Nottingham University has promoted nearly 100 members of staff in its biggest promotion round to date.
In all, 30 members of staff have been promoted to professorships, 26 to readerships and 37 to senior lectureships. The university stressed that the promotion round had "no quotas" and was driven by outstanding merit in academic accomplishments. The promotions are in a range of subjects and represent a considerable investment by the university.
Nottingham, which had been in dispute with the Association of University Teachers over plans to introduce a performance-related pay scheme for academics, announced the promotions just as the union said it was lifting its greylisting, or boycott, of the university at the end of last year.
The university said the timing was coincidental because advancements were announced each year about this time.
Malcolm Keight, AUT deputy general secretary, said: "The existing scheme at Nottingham uses independent external referees. The proposed performance-related scheme would rely on individual line managers, and we opposed that. We are now in negotiations with the university."
He added that it was important for any scheme to be transparent and for candidates to be given the opportunity to undertake the sort of work leading to promotion.
"This is especially true for women and ethnic minorities, who would otherwise suffer discrimination," he said.
Diane Birch, pro vice-chancellor for staffing, said the promotions showed that Nottingham was investing in staff when other institutions were facing cuts.
Overall salary costs for teaching and research staff increased from £85.5 million in 2002-03 to £91.7 million in 2003-04. Over the same period, the number of teaching and research staff rose from 2,319 to 2,380.