H. Senior Research Fellows

(1) Description

The Senior Research Fellow position is the highest non-faculty research position at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). The criteria for appointment to Senior Research Fellow are sufficient independence, stature, and national or international reputation in the field to qualify for a tenured appointment at a major research university.

Senior Research Fellows conduct independent research necessary to the intellectual pursuits of a department or research center. This appointment comes with principal investigator rights and does not require close faculty supervision. A need for this appointment must be demonstrated by the department or center. (Note: When a Senior Research Fellow is hired to work in a center, the appointing unit must be a department, not the center itself, and all the search procedures outlined in 13.H.4 (“Steps: Appointment to Senior Research Fellow”) must be followed, including a departmental vote.) The appointment is contingent on funding and space, and Senior Research Fellows must be self-funded through grants on a continuing basis.

The appointment is of unspecified duration and implies that the University anticipates a continuing need for the individual’s services, but in the event that the need or funding disappears and no suitable alternative employment is available within the University, the appointment may be terminated on ordinarily twelve months’ notice from the point that the individual’s funding runs out. In such cases, the individual retains his/her/their appointment until the termination date, but the FAS has no financial responsibility for the individual from the point that the funding has run out.

Feedback on performance will be provided on an annual basis. The appointment is ordinarily full-time; exceptions must be justified. Under no circumstances will such an appointment be made for a project or program wholly dependent upon the presence or continuing interest of a single faculty member.

The Office for Faculty Affairs, in conjunction with the divisional deans and the John A. Paulson Dean of SEAS, 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

Senior Research Fellows are paid at a rate commensurate with experience, in consultation with the assistant dean for faculty affairs.

(3) Search Flowchart: Senior Research Fellow (SRF)

 

Senior Research Fellows Search Flowchart

 

(4) Steps: Appointment to Senior Research Fellow

 

 

Step

Explanation

1

The department chair writes to the divisional dean requesting authorization for the search.

 

Note: Senior Research Fellow searches are often targeted.

The letter should address:

  • The name of the search committee chair, who will have primary responsibility for ensuring that the search follows proper process, and the names of the three or four senior faculty members who will serve on the committee.
  • A description of the field or area of field.
  • How the anticipated appointment is expected to serve the needs of the department.
  • The identification of space (office and/or studio) to house the fellow and any other important resource considerations.

2

The divisional dean reviews the request

In consultation with the Edgerley Family Dean of the FAS, the divisional dean reviews individual requests in light of divisional priorities and resources (including space). If the search is authorized, the divisional dean writes to the department, setting out the conditions of the search.

3

If the search is not targeted, the department advertises the position, makes inquiries at other institutions, and follows its standard procedures to review candidates.

If the search is targeted, the department moves directly to Step 4.

All advertising copy must be reviewed and approved by the assistant dean for the division before it is submitted to the appropriate journals and other venues. Advertisements and inquiries should describe the position broadly and should list a date after which the department will stop accepting applications, or the department can encourage candidates to apply by a specific date, while indicating that applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Advertisements should clearly state required documents and 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.” Please note that print advertisements are not required for research appointments; online ads are sufficient. Candidates should be asked to submit a research statement as part of their application materials.

4

The department requests authorization from the divisional dean to solicit external evaluation letters. With the request, the department should submit a draft of the letter soliciting evaluations and a recipient list (see Sample Table).

The letter soliciting external evaluations should include:

  • The criteria for appointment to a Senior Research Fellow position at Harvard.
  • An indication that the University will make every effort possible to keep the response confidential and will make it available only to the senior members of the department and others directly involved in the formal review process.
  • A request that the letter writer identify candidates from diverse populations, including women and minorities, who might be suitable for the position.
  • The deadline for receipt of responses and contact information.

The content of the letter must be discussed with the relevant divisional assistant dean and approved by the divisional dean.

The recipient list (see Sample Table) should include tenured associate professors or tenured full professors who are external to Harvard. The list should be in alphabetical order and include title/current rank, home institution, year of doctorate (if available), a link to the scholar’s website, email address, and whether the scholar has been the candidate's Ph.D. advisor, postdoctoral advisor, or co-author. It is expected that the list will be diverse, including gender and racial/ethnic diversity.

5

The search committee sends out letters to obtain eight to ten letters of reference from external scholars or, as appropriate, highly accomplished senior researchers from corporations or research institutes, or well-established museum professionals or practicing artists in the field

With the letter, the committee should include the candidate’s CV, including a list of publications, and the candidate’s research statement.

 

6

The search committee reviews letters and the case and reports to the department. The senior members of the department/area vote on the case. After a favorable vote, the dossier is sent to the assistant dean for the division.

After the members of the search committee have reviewed all materials, the chair of the search committee reports to the department. The senior members of the department/area vote on the case. After a favorable vote, the dossier is sent to the assistant dean for the division. Please securely send one electronic copy of the dossier to the assistant dean. Please follow HUIT’s recommended practices for secure document transfer (e.g., Accellion Kiteworks, encryption, etc.), which can vary by user platform.

