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​In the UK, the term lecturer is ambiguous and covers several academic ranks. The key distinction is between permanent/open-ended or temporary/fixed-term lectureships.

A permanent lecturer in UK universities usually holds an open-ended position that covers teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities. Permanent lectureships are tenure-track or tenured positions that are equivalent to an assistant or associate professorship in North America. After a number of years, a lecturer may be promoted based on his or her research record to become a senior lecturer. This position is below reader and professor.

Research lecturers (where they are permanent appointments) are the equivalent in rank of lecturers and senior lecturers, but reflect a research-intensive orientation. Research lecturers are common in fields such as medicine, engineering, and biological and physical sciences.

In contrast, fixed-term or temporary lecturers are appointed for specific short-term teaching needs. These positions are often non-renewable and are common post-doctoral appointments. In North American terms, a fixed-term lecturer can hold an equivalent rank to assistant professor without tenure. Typically, longer contracts denote greater seniority or higher rank. Teaching fellows may also sometimes be referred to as lecturers—for example, Exeter named some of that group as education and scholarship lecturers (E & S) to recognise the contribution of teaching, and elevate the titles of teaching fellows to lecturers. Some universities also refer to graduate students or others, who undertake ad-hoc teaching for a department sessional lecturers. Like adjunct professors and sessional lecturers in North America, these non-permanent teaching staff are often very poorly paid (as little as £6000 p.a. in 2011-12). These varying uses of the term lecturer cause confusion for non-UK academics.

As a proportion of UK academic staff, the proportion of permanent lectureships has fallen considerably. This is one reason why permanent lectureships are usually secured only after several years of post-doctoral experience. Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in 2013–14, 36 per cent of full- and part-time academic staff were on fixed-term contracts, down from 45 per cent a decade earlier. Over the same period, the proportion of academic staff on permanent contracts rose from 55 per cent to 64 per cent. Others were on contracts classed as "atypical".'[5]

South West Englandis one of nine officialregions of England. It consists of the counties ofBristol,Cornwall(including theIsles of Scilly),Dorset,Devon,Gloucestershire,SomersetandWiltshire. Large cities and towns in the region includeBristol,Bournemouth,Cheltenham,Exeter,Gloucester,PlymouthandSwindon. It is geographically the largest of the nine regions of England covering 9,200 square miles (23,800 km2),[1]but the third least-populous, with approximately five million residents.

The region includes theWest Countryand much of the ancient kingdom ofWessex. It includes two entirenational parks,DartmoorandExmoor(a small part of theNew Forestis also within the region); and fourWorld Heritage Sites:Stonehenge, theCornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, theJurassic Coastand theCity of Bath. The northern part of Gloucestershire, nearChipping Campden, is as close to the Scottish border as it is to the tip of Cornwall.[2]The region has by far the longest coastline of any English region.

The region is at thefirst levelofNUTSforEurostatpurposes. Key data and facts about the region are produced by theSouth West Observatory. Following the abolition of theSouth West Regional AssemblyandGovernment Office, local government coordination across the region is now undertaken bySouth West Councils.

The region is known for its richfolklore, including the legend ofKing ArthurandGlastonbury Tor, as well as its traditions and customs. Cornwall has its own language,Cornish, and some regard it as aCeltic nation. The South West is known forCheddar cheese, which originated in theSomersetvillage ofCheddar; Devoncream teas,crabs,Cornish pasties, andcider. It is home to theEden Project,Aardman Animations, theGlastonbury Festival, theBristol International Balloon Fiesta,trip hopmusic and Cornwall'ssurfingbeaches. The region has also been home to some of Britain's most renowned writers, includingDaphne du Maurier,Agatha ChristieandEnid Blyton, all of whom set many of their works here, and the South West is also the location ofThomas Hardy's Wessex, the setting for many of his best-known novels.

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