any work you wish them to undertake and that a purchase order is raised via the finance team.  This includes orders for Helium.

The Main Stores

The central stores in the Hume-Rothery Building stock a wide range of basic items, including:

electronic and electrical components glassware
razor blades, scalpel blades chemicals
metallographic materials gas cylinders
polishing discs, mounting resins stationery

For a full catalogue of all goods stocked in the Main Stores, along with an order form to complete and bring to stores, visit

The stores are open Mondays to Fridays at the following times:
9.00 am - 11.00 am
11.15 am - 1.00 pm
2.00 pm - 3.45 pm (3.30 pm on Fridays)

The Department stocks ethanol alcohol as part of its chemical and solvents range. This is purchased duty free from our suppliers.  As such you will be required to complete an Alcohol Issue Form stating the quantity required, your signature, the signature of your supervisor or authorised technician if required.  This is a legal requirement to conform to current duty laws in this country. The form can be found by visiting  Solvents (including ethanol) for use at Begbroke must be obtained through Begbroke stores or direct from the supplier, if necessary, and delivered to Begbroke.  On no account should any chemicals or solvents be transported from the Main Stores in Hume-Rothery Building to Begbroke.

Stores at Begbroke

Stores facilities at Begbroke are located in the Christian Building, where the minibus service drops and collects.  It contains very basic items and also serves as goods-inwards.  The opening times are 8.00am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday.  The stores are not permanently manned but there is a button on the counter linked to the reception to call for assistance.  The stores also serve as the internal post drop and collection point.  See Main Stores section for information on solvents and chemicals.

Other Stores

The workshops hold stocks of screws, nuts and bolts, silver steel and hand tools as well as standard metal bar, rod and sheet.  The electronics workshop has supplies of electrical and electronic consumables for most laboratory equipment.  IT Support keeps supplies of many standard components and computer accessories, as well as standard desktop computers and laser printers.

Electron Microscopes

The Department runs the David Cockayne Centre for Electron Microscopy which houses a wide range of high quality electron microscopes. The main ones are shown in the table below.  Most of them are available for general use but users must be approved to operate any particular instrument.  




General use?

Booking arrangements

Scanning Electron Microscopes

Zeiss EVO MA10


Imaging, Variable pressure



Zeiss Mertin (I)


FEG, high res EBSD


Via Angus Wilkinson

Zeiss Merlin (II)


FEG, Analytical, low energy EDS, Vacuum transfer


Via Peter Bruce / EM Facility

JSM 5510LV


Imaging, Low Vacuum, micro-analysis



JSM 6500F


FEG, EBSD, micro-analysis CL, HR scanning



JSM 840A


Imaging, microanalysis, EBSD



JSM 840F


Low-voltage use



JSM 6480LV


EDS, WDS, EBSD, Low Vacuum



Transmission Electron Microscopes

JEM 2100

Holder Analytical TEM, STEM, EDS, low-KV Yes Electronic

JEM 2010


Analytical TEM and HREM




Holder Cold-FEG aberration corrected STEM, EELS, EDS, low-KV Some1 Electronic

JEM 3000


FEG TEM/STEM-Imaging Filter



JEM 2000FX (Begbroke)


Analytical TEM STEM





FEG, aberration corrected, TEM, STEM, microanalysis


Via Angus Kirkland




Quantitative microprobe



Focussed Ion Beam Instruments



Nano machining, TEM specimen prep



Zeiss NVision NV40


FEGSEM with FIB and nanomanipulators



Zeiss Auriga


FEGSEM with FIB and advanced patterning



1 You will need to make a case for your proposed use; special training may be needed.

Training is provided by the research support staff working within the David Cockayne Centre for Electron Microscopy.  Applications to use the facility should be made via the EM access request form and signed off by research group leaders before submission.  The form may be found online here:  New researchers will normally have to attend training in SEM, TEM or FIB if they wish to use these instruments, in addition to relevant post-graduate lecture courses in EM which take place in Michaelmas and Hilary terms.  For advice on access to electron microscopy contact one of the EM research support team or  Only approved users may book time on the microscopes in accordance with the booking rules for that particular machine.  Booking for most instruments can be done electronically via the link on the EM group webpage. This year a new booking system called iLab Core Facility Management has been introduced.  Instrument booking is based on an online-calendar system, with separate calendars for each instrument. Users are organised into research groups with usage monitored and reported to group leaders on a regular basis.  Only approved users of EMs will have access to the booking calendars for individual instruments. Full details of booking arrangements can be found on the EM group website or, if in doubt, discuss with Neil Young.

Optical Microscopes

Six optical microscopes (two Olympus Bx60M and 4 Zeiss Axioskop 2 MAT each fitted with Axiocam digital colour cameras, software for image analysis and monitor display units) are available in the Teaching Lab during term-time mornings only.  Contact Paula Topping to arrange use.

X-ray Diffraction

The Department has two new X-ray Diffraction instruments arriving in October/November.  The first is a Rigaku MiniFlex for general use and will be located in the undergraduate teaching labs.  It is suitable for basic theta-theta phase analysis.  The second instrument is a Panalytical Empyrean for more advanced phase analysis in theta-theta geometry and is also equipped with 3-axis cradle for texture analysis.  This will be located within the new Centre for Applied Superconductivity laboratory in the ETB building. All requests to use these facilities should be directed to either Professor Chris Grovenor ( or Dr Susie Speller (  There are also phase and thin film diffractometers at Begbroke.  Dr Colin Johnston, Manager of the Oxford Materials Characterisation Service (OMCS) is the point of contact for these facilities.  Two lectures on X-ray analysis techniques are given each year at the start of Michaelmas Term which all new users should attend; see the appropriate Lecture List for details.  In addition, for safety reasons all new X-ray users are required to register and must attend the ionising radiation safety lecture run by the Safety Office in Michaelmas Term (details will be advertised in advance).

Oxford University Begbroke Science Park (OUBSP)

The Department occupies over 3500m2 at the OUBSP.  This includes the Hirsch and Christian buildings, named after Professor Sir Peter Hirsch and Professor Jack Christian, as well as some space in the Institute of Advanced Technology (IAT).  Other buildings on the site are occupied by commercial start-up companies, mostly ‘spin-offs’ from the University. 

The site is managed by the Begbroke Directorate who are based in the Farmhouse and Christian Building.  For contact details and further information either visit Reception or call (2)83700.