The case statement in the dossier includes:

  • If the search was not targeted, a statement describing the steps taken to identify candidates from diverse populations, including women and minorities; a description of how the leading candidate was identified; a description of how many diverse individuals applied or were considered; comparison of the candidate with all other leading candidates (in particular, women and minorities), and reasons why the other leading candidates were not chosen.
  • The case for appointing the candidate, including an analysis of the professional evaluations of the candidate by eminent scholars or professionals in the field and a comparison of the candidate’s professional qualifications with those carrying out the best research in the field.
  • Evidence that the candidate has sufficient independence, stature, and national reputation in the candidate’s field to qualify for a tenured professorial appointment at a major research university.
  • A discussion of:
    • The availability of research space.
    • Any potential incremental costs to the budget of the Faculty.
    • All special facilities or equipment needed for the research program, whether or not they will be provided by Harvard.
    • A record of the department vote, by name.
  • A description of any plans to recommend the candidate for teaching and identification of the source of teaching funds.
  • Justification for any plans to offer a part-time appointment and a careful examination of the nature of the individual’s other affiliations, if any. The possibility of conflicts of interest, conflicts of commitment, and potential problems regarding proprietary rights to research results must be considered with particular care. Requests for exceptions must be endorsed by the recommending department.
  • Departmental policies governing the approval of research topics, student progress, and degrees, if it is anticipated that graduate students will work under the candidate’s direction.

For a full checklist of what the dossier should include, please see below. 

7

The Committee on Appointments and Promotions reviews the dossier

The Committee on Appointments and Promotions (CAP) reviews the dossier and advises the Edgerley Family Dean of the FAS on whether the case warrants appointment.  

8

If the decision is favorable, the offer letter is issued by the divisional dean

  • The offer letter contains information on the title, appointment, salary, benefits, responsibilities, and research policies. The offer letter should cc Roanne Bosch (roannebosch@fas.harvard.edu), the Communications and Outreach Coordinator in FAS Research Administration Services.  Roanne will assign the senior research fellow any required trainings applicable to FAS/SEAS faculty and Principal Investigators named on sponsored projects.
  • Any revisions to the initial offer must be made in writing. 1 electronic PDF of a signed copy of the revised offer letter must be securely sent to the Office for Faculty Affairs. Please follow HUIT’s recommended practices for secure document transfer (e.g., Accellion Kiteworks, encryption, etc.), which can vary by user platform.
  • The candidate’s acceptance of an offer of appointment is made in writing to the divisional dean.

9

If the offer is accepted, the final dossier is compiled and sent to the Appointments Office, and the appointment is processed in the Aurora system by the department

  • The department sends 1 electronic PDF copy of the dossier, including the signed offer letter and the candidate’s acceptance, to the Appointments Office in the Office for Faculty Affairs via Aurora.
  • The department delivers the original I-9 form and any necessary payroll documents to Central Payroll.
  • The department administrator will remind the faculty member to sign electronically the Harvard University Participation Agreement by the start of their appointment.

Departments should retain documents according to practices recommended by Harvard Archives at

https://grs.harvard.edu/ (please log in).                                  

 

(5)  Dossier Checklist:  Appointment to Senior Research Fellow

Please securely send an electronic copy of the preliminary dossier to the assistant dean for the division (AD). Please follow HUIT’s recommended practices for secure document transfer (e.g., Accellion Kiteworks, encryption, etc.), which can vary by user platform. To facilitate storing and sharing of files, please name the file as follows: a) alpha-numeric characters only (no dashes, commas, slashes, etc.)  b) [Last Name] [First Name] [Department Name] SRF dossier [numerical Month, Date, and Year of dossier submission: XX YY ZZ]. E.g., Smith John Psychology SRF dossier 1 4 15.  c) If a dossier is revised and resubmitted, please repeat the original title, followed by “rev” and [Month of resubmission] [Date of resubmission] [Year of resubmission].  E.g., Smith John Psychology SRF dossier 1 4 15 rev 1 15 15.

After the offer is finalized, please send 1 electronic PDF copy of the final dossier to the Appointments Office in the Office for Faculty Affairs via Aurora. Please use the naming convention outlined above. Departments should retain documents according to practices recommended by Harvard Archives at https://grs.harvard.edu/ (please log in).

 

______1.     Authorization letter for the search.

______2.     If the search was not targeted, the Departmental EEO Report displaying aggregate demographic data from the search, available through ARIeS.

______3.     Case statement (including department/SEAS area vote by name).  Note: The case statement must include a description of all efforts to identify candidates from diverse populations, including women and minorities.

______4.    Candidate’s curriculum vitae, including details of the candidate’s Harvard affiliation, if any, and a list of publications.

______5.    Research statement.

______6.    Information on current and pending funding.

______7.    A copy of the letter soliciting evaluations from external letter writers and the recipient list (see Sample Table), indicating who did and did not reply.

______8.   Eight to ten external letters.

______9.   Copies of all advertisements, if applicable.

 

Note: The candidate should not solicit student (or postdoc) letters, and any unsolicited student (or postdoc) letters will not be included in the dossier.

 

To be added to the final dossier after the offer is finalized:

_____10.      A copy of the offer letter and all subsequent emendations to it.

_____11.     A copy of the candidate’s letter of acceptance.

 

After the offer is finalized, please securely send 1 electronic PDF copy of the final signed offer letter to the AD. Please follow HUIT’s recommended practices for secure document transfer (e.g., Accellion Kiteworks, encryption, etc.), which can vary by user platform.

Please deliver the original I-9 form and any necessary payroll documents to Central Payroll.