The Roberts review of the supply of scientists and engineers in 2002 identified a range of concerns about the recruitment, retention and development of university contractresearch staff, notably the lack of a clear career structure, together with uncertain job prospects. The review anticipated that the implementation of the European Directive on Fixed Term Work would remove some of this uncertainty. The Directive requires that the use of successive fixed-term contracts with the same employer is limited to 4 years unless an extension can be justified on objective grounds.

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