Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Faculty Affairs Office

Research Staff Titles and Descriptions

Research associates typically hold the PhD, MD, or equivalent terminal degree in their discipline; have received equivalent professional recognition; or have demonstrated exceptional artistic abilities. They are primarily involved in laboratory (rather than clinical) research, although they are not principal investigators except with the written approval of the vice president for research. They are not members of the faculty and are ineligible for tenure. Research associates may be appointed for a term of up to three years.

Senior research associates work in the conduct of research and, after receiving the doctoral or equivalent terminal degree, have at least ten years of experience as research associates, or equivalent positions, and have demonstrated significant research achievements in the form of publications, patents, or other measures of research accomplishment. They are primarily involved in laboratory (rather than clinical) research, although they are not principal investigators except with the written approval of the vice president for research. They are not members of the faculty and are ineligible for tenure. Senior research associates may be appointed for a term of up to three years.

Clinical research associates typically hold an advanced qualification, including RN or MS or MA. They are primarily involved in administration of clinical trials and should have experience and expertise in running such trials. Individuals holding MD or PhD degrees who are involved in clinical research may also be appointed as clinical research associates. They do not serve as principal investigators on research projects, except with the written approval of the vice president for research. They are not members of the faculty and are ineligible for tenure. Clinical research associates may be appointed for a term of up to three years.

Senior clinical research associates participate in the conduct of clinical research and have at least ten years of experience as clinical research associates, or equivalent positions. They typically hold an advanced qualification, including RN or MS or MA, or are individuals holding MD or PhD degrees who are involved in clinical research, and have demonstrated significant research achievements in the form of publications, patents, or other measures of research accomplishment. They are primarily involved in clinical research, although they are not principal investigators in the conduct of research, except with the written approval of the vice president for research. They are not members of the faculty and are ineligible for tenure. Senior clinical research associates may be appointed for a term of up to three years.

Post-baccalaureate research fellows are individuals with recently granted baccalaureate or master degrees. Under the direction of a faculty supervisor, the post-baccalaureate fellow supports the research efforts of the research laboratory or group. Depending on the scientific discipline and phase of research, they may design, prepare and run experiments; review scientific literature; prepare reports and presentations; develop and present theories and hypotheses; design and build experimental apparatus; operate research equipment; prepare samples for testing and perform a variety of research related activities in support of the research project. The individual's degree must be in a related discipline of the supporting research laboratory or group. No more than six months may have transpired between the date of graduation and the position start date. In general, post-baccalaureate fellows may not be appointed for less than nine months or more than twelve. Exceptions to these appointment term limits may be made for individuals with documented job offers and/or acceptance to graduate school. Post-baccalaureate fellows may only be appointed with full-time, paid exempt status.

More information on Research Staff Appointments.