D. Research Associates

(1) Description

This appointment is made to enable individuals, who have held at least one postdoctoral fellowship, to continue their research under the general supervision of one or more Harvard faculty members. While more advanced than postdoctoral fellows, research associates still engage in mentored training to enable them to become independent researchers. They can assist in the mentorship of postdoctoral fellows as part of their professional development. Individuals receiving this appointment will possess a doctoral degree at the time of appointment and ordinarily will have had at least three years of postdoctoral experience.

The appointment, which is contingent on funding, is ordinarily made for one year, for a total of up to five years, and is ordinarily full-time. If a part-time appointment is requested, justification must be given to and approved by the assistant dean. Particular attention must be given to the nature of the other affiliation, if any, due to possible conflicts of interest or commitment and to ensure appropriate effort reporting, as well as any other issues that may arise. Feedback on performance will be provided on an annual basis. An annual reappointment letter must be submitted for reappointment to this rank. The reappointment letter should include the dates of the reappointment, new salary and/or pay source information, and should outline any changes to the appointment since the original appointment offer letter. Reappointment to the research associate position beyond five years (whether full-time or part-time) is not possible.

Research associates may not be designated as “principal investigator,” “project director,” or "co-PI" without the explicit approval of the divisional dean. (Please see the “Application for the Exceptional Granting of FAS or SEAS Principal Investigator Rights” form, available on the “Forms” page of the FAS website for faculty and researchers.)

The Office for Faculty Affairs, in consultation with the Committee on Research Policy, will monitor appointments in this category regularly, reviewing numbers in rank, length of service, salary ranges, etc.

Note: Members of the FAS and University community are expected to familiarize themselves with, and conform to, Harvard policies on teaching, research, and service, as appropriate to their position. Please see Chapter 2, “FAS and University Policies,” for more information.

In keeping with Harvard University’s Intellectual Property policies (https://vpr.harvard.edu/pages/intellectual-property-policy) and other research policies, faculty and researchers are expected to sign electronically the Harvard University Participation Agreement by the start of their appointment.

(2) Salary

In AY 2021-2022 prior to January 1, 2022, the minimum base salary for a research associate was $50,000. Effective January 1, 2022, this base salary minimum changed to $52,000 for newly hired research associates. For research associates hired before January 1, 2022, this change in base salary minimum to $52,000 will take effect upon their next annual reappointment or by July 1, 2022, whichever date comes first. The salary minimum continues to apply to both internal and external research associates. This position can only be paid as salaried with benefits; it cannot be paid as a stipend.

(3) Appointment/Search Procedures

No search is required for:

a. Reclassifications from appointments as postdoctoral fellows.

b. Appointments to be paid through Harvard through fellowships or grants awarded directly to the research associate. (Three letters of recommendation are required.)

c. Appointments of individuals who move to Harvard as part of an ongoing research team under the supervision of a newly appointed ladder or senior faculty member.

d. Appointments involving transfer from “unpaid through Harvard” to “paid through Harvard” status when there is a temporary need to prevent the interruption of research due to lapses in outside funding.

A search is required for all other appointments. Departments or principal investigators should place an advertisement in an appropriate professional journal, indicating the availability of positions in their areas. Other suggested recruitment methods include posting open positions on the department’s webpage, making direct inquiries in the service of developing a diverse pool, and consulting lists of diverse individuals, including women and minorities. Advertising copy must indicate that Harvard is “an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, protected veteran status, disability, genetic information, military service, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or other protected status.” Care should be taken to avoid language that could be construed as discriminatory with regard to age. 

As departments or principal investigators must obtain three letters of recommendation for the finalist before any offer can be made, they may wish to indicate in the advertisement that candidates should submit with their application either contact information for three references or else three reference letters. All recommendation letters should be from experts at the ladder faculty ranks; it may be appropriate to include highly accomplished senior researchers from corporations or research institutes, or well-established museum professionals or practicing artists.

Please note that print advertisements are not required for research appointments; online ads are sufficient.

(4) Documentation Requirements

The department must submit items a.-e. below to the Appointments Office in the Office for Faculty Affairs via Aurora and deliver item f. to Central Payroll:

a. 1 electronic PDF copy of the candidate’s curriculum vitae.

b. 1 electronic PDF copy of the “Affirmative Action Form” available from the FAS Faculty Affairs Appointments Office.

c. Copies of all advertisements.

d. 1 electronic PDF copy of three recommendation letters for the finalist (per Section 3, “Appointment/Search Procedures”).

e. 1 electronic PDF copy of a research associate offer letter/letter of agreement between the candidate and principal investigator. Please cc Roanne Bosch (roannebosch@fas.harvard.edu), the Communications and Outreach Coordinator in FAS Research Administration Services.  Roanne will assign the postdoctoral fellow any required trainings applicable to FAS/SEAS faculty and Principal Investigators named on sponsored projects.

f. Original, completed I-9 form and any necessary payroll documents. (If the research associate is paid as an employee, an I-9 form is required for a first appointment or after a break in service of one year or more. Note: If a valid I-9 is already on file, this is indicated in the recommendation letter.)

    Departments should retain documents according to practices recommended by Harvard Archives at https://grs.harvard.edu/ (please log in).