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Useful Acronyms

WAM - Workload Allocation Models
WAG - Workload Allocation Group
S&S - Support & Scholarship
AWPSG - Academic Workload Planning Steering Group
SWARM - Simple Workload Allocation and Resource Management
TRAC - Transparent Approach to Costing
TAS - Time Allocation Schedules

Academic workload planning

TRAC sign-off 2023/24

The TRAC period for academic year 2023/24 is open from 9 May until 13 June 2024. During this time, academic staff will be emailed to sign-off their 23/24 workload on SWARM. Find more information here.

Academic workload planning aims to balance workloads in an equitable and transparent manner, as well as allowing us to plan the use of our academic staff time to ensure we achieve our strategies for education, research, impact and innovation. By doing this, workload can be distributed strategically to maximise capacity and be shared across the faculty in ways that build on the strengths of all colleagues.

What's new?

We recognise the need for flexibility across the faculties to adapt to different demands and needs, and have developed the new Academic Workload Planning Principles and Processes. These principles and processes have been used by faculties to inform workload allocation models (WAMs) for the 2024-25 academic year.

WAMs will support faculties by enabling them to create and maintain a policy that reflects the needs of the faculty. Through the Faculty Workload Allocation Group (WAG) process, colleagues can raise adjustments and additional points for discussion as to whether they can be incorporated into their Faculty WAM. The faculty WAMs will then be used to help allocate work to colleagues in an equitable way.

Workload allocation models should:

  • cover the work of all staff in the academic job families (i.e. ‘teaching and research’, ‘teaching only’ and ‘research only’) and, at the Faculty’s discretion, other staff who contribute to academic activity (e.g. Graduate Teaching Assistants)
  • cover main elements of workload, including teaching, research, administration, personal/professional development and (where agreed) work for external bodies
  • provide for the workload of individual staff to be appropriately distributed over a period of time, so that imbalances in one year are rectified in subsequent years
  • be based on a transparent methodology
  • be developed in partnership with academic staff in the Faculty
  • be regularly reviewed and revised by Faculty WAGs
  • ensure consistency within the Faculty, while allowing for differences in teaching, research and administration between academic disciplines
  • ensure a pro-rata allocation for part-time staff.


The workload allocation models (WAMs) developed by faculties, are based on a notional working year of 1650 hours for Education and Research (E&R), in line with Research Councils’ guidance (taking account of employees’ entitlement to annual leave, bank holidays and closure days). Academics within the Education and Scholarship job family have 1600 total annual hours. 

The University recognises that most academic colleagues do not have defined working hours and that this arrangement provides flexibility which benefits individual members of staff, students and the University as a whole. The use of the notional figure of 1650 hours is not intended to imply a contractual or defined working period: it is used solely to act as a guide in ensuring a fair allocation of work through faculty workload models. 

Each faculty has a Workload Policy which dictates the hours given for different activities. Please see the policy webpage for your faculty's policy.

These policies are reviewed and updated annually, and approved by the Faculty Executive Board (FEB). Each faculty will use their Workload Allocation Group (WAG) as the starting point to discuss any updates, before passing them to their FEB for approval.

If you want to know more about the process for reviewing the policy for your faculty, please contact your Faculty Workload Planning Administrator.

If you believe any activity data in your profile is missing or inaccurate, you will need to ensure that the source data from where we pull information for inputting into SWARM is accurate. Please see the table below, that will guide you to the first point of contact to update your information:


Personal information

Faculty Workload Planning Administrator.
Grants This must be updated within T1 - please contact your Faculty Research Accounting team
PGR Supervision This must be updated in SITS - please contact the PGR team (Doctoral College). 
S&S Faculty Workload Planning Administrator.
Admin Roles & Other Faculty Workload Planning Administrator.
Teaching data Contact your DESE in the first instance.

Your Faculty Workload Planning Administrator is also available to advise further as to who to speak to.

Where a colleague is concerned that the application of the workload allocation model within their faculty results in an allocation of work which they perceive to be excessive or unfair, in the first instance they should discuss these concerns with their line manager. If, following these discussions, these concerns can be raised informally with their DPVC.

The University is committed to supporting colleague wellbeing. If you have concerns about your overall workload, please raise these with your academic manager. The allocation of workload through SWARM is intended to facilitate conversations between colleagues and managers throughout the year.

If your workload concerns are related to your health, you can speak to your academic manager and request an Occupational Health Management Referral.

You can also access the University confidential counselling service Spectrum Life for further support.