The Materials space of the Begbroke site is an integral part of the Department, on the same telephone and ethernet networks.  Minibuses run a departmental service Monday to Friday between around 8 am and 7.30 pm.  Up-to-date timetables for the current service are posted on departmental notice boards and on-line at  The journey takes approximately 15 – 20 minutes.  Please note that eating and drinking are not allowed on the bus, chemicals may not be carried and there is no room for luggage or bulky equipment. There is also a tracking system which can be found at which shows the real time location of the buses.

There is an excellent restaurant on site which all members of the Department are welcome to use.  Lunch is available from 12.00 – 1.30pm.

If you plan to work after 6.30 pm, you should alert Safe Shield Services on 01865 854865, for your own security.  The Hirsch Building is locked every evening at 10 pm.  In the unlikely event that you need to work in that building after that time, you should phone SSS by 9.30 pm and they will then delay locking the building until you have finished.  Failure to do this will incur additional costs to the Department.  The locking service is included in the payments which the Department has to make for the SSS services, but if their personnel have to be called out to relock the Hirsch Building after 10 pm we incur an additional £45 for each extra visit to the building.

Departmental Computer Room (Teaching Laboratory, Holder Building)

There are twelve machines in the Teaching Laboratory Computer Room primarily for undergraduate use, although they may be used by research students and staff.  There are also two printers and a scanner.  Software available includes Microsoft Office plus standard internet and utility packages.  There are also several more specialist software packages including Matlab, Mathematica and Origin.  You need to use your Departmental account and password to access these computers.  The network may be used in the evenings and at weekends by borrowing a key from Reception – and make sure your University card is programmed for out-of-hours access to Holder Building.

Departmental Digital Printroom (ETB room 10.16)

The Digital Printroom provides printing and scanning facilities. Equipment available includes:

  • Two desktop computers running Windows and software to cover most needs
  • HP P2055dn mono laser printer (default printer, duplex)
  • HP 5550 colour laser printer (colour, duplex, A4/A3)
  • Epson Perfection 4990 flatbed scanner
  • Laminating machine A4/A3 (consumables available from IT staff)
  • Ring Binding machine (available, with consumables, from IT staff)

There is a thermal binding machine in Reception (consumables available from Stores).

Materials Modelling Laboratory (Rex Richards Building)

The  Materials  Modelling  Laboratory  contains  approximately  twenty  linux  workstations  and three linux clusters ( ‘Landau’ 19xDualQuadcoreGigE=152q; ‘Kittel’ 36xDualQuadcoreInfiniband=288q; ‘Ironman’ 36xDualQuadcoreInfiniband=288q).  Local or remote users can submit jobs to the cluster batch queuing systems.  Current modelling ranges from ab-initio modelling of atomistic and electronic structures to finite element method modelling of heat and mass transport during processing.  Contact the MML Manager, Paul Warren, for further information.  (See also

IT services

Get started at and

IT Rules and Regulations

The university network is an important piece of infrastructure, which everyone uses. The network is provided for everyone's benefit for bona fide academic purposes, therefore there are a number of conditions for the use of the network summarised in Appendix A on page 44. You are expected to have read the rules and to adhere to the rules. The procedure for disciplining students who breach IT rules is explained in Appendix B on page 45, while the procedure for disciplining University staff is in the University Statutes. (

Oxford University IT services

The Oxford University IT Services website contains comprehensive information about all aspects of IT within the University, and should be the primary source of information.  All members of the Department can also use the IT help centre which is open from 08.30 until 20.30 each weekday and is conveniently located nearby at 7-19 Banbury Road. You will need to show your University Card to prove entitlement to support.  Oxford University IT Services include:

  • Single Sign On (SSO) Account
  • Email (see section below)
  • Backup of personal computers
  • Oxford Wireless Networks Eduroam and OWL
  • Training courses on all aspects of computing
  • Centralized software retail via the on-line IT Shop
  • PC maintenance and PC advisory schemes

University Account

All new University members have a Single Sign-On (SSO) account created for them automatically when their University card is issued. The username and activation code is sent by University messenger post to their college or departmental address. Users should activate their username at Department IT staff can help with activation problems.

University Remote Access Account

In addition to your SSO account, a separate Remote Access account is required for wireless networking and for Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections to the university network. Your Remote Access account can be set up via

University Email (see also general information on page 35)

Your university email can be accessed from anywhere via the web at using your SSO account. Alternatively you can configure your computer or smartphone to check your email using email client software such as Outlook, Thunderbird or MacMail. See for full details about email.

University Backup

All computers on the university network can be registered for automatic backup service provided by IT Services.  All members of the Department are strongly advised to have a regular (e.g. weekly) computer backup strategy and a regular (e.g. annual) computer archive strategy.  Please read the full instructions available on-line at  Part II students are not eligible for TSM backup and need to make other arrangements.

University wireless network

The Eduroam wireless network is widely available across the whole University, mainly in open-access areas like common rooms, libraries and lecture theatres. Eduroam is an internationally available service. See

Department IT support services

Four departmental IT staff, Dr Paul Warren, Mr Rob Saunders, vacant position and Mr Chris Akinola, support Department facilities, research group facilities and individuals. Please send all requests for support by email to (one request per message and please include sufficient details, e.g. name of computer, location). IT staff prioritize support requests according to the IT support policy Department IT services include:

  • Department wired network
  • Department account
  • Department file server
  • Scanning and Printing
  • Personal computing facilities
  • Specialist computing facilities
  • Equipment loans
  • Publicity support

Department wired network

The University wireless network is provided for the convenience of visitors and users roaming around the University. However people regularly working within the Department should use the Department wired network which gives better bandwidth and allows access to resources restricted to this Department. All devices connecting to the Department network must first be physically checked and registered by Department IT staff. Contact or bring your device to the IT support area in ETB room 10.14..

Departmental Account

All members of Department also have a departmental account with the same username as university account but different password. The departmental account is required to access the departmental fileservers, photocopiers and iPrint printers.  Accounts are distributed as part of student induction or are emailed to new staff and visitors. See

Department File Server

All members of Department can access central file storage on the Department file server which is backed-up nightly. See 

Scanning and printing

For most purposes, the scanning and printing facilities that you need will be available within your research group.  Most groups have network printers available via the iPrint system requiring authentication using your Department account. For more information please see

If you do not have access to suitable facilities, or you need printing to a higher quality, there are scanning and printing facilities available the Departmental Computer Room and in the Digital Printroom. High quality and large format printing facilities are also available within IT Services and within the Physics Department, including colour poster printing up to A0 size.  If you need to use the external facilities, discuss your requirements with Department IT staff.


