Information for Academics

SWARM is the University's workload planning software. To login in and view your workload profile, please click on the SWARM button to the right. Sign in with your normal University username (abc123 format) and password. The recommended browser is Mozilla Firefox. If you experience any problems logging in, require any training, or have any other technical problems, please email your College’s workload planning key contact. Please note that in general, the SWARM year (instance) runs from mid-September to mid-September (approximately from the Monday at the start of term one, to the Friday before term one starts).

Before accessing your profile for the first time, to find out more about why academic workload planning is important, please watch this video from Tim Quine.

Once you have viewed your profile, if you have any questions about it, try the FAQs below.

If you need any information on using SWARM, or how to view different information in it, please take a look at the SWARM User Manual.

If you cannot find the answer to your question in the SWARM User Manual or the FAQs, please contact your college workload planning administrator.

Frequently Asked Questions

Workload models 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). The University recognises that most academic staff 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 College workload models. Academics within the Education and Scholarship job family have a 1600 hours target.

While most Colleges will base their workload model on hours, Colleges may use others systems of points or credits or percentages provided that these can easily be converted to hours to ensure transparency and understanding.

Every college has a Workload Policy which dictates the hours given for different activities. Please see the College Information page for your College's policy.

These policies should be reviwed and updated once a year, and approved by the CEG. Each college will follow a slightly different process for review, with some colleges using their Workload Allocation Action Group (WAAG; known in some colleges as a Workload Action Group - WAG) as the starting point to discuss any updates, before passing them to their CEG for approval, and other colleges will do this straight at CEG level (as they do not have a WAAG or WAG).

If you want to know more about the process for reviewing the policy for your college, please contact your college workload planning administrator.

When you are asked to check your SWARM profile for the coming academic year, check that no data is missing that will change your time allocation by more than approximately 10%. Be aware of the year that the SWARM data applies to, for example, a grant may finish part way through the next academic year.

If there are significant changes required to your profile, contact your Academic manager.

SWARM is a planning tool, it does not aim to reflect your work 100%, but needs to be accurate enough to identify over allocation and under allocation of activities.

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. This inaccurate data flowchart will guide you to the first point of contact to update your information. If this fails, speak to your college workload planning administrator who can advise further as to who to speak to.

If all the data in your profile is accurate (see flowchart in above accordion if the data is inaccurate) but you have a problem with your overall workload, take a look at this workload issues flowchart which shows some of the available approaches you have, along with the main available outcomes of each approach.

Data from SWARM is used as a key input to the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) return to HEFCE. This sets out the broad split of the University’s costs between teaching activities, research activities, and other income-generating activities. A crucial output of TRAC is the setting of cost rates for the pricing of most publicly funded research, i.e. it has a direct impact on the amount the institution is able to recover from its externally funded research output.

Each year academics (In most Colleges only E&R academics) are asked to review their workload in SWARM to ensure it broadly reflects proportionately how they spent their time. When this has been agreed, referred to as the TRAC sign off, it can be used to replace the time consuming termly Time Allocation Survey (webTAS).

Where a member of staff is concerned that the application of the workload model in their College results in an allocation of work which they perceive to be excessive or unfair, in the first instance they should discuss these concerns with the manager(s) in their College responsible for workload allocation. If, following these discussions, their concerns remain unresolved, the member of staff may raise these concerns informally with their College Dean. Exceptionally, where the concerns have not been resolved informally, the member of staff may follow the appropriate grievance procedure.

Further information

If you have any further questions please get in touch with one of the key contacts for more information.