Creating Your Research Team

Every research project is unique and so is the research team assembled by you, the Principal Investigator. Below you will find resources to help you assemble your team.

Academic Staff - Research (AS-R)

Academic Staff - Research (AS-R) are Stanford employees hired to work on Stanford research activities. As Stanford employees, Academic Staff-Research are subject to all policies and procedures related to Stanford employment, and receive full staff benefits.

Working in a capacity which ordinarily requires a Ph.D. or its equivalent in research skill and subject knowledge, a Research Associate is involved directly in the execution, and frequently the design, of a PI's research activities. His or her primary purpose is to assist the PI in attaining the goals of the PI's sponsored research projects. A Research Associate may participate in the preparation of proposals, progress, and final reports, and may be the coauthor or sole author of research results. Although not usually engaged in formal classroom teaching, a Research Associate frequently assists in the guidance of graduate students in the laboratory.

Academic Staff - Research includes the titles of:

  • Research Associate: Basic Life Science, Physical Science, Clinical Life, Social Science, Engineering
  • Senior Positions: Senior Research Scientist - Basic Life, Senior Research Scientist - Physical Science, Senior Research Scientist - Clinical Life,  Senior Research Scholar, Senior Research Engineer

See RPH 10.1: Policy and Procedures for Appointment and Promotion:Academic Staff - Research


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Visiting Academic Staff - Research (AS-R)

Visiting Research Associate positions and Visiting Senior Research Associate positions differ from Academic Staff-Research (AS-R) ranks in that the visitor's primary purpose in coming to the University is to collaborate with the Stanford Principal Investigator on research projects of mutual interest, rather than to provide the ongoing staff assistance normally associated with regular AS-R positions. They also differ from Visiting Scholar positions, which are courtesy appointments without Stanford salary support.

See RPH 10.1: Policy and Procedures for Appointment and Promotion: Academic Staff Research

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Visiting Scholars

Scholars established in their field who are visiting Stanford from outside institutions or organizations and are funded from external or personal sources may be recommended by a Department Chair for a fixed-term designation of Visiting Scholar.

Visiting Scholar status is not applicable for enrolled students pursuing advanced degrees at other universities.

Visiting Scholars are not employees or students of the University, and therefore are not entitled to Stanford compensation or other benefits available to regular staff, faculty or students (including health insurance). The Visiting Scholar title may not be used for personnel or payroll purposes. If a department wishes to make a special payment to a Visiting Scholar for participation in a seminar presentation or similar contribution, that should be done through honoraria. If a Visiting Scholar is asked to make a short-term contribution to a research effort, payment of appropriate consulting fees should be arranged.

Visiting Scholar status is a privilege, not a right, and an individual holds this status at the pleasure of Stanford University. The status may be revoked at any time (even during the term of the designated status) by the University within its discretion, without the necessity of a reason. Similarly, there is no right to a renewal of the status at the end of the term.

See RPH 10.5: Visiting Scholars

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Outside Consultants

Outside consultants are retained through the mechanism of a personal services agreement, which is prepared by the Contract Coordinator in the Procurement Department.

For information on how to setup a consulting agreement, see: Purchases Requiring a Bilateral Contract.

See RPH 10.4: Retention of Consultants

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Postdoctoral Scholar

A Stanford postdoctoral scholar is a non-matriculated trainee, in graduate student status, in residence at Stanford University pursuing advanced studies beyond the doctoral level in preparation for an independent career. Postdoctoral Scholars are appointed for a limited period of time and may participate on Stanford research projects and/or may be supported by external awards or fellowships. In all cases, their appointment at Stanford is for the purpose of advanced studies, research, and training under the mentorship of a Stanford faculty member.

Se RPH 10.3: Postdoctoral Scholars

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Visiting Student Researcher

Stanford faculty are sometimes asked to supervise the research of visitors who are not Visiting Scholars under current Stanford policy. The qualifications for appointment as a Visiting Scholar state that a person must hold a Ph.D. (or its equivalent from a country other than the United States) or be a recognized expert in the field.

There are a limited number of instances, however, when it would be to the benefit of Stanford faculty to permit graduate students who have not yet attained the Ph.D. to engage in research on the Stanford campus using Stanford research facilities. Such instances might include students at other universities who are engaged in research at the doctoral level and who are doing research in a field of interest to a Stanford faculty member, or a student who is doing a laboratory rotation as part of a larger research study or grant.

When agreeing to invite such graduate students to conduct research at Stanford, faculty must be mindful of the need to place primary emphasis on providing research opportunities to regularly matriculated Stanford students. In addition, invited students must be qualified to conduct research at a level comparable to that of other Stanford graduate students, and the research must be of benefit to Stanford as well as the visitor.

See RPH 10.7: Procedures for Appointing Visiting Student Researchers


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Graduate Student Assistantship

Graduate Student Assistantships are a form of student employment, earning a compensation package including both salary and tuition allowance (TAL) for the performance of research or teaching services to the University as part of the student’s academic and professional training and development.
The following are Distinct from Assistantships:

  • Fellowships — Fellowship stipends are financial aid, not salary. No service is expected in return for a fellowship; it is awarded on a merit basis to assist a student in the pursuit of a degree.
  • Hourly Employment through Payroll — Graduate students may be employed and paid for work unrelated to the student’s academic and professional training. Such employment is not considered an assistantship appointment, does not generate tuition, and is not processed in GFS (Graduate Financial Support) system.

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Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide, , published by NIH in 2010, is intended for anyone who is currently participating on or leading a research team, considering becoming involved in a research team, or contemplating building a research team.

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