The main departmental photocopier is by the General Office in the Hume-Rothery building where there are also staplers, a simple binding machine, and a bench for collating and putting documents together. There are additional photocopiers in 12/13 Parks Road, 21 Banbury Road, Holder Building, Rex Richards building and level 50 in the Engineering Technology Building.  At Begbroke there is a photocopier for general use in the Hirsch building.

Departmental photocopiers require authentication using your University card. Any problems with authentication should be reported to Department IT staff.  You must always adhere to the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency which are displayed by each photocopier.  Extensive copying of journal articles and book chapters should not be undertaken.  Private photocopying has to be paid for.

Personal computing facilities

Computing facilities (e.g. desktops/laptops/printers) are provided independently by each group. Because different research groups have different computation requirements, computer provision varies across the Department.  The Department provides some central computing facilities in the form of the Departmental Computer Network in the Teaching Laboratory, and the Digital Printroom (ETB room 10.16) beside the IT support area (ETB room 10.14). If your find local computing facilities limiting first talk to your supervisor then talk to Department IT staff.

Specialist computing facilities

Oxford University IT Services provide general purpose UNIX accounts accessible via ssh to using the same login details as your email account (pre-activate your account via  High-end computing facilities are available both in the Department's world-leading Materials Modelling Laboratory and in the University Advanced Research Centre  Contact Department IT support staff for advice if you require specialist computing facilities.

Equipment loans

Equipment loans available from IT support include: laptop plus webcam, portable data projector and poster display boards (19green, 17blue, 6beige).  A conference phone is available from Reception. The Hume-Rothery meeting room contains audio-visual hardware for video conferencing via Skype..

Publicity support service

All Department publicity material is coordinated by IT staff, and much of it is actually produced in-house. Advice, resource collation and project management support are available. Typical projects undertaken are:

  • business cards
  • publicity flyers
  • invitation cards
  • magazine adverts
  • laminating (A4/A3)
  • ring binding (A4)

Supplies of pre-printed Department letterheaded notepaper and compliment slips are available from reception and secretarial staff. Electronic document templates are available on-line at

Batches of 100 business cards can be ordered through IT staff at least one week in advance of requirement. An example card is at

F. Ordering Consumables and Equipment

You should discuss the budget (and the source of funds) for your research costs with your supervisor or research group leader.  You will need a cost centre code before you can order any items, or take any items from Stores.  All orders to suppliers, for goods or services, should be placed via the Department.

You should be careful and economical in formulating your requirements.  The Department does not have the funding capacity to meet any unbudgeted research costs, so you and your supervisor/ research group leader must ensure that the funding is available and that you will stay within budget.


Currently within the Department several groups use iProcurement for the purchase of goods and services. This is a system whereby shoppers will create shopping carts for goods and services typically from on-line supplier catalogues, the carts when complete are sent to supervisors for approval and onward processing by the accounts team. The advantages include direct access to supplier catalogues where product pricing has already been negotiated through the University purchasing department (value for money), time savings as paper requisitions are no longer required to be completed and increased speed in placing the orders.

The Department continues to seek new groups to engage with the R12 iProcurement system with a view to eliminating the use of paper requisitions. The process to add new groups is relatively straightforward. All we need to know is who will be shoppers and who will be reviewers (approvers). Once we have set up new shoppers and reviewers we will arrange training. For more information please contact the Finance Office.


  1. Check if the items that you require are held in Stores or in the Workshops.  Note that you will be required to provide your funding cost centre before any items can be issued to you.  These items will then be charged to your budget
  2. All non-users of R12 iProcurement will need to complete a departmental requisition form to order items from suppliers. Requisition forms are available at various points around the Department, and can also be downloaded from the departmental web pages.  The accounts team will process this requisition to generate an order.  The Department then sends the order to the supplier.
  3. Full guidance on the requisitions procedure is available on the internal pages of the Materials website (  Please read this carefully before you complete any requisitions.  Key documents to read are Requisitions, Orders and Equipment Purchasing Information and Purchasing Advice (University and Department purchasing advice for choosing the right supplier with best value for money).
    The University has a list of preferred/approved and unclassified suppliers who should be used if possible.  The list is available on the University website – the link is
    You will often be able to get advice from the technicians on which suppliers to order from.  In any case you should "shop around" to ensure the best possible value for money.  Check the prices from two or three suppliers. This can usually be done on-line: see  Written quotations should be obtained for all orders exceeding £100 in value unless from a Catalogue Supplier (see iProcurement above).  The University has a purchasing policy to provide best value for money, and has regulations requiring competitive quotations for all items costing more than £1,000.  Further details are available in the documents on the internal web pages.
  4. Ask your supervisor/ research group leader to sign the requisition to indicate his/her endorsement of the need for your purchase and the source of funds.  This is essential.
  5. Send the requisition to Barry Fellows (Finance Officer) in the General Office in Hume-Rothery.  Once the requisition has been processes in Accounts, an official order from the Department will be despatched to the supplier.  Goods Inwards/Stores at Hume-Rothery or Begbroke will contact you when your items have arrived.  If there are subsequently any problems with the items, please let Barry Fellows know immediately, so that the Department does not pay for them until these issues have been resolved.  If your order is urgent, please let Barry Fellows know.
  6. Note that if you use gas cylinders, you will be charged for rental on the cylinders, as well as for the gas consumed.

Travel expenses claims and car hire

Details of how to reclaim travel and other expenses and the relevant forms can be found at  All members of the department wishing to hire a car or other vehicle on University business are required to bring their driver’s licence and printout of the paper counterpart (which can be printed from here to the finance team to be copied.  We will keep these on file and only ask you to produce this information once.  However we also need you to tell us if you have 6 points/endorsements or more as this must be reported to the Insurance team before you can hire a vehicle.  

Engineering Equipment and Small Tools

You should consult Laurie Walton in the main workshop before ordering any such items.

