A dramatic long-term increase in the proportion of academics who are employed exclusively to conduct research is revealed in an analysis by The Times Higher .
Latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that while academics employed on conventional mixed teaching and research contracts are not an endangered species, their numbers are failing to increase in line with the growth of the university workforce.
Thirty-one per cent of the 147,000 university academics employed from August 2002 to July 2003 were on contracts that tied them to research-only activity.
Although staff on "mixed" contracts are still in the majority at 59 per cent of the total, their proportion has remained near-static with an increase over the past eight years of just 22 per cent.
In contrast, research-only staff numbers have increased steadily over the same period by a massive 41 per cent, from 32,518 to 45,835. This category of staff is almost exclusively employed on fixed-term contracts in contrast with academics contracted to teach and conduct research.
Staff on teaching-only contracts remain a minority - but their numbers are also increasing faster than the number of staff on mixed contracts, by per cent a year from 11,734 to almost 15,000. They too are more likely to be employed on fixed-term contracts, but less so than researchers.
Hesa's data relate to individual academic appointments of at least 25 per cent of a full-time equivalent member of staff active in 2002-03.
Higher education trends 2004
All charts and tables