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Regulation of Research AppointmentsACA-20

Policy Statement

Research Ranks

A three-rank system exists for those researchers who typically hold the terminal degree and postdoctorate experience (or its equivalent) and who are employed by Indiana University for strictly research responsibilities. It is suggested that the research ranks be given the following rank codes and titles:

IR97 Assistant Scientist (or Assistant Scholar)*

IR96 Associate Scientist (or Associate Scholar)*

IR95 Senior Scientist (or Senior Scholar)*

Note: *The choice of Scientist or Scholar would be determined by discipline.

A separate rank code and title should be used for those individuals with lesser qualifications who are assigned to research jobs which are routine and supervised but call for qualifications and responsibilities greater than those of technicians (rank code TE). In addition, persons working at Indiana University as postdoctoral fellows shall be designated as postdoctoral fellows (rank code IR98).

The three-rank system is regarded as a career ladder framework, with appropriate policies and procedures for appointment, annual review, and promotion. The creation of positions within the three-rank system, advertising for qualified candidates, selection and appointment procedures, annual review, promotion, and termination would be under well-defined procedures administered through Administration academic units by the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and further subject to the policies, rules, and procedures of the Campus Affirmative Action Plan as administered by the Affirmative Action Officer. Postdoctoral Fellows are eligible to apply for a position in one of the research ranks under certain conditions upon satisfactory completion of the terms of the postdoctorate. Qualified research appointees are eligible to apply for openings in the three-rank system but are not considered automatically for promotion to the beginning rank. The policies and procedures of the University Affirmative Action Plan would apply in determining eligibility for any of the research ranks and for determining eligibility of a person holding a research rank for any other University appointment.

Qualifications for Rank. The qualifications for each of the three research ranks are roughly equivalent to those set forth in the area of research for members of the faculty. Typically a candidate for the rank of Assistant Scientist would have to have completed the terminal degree in his or her discipline and, in some fields, have at least one year of successful postdoctoral research experience. A person at this rank would be fully capable of original, independent research work but would typically work under the direction of a senior faculty member or an Associate Scientist or a Senior Scientist.

A person at the rank of Associate Scientist would have begun to establish a national reputation through published work and would typically have responsibility for carrying out independently, as principal investigator, projects of his or her own devising. Normally a person should have achieved a minimum of three years of successful research as reflected in published work in refereed sources before attaining or being appointed to the rank of Associate Scientist.

A Senior Scientist would have shown a career of continued growth in scholarship which has brought a national or international reputation as a first-class researcher who has made substantial contributions to his or her discipline.

(Board of Trustees, February 7, 1981; additional information was obtained from Bloomington Faculty Council March 18, 1980)

[NOTE: Since the date of policy adoption, the rank codes have changed to: Assistant Scientist or Assistant Scholar (RS1); Associate Scientist or Associate Scholar (RS2); Senior Scientist or Senior Scholar (RS3), Postdoctoral Fellow (RSP); and Research Associate (RSS).]


The following additional title is used for part-time research appointees. Where ranks are included in the title, appointment should be at the rank that would be given were that individual being appointed as a research scientist. Changes from these appointments to regular research scientists should follow the customary University procedures. Where the individual is employed in these positions on a continuing or recurrent basis, reappointment and promotion in rank must go through normal University procedures.

The term “part-time” follows the designation of rank (e.g., Assistant Scientist—Part Time). These appointees devote only part of their time to the duties of a research scientist. They may also be gainfully employed in other activities, either with the University or elsewhere.

(University Faculty Council, October 13, 1992; Board of Trustees, February 2, 1993)

Research Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows

The title of Research Associate is limited to those research personnel who are not qualified for a research rank but whose positions call for full-time research under the supervision of a faculty member or a person holding a research rank. Persons working at the University as postdoctoral fellows shall be designated as postdoctoral fellows.

(Board of Trustees, February 7, 1981)

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