Equipment Orders

The procedures are the same as specified for Consumables, but note that the University has regulations governing the purchase of items costing over £1,000 that must be followed.  Remember to include installation costs in the calculations.   See ‘Requisitions, Orders and Equipment Purchasing Information’ at

Note that

  • All IT orders are cross-checked by the Senior IT Officer after submission to the Finance Office. IT staff keep many components and also keep standard desktops and printers.
  • If an item of equipment needs specialised installation – including any building work, direct supply of water or electricity, then these requirements must be discussed before a requisition is made..
  • An official departmental order is needed for equipment sent back to the suppliers for repair, or for a visit by an engineer to repair equipment in situ, and you need to follow the same requisition procedure as for ordering consumables.
  • The Department has an inventory of all items of equipment, essential for insurance, repair and security.  Each item is marked with a unique asset number and PAT (portable appliance testing) number.  These labels on equipment must not be removed or altered.  Please let the Buildings and Facilities Manager, Les Chorley, know if you have any equipment without an asset number.
  • The equipment should be maintained in good order. Please report any faults or problems to the Buildings and Facilities Manager. If the equipment is subject to a maintenance plan, either locally or specialist, please inform Les Chorley
  • Details of all items of equipment with a value over £500 are kept on the Department’s asset register.  When equipment is no longer required by the person who ordered it, it should either be returned to Stores or re assigned.  Redundant items should not be retained unnecessarily.  If something is no longer required, you should discuss the situation with your supervisor, and inform the Administrator of redundant equipment prior to disposal, using the form available at  Equipment should never be disposed of without following this procedure, nor should equipment be removed from the Department without notifying the Buildings and Facilities Manager or the Administrator.
  • Please use metric measurements.

Minor Items

The Finance Officer operates a "petty cash" account for small items (under £25) where local cash purchases are appropriate and where the University’s regulations permit the use of petty cash.  If you want to use this facility, you should ask Barry Fellows first, otherwise you may be refused.

Receipt and Distribution of Goods

All parcels will be delivered to the Goods Inwards/Stores and opened and visually inspected by the Stores Technician, Ian Sutton, who will then notify you either by phone or email to collect the goods from Stores.  On collection you will be given a receipt referencing relevant information about the order which you are advised to retain.  If anything received is broken, or unsatisfactory in any other way, it should be returned to the Stores Technician with a note and the Goods Received receipt saying exactly what is wrong.  On no account should anyone else return goods to suppliers, or contact or correspond with suppliers concerning damage.  If by any chance the goods or equipment are delivered direct to you (ie, not to Stores) you must (1) get a copy of the receipt note, (2) send it immediately to Stores and arrange for an asset number.

If you have any queries about the procedure for ordering consumables or equipment, please speak to the Finance Officer, Barry Fellows, or the Finance Administrator, Tim McAree.

G. Phones, Faxes and Administration


There are a number of address lists for groups within and beyond the Department.  New members of staff and students are automatically added to relevant lists when they arrive.  It is worth spending time to discover which lists might be relevant to your work or interests, and to subscribe to those which seem potentially interesting.  See Within the Department, you may find the following lists helpful: - senior academic and senior support staff - includes all research fellows - includes all research students - includes all undergraduate students (not on notices) - administrative support staff - technical support staff - everyone except undergrads (please use this sparingly)

These lists are used for official purposes, so please ensure that you are on the relevant list and do not send personal messages to official Materials lists. Individual addresses for members of the University can be found by searching at

Please remember to check your emails (and the weekly newsletter) regularly for official notices and also remember to follow the University’s network etiquette for emails:


Use the phone when you need to, but think of the cost!  The University network is provided for official use, not for personal phone calls; if you do have to make brief personal calls these should not be to mobiles, and you are liable to be charged for any expensive calls noted on our Materials print-out.

Telephones in shared offices are barred to external use.  If you want to make an external call, ask Alison Jewitt (ext 73666) for authorisation, then ring the switchboard on 73000, giving your name and the number you want.


The main fax machine is in the General Office, Hume-Rothery.  The number is 01865 273789.  The Begbroke main fax number is 01865 848970.  Please remember that it is expensive to send long faxes, so long documents should be sent by email whenever possible.  If it is not possible, posting is better than faxing!   Details of each transmission must be entered in the log book provided for this purpose.  Personal faxes must be paid for.  Please enter your details clearly in the log book.


Postage is expensive, especially for overseas mail.  Please ask advice from Reception before sending mail overseas.  Printed papers to overseas destinations should be sent in an unsealed envelope (almost halving the cost), even if it means sending a covering letter separately.  For UK mail please use A5 size envelopes whenever possible, as they cost far less to send than A4 size.

PLEASE NOTE that the Department does not pay postage for private mail.

The University has an internal messenger service between the departments and colleges with deliveries and collections twice daily.  Mail to and from Begbroke is carried by the minibus service, between Reception at Hume-Rothery and Stores at Begbroke.  There are trays marked Messenger and Begbroke in Reception for this purpose.

Car Parking

Parking for staff is limited, particularly in the University Science Area.  Four types of permit are available: peak, off-peak, Begbroke and visitor permits.  The University levies an annual fee for permits. 

  • The Department is given a set number of peak permits which it allocates annually through a special committee.  Holders may park in any unmarked space in the science area at any time. 
  • Off-peak permits are valid from 4 pm to 7 am and at weekends in any unmarked space in the science area. 
  • All frequent car users at Begbroke need a Begbroke permit; otherwise get a visitor’s permit from Reception there for occasional visits. 
  • Visitor (operational) spaces for Materials central site (including one outside the Rex Richards Building) are available from 8 am to 5 pm and must be booked in advance through Reception in Hume-Rothery.  Visitors should park only in their allocated numbered space, marked DJ. 

Full details and application forms for peak, off-peak and Begbroke permits are available at  Please read the guidelines carefully before applying.  Contact Alison Jewitt with any further queries.

Insurance of Private Vehicles Used on University Business

1. Any vehicles used on University business must be adequately insured. In particular

  • If you use, or are likely to use your vehicle to convey yourself and/or passengers in connection with University business (including attendance at conferences and meetings, visits to other establishments, etc.), your insurance policy should cover such use.
  • It is your responsibility to make sure that your insurance policy indemnifies without financial limit the driver and the University against death or bodily injury to any person (including passengers) or damage to property arising from the use of or caused by the vehicle. Your policy must not deem the receipt of mileage allowance as "use for hire or reward".
  • You must understand and meet the insurance requirements (see
  • You must immediately notify the Administrator of any change which reduces your insurance cover.
  • You must not make any claim against the University in respect of loss or damage to your own vehicle while on University business, nor seek to recover any "excess" that you may have to pay.

