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Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS)

   PIRLS Logo (small)           

The Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) is a national survey (managed and supported by Vitae) that gathers the anonymous views and experience of research leaders in UK higher education institutions.

The survey aims to capture your activities and attitudes in relation to research leadership and the management of research staff and supervision of postgraduate researchers. It aims to capture your views on the capabilities that make you a research leader and how these capabilities may be developed in research staff as they seek to become the research leaders of the future.

The University of Wolverhampton will take part in PIRLS 2019. It will run from Monday 25th March – Friday 17th May 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re keen to make sure Principal Investigators and Research Leaders have the best possible experience while working at the University of Wolverhampton. To do that we need to know what you think we are doing well and what we can do better. If you’re thinking about taking part this year, these are the answers to some of the questions research staff often ask:

What is the PIRLS definition of 'principal investigators and research leaders'?

The Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) is targeted at staff in higher education and research institutes who are personally and formally responsible for the management of research staff and/or the supervision of postgraduate researchers, and setting the intellectual direction of the research. 

How will PIRLS be carried out?

The survey is carried out by the Research Policy Unit and the questionnaire hosted online by JISC Online Survey (OS) platform, which provides a secure web environment for the design, delivery, administration and analysis of online surveys.

What does it involve?

All relevant staff will receive an email from OS with an invitation to complete the survey. When you receive the email from OS simply follow the instructions, click on your own personal link and complete the online form.  

If you do not complete the survey within the first couple of weeks you will receive up to 4 further reminders from OS, until the survey closes. Once you have completed the survey, your participation is recorded and the reminders from OS stop.

How long does it take?

The survey is very simple to answer and will take about 10-15 minutes of your time

What will be asked?

The survey questions are broken down into the following areas:

  • Section A - Your experience as a principal investigator/research leader.
  • Section B - Recognition and value.
  • Section C - What makes a good research leader?
  • Section D - How your institution supports you as a principal investigator/research leader.
  • Section E - Equality and Diversity
  • Section F - About you.

Why should I take part?

PIRLS provides a valuable source of information for the University of Wolverhampton.

In particular it provides institutions with:

Is it anonymous?

The individual responses are confidential to the Research Policy Unit and only anonymous aggregate data will be supplied to Faculties so no-one will be able to identify you from any results.

The survey asks that any comments you make should not identify yourself or any specific members of staff.

The details entered into OS to allow personalised emails and recording of participation do not link back to your survey responses and are only used by the software to ensure that reminders are not sent to individuals who have already completed the survey.

What happens to the results?

Your feedback is important.  Over 70 universities and colleges take part in PIRLS. This means we can compare your experience against similar Principal Investigators and Research Leaders at other institutions to see if we are supporting you as we should.

As many research leaders are responsible for and manage research staff, the results also provide the opportunity for comparison with the results of the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) 2017 and a view of progress by institutions of the implementation of the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

How will I see the results?

The results of institutions aggregated together are published by Vitae. Institutions own their results and can decide whether to make them public. Detailed results will be made available to Faculties by the Research Policy Unit. 

Vitae Report: Five Steps Forward

Progress in implementing the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers 2008-2017

The 5 Steps Forward (PDF) report launched at the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 2017, based on successive Careers in Research Online Surveys (CROS) and Principal Investigators & Research Leaders Surveys (PIRLS)
Please see the Vitae website for the PIRLS 2015 UK aggregate results

More information?

For more information about PIRLS please contact Jill Morgan, Research Policy Unit on 01902 518769 or by email:

Visit the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers webpage for more information about implementation at the University of Wolverhampton.