If your insurance policy does not cover you for all the above points you should obtain an endorsement or endorsements from your insurance company giving you full cover.

2. If you submit a Travel Expenses Claim Form for reimbursement of mileage in a private vehicle incurred on University Business then you should state on the claim form that you have complied with these requirements. If requested, you must produce your insurance policy for inspection.

3. Apparatus etc. must not be conveyed in a private vehicle under any circumstances whatsoever, unless that use is covered by the vehicle's insurance and unless permission to do so has first been obtained from the Administrator. Any request must be made, through your supervisor, to the Administrator, in writing, giving three clear days notice (to allow time for insurance of the apparatus). This will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

4. If you use a motorcycle on University business, you may not carry passengers.

Green Impact

The Department is committed to reducing our impact on the environment.  We are a member of the national “Green Impact” initiative ( and achieved a Bronze award in 2014.  Last year we were awarded Silver overall for the Department and Gold for the laboratories.

We welcome suggestions to help us with our aim of reducing waste and energy consumption (contact:  Please use the mixed recyclables bins provided whenever possible, print double-sided, and remember to switch off lights when they’re not being used (including standby lights on computer monitors, photocopiers and scanners).  We do not insist sensitive lab equipment be switched off – we are realistic in what we can and cannot achieve.

You are welcome to join the Green Impact Committee, which meets at least once a term to steer the Department towards improved environmental practices.  If you would like to receive an invitation to the next Committee meeting, or would like any further information, or if you have a query, please email


Following on from our Green Impact Policy, it is very important that all members should exercise economic use of resources.  This is a matter of priorities (we want to do research, not to waste money) and cash (the Department has no spare funds), as well as caring for the environment.  In particular:

Electricity: Lights should be switched off when not required, and should never be left on overnight. Whenever possible, furnaces which are not in use should be switched off.

Water: All taps should be turned off when not in use: particular attention should be paid to the grinding machines and the darkrooms, and in both these cases the taps should never be left running overnight.  NB: All hoses must be secured with a suitable (and approved) clip, to avoid flooding.

Gas: Care should be taken to turn off all burners, etc, when not actually in use.  This is necessary not only to save gas, but to avoid the risk of the burners being blown out, with the resulting danger of an explosion.

H. Expenses, Conferences and Fees


From time to time, it may be necessary or desirable to attend conferences, or to travel to meetings. But before you make any arrangements:

  • Ensure that your supervisor/group leader supports the proposed journey;
  • Check that adequate funds are available.

Possible funding sources

  • Research grants
  • Colleges
  • Committee for Graduate Studies

Planning ahead

Attendance at conferences and other travel arrangements should to be planned ahead, so that you can budget for your costs and make funding applications where necessary. EPSRC-funded students should consult the Director of Studies about funds for conferences.

Travel insurance

The University operates an insurance scheme for work-related travel, at very good rates, through AON  Risk  Services.   Please register in advance for each trip, using the travel insurance application form and attached risk assessment available at  A completed hard copy must be handed in to Jane Foxall at Reception at least a week before your journey begins, and you should carry with you the Confirmation of Travel Insurance.  For details see

You are entitled to claim back the costs and expenses incurred on official journeys, subject to University regulations.  There are forms for the purpose (available throughout the Department or on the departmental website).  You will need to present receipts for everything. The claim forms need to be signed by you and by your supervisor/research group leader, and should then be submitted to the Finance Officer. Please remember to include your bank account details. Your supervisor will identify on the form the cost centre that will fund the claim.

Conference Registrations

If your attendance is to be funded from a cost centre held by the Department, registrations may be made via a departmental order. Submit your completed registration form, accompanied by a Requisition form, to Barry Fellows. Allow at least 14 working days for payment by cheque or Bank Giro transfer; electronic transfers to overseas accounts may take longer and carry a bank charge.  Please make sure you allow ample time.  Alternatively, you may pay the registration fee yourself and claim the money back, if there is funding available in your departmental cost centre.  If you pay by credit card it is usually possible to reclaim the money before you have to settle your credit card monthly account. Using your credit card is often the easiest way of registering.  However the credit card slip that you sign is not sufficient proof of expenditure - you must obtain receipts. These should be attached to a Travel and Subsistence claim form.

Flight Bookings

If you wish to arrange the flight through the Department, details of the University’s approved suppliers can be found on the local web pages. You may also arrange your flights independently and reclaim the cost (if you have funding available) on a Travel and Subsistence claim form. You must obtain receipts and attach them to the form.

Entertainment Expenses

You will need to complete a departmental entertainment claim form as well as an expenses claim form (see

Demonstrating Fees

You may be asked to help with demonstrating practicals for undergraduates or visitors. If so, this will be arranged in writing with the Administrator, who will inform you of the procedure for claiming payment at the approved rates.

All such payments must be made direct into bank accounts. The Department will therefore need your bank, account number and your sort code, and also your national insurance number.

Casual pay claims

All students and other members of the department paid via the casual payroll for undertaking duties such as being Junior Demonstrators in the Teaching Lab, or providing either one off tasks or short term support, are required to prove that they have the legal right to work in this country.  When you submit your first claim form to the Finance Officer, you will be instructed to present your passport (or UK birth/adoption certificate) and if appropriate, visa, for verification.  You will not be paid unless you have provided the necessary documentation.  Once the initial payment has been made copies of these documents are held on file and you do not need to show them again.

Supervisors are reminded that they should inform Alison when agreeing to make a casual payment to any member of the Department so that right to work checks can be carried out, ideally before the work is undertaken.

Junior Demonstrators will be asked to provide this proof when they agree to support activities in the Teaching Laboratories.

If you have any queries about the procedure for conference attendance or reimbursement of expenses, please do not hesitate to contact the Finance Officer, Barry Fellows, or the Finance Administrator.

I. Safety and Security

Your personal safety is important. If you have not already done so, obtain a copy of the safety instructions.  You should attend the Safety lecture given by the Safety Officer, Professor Andrew Watt, usually on the Tuesday of First Week each term.  If this is not possible, go to see Professor Watt to discuss safety instruction.

Illness or Accident

In case of sudden illness or accident during working hours, contact one of the First Aiders in the first instance, or the Administrator or Buildings and Facilities Manager.  In cases other than trivial occurrences which can be dealt with on the spot by the staff of the Department, or laboratory accidents involving unusual hazards which require the attention of the University Medical Officer, the sick patient should ordinarily be sent, by ambulance service, private car or taxi, to the relevant Accident Service at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington, Oxford.  The Accident Departments should be warned by telephone that the patient is coming.


Emergency Services (Police, ambulance, fire) Dial 999 or 112 from any telephone
Accident Service (John Radcliffe Hospital)
or JRH enquiries:
(9) 220208
(9) 741166 (internal: 553 50000)
Ear, Nose and Throat Department (John Radcliffe Hospital) (9) 231166
Eye Casualty (John Radcliffe Hospital) (9) 234800
University Safety Officer 70810
University Radiation Protection Office 70802
University Fire Officer 70813
Thames Valley Police Oxford (9) 0845 8505505

All accidents must be reported in the Accident Book, held in the General Office in the Hume-Rothery Building and at Reception at Begbroke.

A First Aid Box is available in all corridors

Qualified First Aiders
Ms Paula Topping (HB) 73658/83205
Mr Shaun Boyce (Begbroke) 83724
Mr Ashley Brown (21 BR) 73756
Mr Graham Wyatt (HB) 83229
Dr Kyriakos Porfyrakis (12/13 PR) 73724
Mrs Jayne Shaw (HR) 73710
Professor Andrew Watt (Begbroke) 13455
Dr Mimi Nguyen (21 BR) 83337

For additional first aiders at Begbroke, please see noticeboards in each building for names and contact numbers.

Electrical Safety

All plug-in electrical equipment used in the Department must undergo an electrical safety test.  This is a legal requirement.  New equipment from a reputable British or West European manufacturer, and entering the Department via the normal stores system, may go straight into service and be tested at a later date.  All other categories of plug-in equipment must be taken to the Electronics Workshop for electrical testing BEFORE being put into service.  This INCLUDES privately-owned items.  No plug-in equipment from any source may be used without a current “PAT TESTED” yellow sticker that has a valid “Next Test” date.  Contact Les Chorley (73681) to arrange testing.

Personal Safety in the Science Area

Over recent years there have regrettably been incidents of attacks on members of the University in the Science area at night.

Take care when you are working late, and particularly as you leave the laboratory.  Satisfy yourself that there is no one hanging around suspiciously - you are particularly vulnerable as you unlock a vehicle or bicycle.  Whenever possible, female members of the Department should avoid walking alone at night.  The police advise people to consider buying some form of personal alarm - a device to make a loud noise.

If you are working on the ground floor, it is sensible to close the blinds at night.

Report any incident to the police.

Emergency Number:  The University Security Patrol will escort female workers, if working late at night, from their workplace to their means of transport. The number to ring is 89999.


The University and the Department regard any form of harassment as unacceptable.

There are four departmental harassment advisers (listed below). In deciding whether any incident merits being drawn to their attention, the best test is often the subjective one: does the incident make you feel uncomfortable? If so, do not hesitate to consult one of the advisers. They are:

Hazel Assender 73781 or 83715
Alison Crossley 83726
Jan Czernuszka 73771
Paula Topping 73658
Laurie Walton 73687

The University has a Code of Practice on harassment.  A copy of this is displayed on the notice boards in the Hume-Rothery Building and at Begbroke, and on the University website (

Computer and Information Security

All members of the Department should ensure that data created, saved or accessed should be stored and protected accordingly.  The University has published an Information Security Policy which can be found at -  

In brief the main aims of the policy are:

To provide a framework for the management of information security throughout the University. It applies to:

  1. all those with access to University information systems, including staff, students, visitors and contractors
  2. any systems attached to the University computer or telephone networks and any systems supplied by the University
  3. all information (data) processed by the University pursuant to its operational activities, regardless of whether it is processed electronically or in paper (hard copy) form, any communications sent to or from the University and any University information (data) held on systems external to the University’s network
  4. all external parties that provide services to the University in respect of information processing facilities and business activities and
  5. principal information assets including the physical locations from which the University operates.

Aims and Commitments

1.    The University recognises the role of information security in ensuring that users have access to the information they require in order to carry out their work.  Computer and information systems underpin all the University’s activities, and are essential to its research, teaching and administrative functions. 

2.    Any reduction in the confidentiality, integrity or availability of information could prevent the University from functioning effectively and efficiently. In addition, the loss or unauthorised disclosure of information has the potential to damage the University’s reputation and cause financial loss. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has the power to fine organisations up to £500,000 for breaches of the Data Protection Act.

3.    To mitigate these risks, information security must be an integral part of information management, whether the information is held in electronic or hard-copy form.

4.    The University is committed to protecting the security of its information and information systems in order to ensure that:

a)      the integrity of information is maintained, so that it is accurate, up to date and ‘fit for purpose’;

b)      information is always available to those who need it and  there is no disruption to the business of the University;

c)      confidentiality is not breached, so that information is accessed only by those authorised to do so;

d)     the University meets its legal requirements, including those applicable to personal data under the Data Protection Act; and

e)      the reputation of the University is safeguarded.

5.    In order to meet these aims, the University is committed to implementing security controls that conform to best practice, as set out in the ISO/IEC 27002:2005 Information Security Techniques – Code of practice for information security management. The University has drawn up an information security toolkit (the ‘Toolkit’) in order to provide advice and guidance on the technical aspects of information security. The Toolkit is based on the information security toolkit of the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association and adheres to the standards of ISO/IEC 27002: 2005: The Toolkit is available on this site.  This is in the process of being implemented in Materials.

6.    Any known breaches of information security must be recorded and reported to Dr Paul Warren, Head of Materials IT in the first instance. 

All new members of staff should complete the Information Security Awareness module available at:

No Smoking

Smoking is prohibited by law everywhere in the Department and in virtually all enclosed or substantially enclosed public places, workplaces, public vehicles, and shared (ie used by more than one person, not necessarily at the same time) work vehicles.  Smokers are expected to stand well away from entrances and windows while smoking as the resulting smoke can be offensive to others.  It is particularly important that smokers do not smoke immediately outside the Common Room as this affects users of that space and the offices above.  Smoking electronic cigarettes is also banned everywhere in the Department and close to any building entrance or exit.  This includes in the sheltered area outside the common room.


There have been several thefts of money and other valuables, and of padlocked bicycles, in recent years.  We are all responsible for the security of the Department, and it is vital that we should all take sensible precautions to protect both our own physical safety and the Department's property.

Steps that you can take:
1. Ensure that windows are shut as you leave a room;
2. If you share a laboratory or an office, do not assume that your colleagues will lock the door or the window(s): do it yourself;
3. Keep your eyes open and report anything that looks suspicious directly to the Facilities Manager (Les Chorley 73681) or leave a message at Reception (73777);
4. Challenge anyone who you think is acting suspiciously, or carrying parcels out (the normal way to do this is to ask, “Can I help you?”);
5. Report incidents straight away to the Facilities Manager (Les Chorley, 73681) or the Administrator (Alana Davies, 73747) during the day. At night ring the Police (999) and let the University Marshal know (89999);
6. Do not leave valuable personal property in the Department. It is not insured;
7. Keys and access cards: Do not lose your key or card, or give it or lend it to anyone else. Do not make a copy of your key. Do not let anyone follow you through a door you have unlocked unless you are sure he/she is a current member of the Department and has his/her own key or card. Most intruders get into buildings by “tail-gating” in this way.
8. Bicycles: The University has a cycle registration scheme where for 60p you can register your bike with the police, so if it is stolen and recovered you are more likely to get it back. Further details can be found at
9. Please note that you are not allowed to bring bicycles into the Department buildings: they must be parked outside in the areas where stands are provided.

In the event of theft:
1. Inform the police immediately of the incident and obtain a crime reference number for any possible insurance claim, Tel: 0845 8505505;
2. Inform banks and credit card companies if any cards or cheque books have been stolen;
3. Inform the University Security Officer, Tel: 72944.  All thefts, irrespective of size or value, should also be reported to the Buildings and Facilities Manager (73681) or Reception (73777, 73706 or 73680).

Insurance of Computers

Please notify the Buildings and Facilities Manager of any computers or other easily stolen items.  You must ensure that personal computers and other valuable items you bring to the Department are covered by your own insurance.  Department equipment is covered by the University policy, but please note that there is a £2000 excess on any claim.

Terrorist Activities - Bombs Warnings

If you hear a bomb warning on the tannoy system, listen carefully and act on it (it will not be a practice message). If you are told to evacuate the building, take your valuables with you.

Suspicious Objects

Do not leave packages around the Department. Please report any suspicious object to the Administrator.


J. Solving Problems

You are likely to encounter various problems during your time in the Department. There are people around who can help: your colleagues in your research group; your supervisor; those in charge of particular facilities or workshops; the Administrator; the Director of Studies or the Head of Department.  Do not hesitate to ask for assistance or advice.

To some extent you can help:

Avoid Problems for Yourself

Think ahead. For example: if you are going to a conference, register well in advance.

Consult where necessary. Think about when you might need your supervisor's approval.

Responsibilities. Consult the list of departmental responsibilities, and see if anyone might be able to help.

Money. If you have a problem or question about your bursary or financial arrangements discuss it with your supervisor, and with the Administrator if necessary.

Avoid Problems for Others

Tools: Do not take tools out of the Department, whatever purpose you have in mind.

Books: Never take books out of the library unless (1) you are allowed to borrow them, and (2) you have registered them on the OLIS self issue system.

Departure: When the time comes to leave, please don't leave problems behind you. You need to:

  • Return all your keys and access cards;
  • Read and comply with the leavers’ email and IT information at;
  • Return any books;
  • Leave a forwarding address;
  • Make sure you don’t leave papers behind you.
  • And last but not least ensure that you leave your area of the relevant lab and office space tidy and clear. You should also ensure that all chemicals no longer required should be disposed of safely, if necessary with the aid of Mimi Nguyen the Chemicals and Materials Safety Technician

I. Departmental Responsibility

The following list shows the departmental officers you are most likely to wish to consult:

Head of Department Professor Patrick Grant
Head of Department's Personal Assistant 01865 273737

Head of Administration and Finance 01865 273747 Charlotte Sweeney
Head of Admnistration's Secretary 01865 273666

Deputy Administrator (Finance) 01865 273722 Tim Mcaree
Finance Officer 01865 273702
Finance Assistant 01865 273777 (vacant position)

Deputy Administrator (Academic) 01865 273750

Deputy Administrator (Research & Finance) 01865 273712

HR Manager 01865 273704

Receptionist 01865 273777

Director of Studies  01865 283227
Graduate Studies Secretary 01865 283226 Marion Beckett
Assistant to Deputy Administrator (Academic) 01865 273703 Suzanne Engela
Schools Liaison Administrator 01865 273682
Department Librarian 01865 273697 Grace Sewell

Departmental Safety Officer 01865 613455
Departmental Fire Officer 01865 273792
Representative for Radiation Protection 01865 273737

Electron Microscopy Facility Manager 01865 273655

Buildings and Facilities Manager 01865 273681

Furnace Technician  - 01865 273740 Tony Wheeler 
Practical Class Technician  01865 273658
Stores Technician  01865 273691
Chemical Safety Technician  01865 283337 Mimi Nguyen

Senior IT Officer and Website Manager 01865 273727 Paul Warren
IT Support Officer 01865 273930
IT Support Officer 01865 273667

Appendix A: IT Rules and Regulations

All members of the Department should have a University email account. As part of the registration process you are required to read and abide by the University IT Rules (see This is part of the central repository of Oxford University Computer Usage Rules and Etiquette (see ). In addition to the University Rules, all members of the Department should read and abide by the following statements :


Individual computers are the responsibility of the nominated administrator (who is usually the primary user or the group leader). The nominated administrator must:

  • keep all software licences up-to-date (see ).
  • keep anti-virus software up-to-date (see ).
  • ensure that data is regularly backed-up and archived (see ).
  • ensure that the computer is configured securely i.e. it only offers an absolute minimum of services (file sharing, FTP, etc.) which are protected either by password or by limiting host access (see ).
  • The network and all connections to it are the responsibility of Department IT staff:
  • users must not tamper with the network cabling or extend the network in any way without the prior approval of the Department’s IT staff.
  • users must not connect any computer or other device to the network without first consulting the Department’s IT staff , who will assign you with an IP address.


Some specific examples of usage which is NOT condoned by this Department are:

  • infringement of software licensing.
  • file-sharing of (legal or illegal) music, videos etc.
  • running unnecessary services on local computers (e.g. chat servers).
  • downloading of large files from the internet without due consideration of the indirect cost.

P J Warren September 2015

Appendix B: IT Disciplinary Procedures

Procedure in the event of IT misuse by research students

At induction, Probationary Research Students in Materials are warned during a briefing by the IT Manager or his Deputy of the need to familiarise themselves with the University ICTC Regulations.

1st Offence: Referral to the Director of Studies following investigation by the Departmental IT Manager. If the offence is confirmed a written warning will be issued by the Director of Studies. This will be placed on file and copied to the Supervisor(s). (It will include a reminder of the consequences of a 2nd offence.) Also the Department’s IT Manager will present to the offender a detailed verbal reminder of the University ICTC Regulations. In addition the Department reserves the right to (i) require surrender to the Department’s IT staff of the offending PC (for the removal of prohibited software), (ii) to require the student to pay any administration charge imposed by IT Services in relation to the offence, and (iii) in the case of infringements judged to be more serious to report the matter for action by the Proctors and to withdraw access to IT facilities pending a Proctorial investigation.

2nd Offence: Referral to the Proctors. Pending an investigation, access to IT facilities may be withdrawn or made subject to such conditions as the Proctors shall think proper in the circumstances. In addition the Department reserves the right to require the student to pay any administration charge imposed by IT Services in relation to the offence.

P J Warren
September 2015

Appendix C: Bribery and Fraud Policy

The University’s Bribery and Fraud Policy is available in full at It is summarized as follows:


  • The University has no tolerance of bribery and fraud and will take appropriate action to prevent it in respect of its activities.
  • Bribery and Fraud by University employees or student members acting on behalf of the University will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.


  • Staff and other associated persons who act on behalf of the University are expected to abide by the following standards:
    - no financial or other advantage shall be sought through bribery;
    - in respect of any activity carried out on behalf of the University, no form of fraud shall be engaged in;
    - the payment or acceptance of facilitation payments will not be tolerated;
    - University Gifts and Hospitality Policy must be adhered to at all times;
    - any suspicion of bribery or fraud should be reported immediately through the defined channels.


  • This Policy and associated guidance applies throughout the University, apart from Oxford University Press, which has its own complementary policy and procedures, and includes majority and wholly owned University subsidiary companies except where alternative policies have been approved.
  • This Policy and associated guidance applies to all staff and associated persons acting on behalf of the University in any manner – further guidance on terms used, the scope and application of the Policy is provided here.

Risk assessment:

  • Bribery and fraud risk should be regularly assessed by Divisions, Departments and Committees.

Third parties:

  • Third parties acting for or providing services to the University are expected not to commit bribery or fraud and are advised to familiarize themselves with the provisions of this Policy.


  • The only exception to these rules is where there is an immediate threat to life, limb or liberty – such incidents must be reported through the channels defined in this Policy.

The importance of anti-bribery measures

Bribery and fraud are criminal offences under UK law and under the criminal codes of many other countries. They are activities that divert money and resources towards the personal gain of a few, often to the cost and detriment of the many. Globally they hinder growth of the legitimate economy, often in regions where poverty is high, and act as a barrier to efficient and effective governance; their presence can also aggravate insecurity and potential conflict. Within the context of the University’s undertakings, its use of public funds, and objectives for the advancement of learning for the wider benefit, such unethical activities clearly cannot be sanctioned or supported.

The incidence of bribery or fraud could have wide-reaching and practical implications that directly affect the primary work of departments and research groups. These include:

  • withdrawal of funding from research councils and other bodies who have a zero tolerance approach to this issue;
  • HEFCE sanctions or restrictions on the revenue made available to the University for its activities;
  • increased audit scrutiny (from both internal and external bodies) and the imposition of additional controls and constraints to the activity of the University.

General advice and queries

Staff and students are encouraged to raise initial queries or requests for guidance on matters relating to bribery and fraud with departmental administrators in the first instance.

If you have a query about bribery that cannot be dealt with by your departmental administrator, then contact the Council Secretariat Compliance Team by telephone or e-mail at:

- Telephone: (01865) (2)70187

Any reasonable concerns or suspicions about the occurrence of bribery or fraud should be reported in accordance with the procedures set out below.

Reporting bribery and fraud

There are Procedures for dealing with actual or suspected breach of the University Bribery & Fraud Policy. These provide for the reporting and investigation of suspected cases and should be used for any instance where bribery or fraud is reasonably suspected in relation to the activities of the University. This includes:
- if you are asked to pay a bribe or facilitation payment;
- if you are forced under duress to pay a bribe;
- if you are offered a bribe for any reason;
- if you are asked to undertake any fraudulent activity;
- if you suspect bribery or fraud is occurring.

All reports will be treated as a disclosure under the University’s Policy and Procedure on Public Interest Disclosure, and dealt with in accordance with the procedures referred to above.

Appendix D – Statement of Policy and Procedure on Conflict of Interest

Full details of the University’s policy and procedure on conflict of interest are available at The policy may be summarised as follows.

A. Policy Statement

  1. Oxford University is a major research university with global reach and influence. It encourages members of its staff to engage in a wide variety of external activities, such as serving on government, business and community boards, providing expert advice, media commentary, professional practice, schools outreach, international projects and collaborations with the commercial world, including via consultancy, research and development, intellectual property (IP) licensing and involvement in 'spinout' companies.

  2. The University considers that such activities are in the public interest and are also of benefit to the University and the individuals concerned.

  3. On occasion, however, they may give rise to conflicts of interest, whether potential or actual, perceived or alleged.

  4. All University staff and students are required to recognise and disclose activities that might give rise to conflicts of interest or the perception of conflicts and to ensure that such conflicts are seen to be properly managed or avoided.

  5. If properly managed, activities can usually proceed as normal whilst at the same time upholding the person's obligations to the University, meeting regulatory and other external requirements and protecting the integrity and reputation of the University and its members. By contrast, conflicts which are not managed effectively may jeopardise the University's public standing and may cause serious damage to the reputation of the University and of the individuals concerned.

  6. It is therefore the University's policy to encourage and foster external activities whilst ensuring that when conflicts or perceived conflicts of interest arise they are acknowledged and disclosed, and in relevant cases, properly managed.