5.1 - Research Appointment Structure

Two types of research appointments are described in the following sections: long-term appointments, which are classified as sponsored research staff appointments, with the exception of the Senior Research Scientist/Associate/ Engineer position; and short-term appointments, which are, in general, classified as academic research appointments.

The purpose of the campus research appointment structure is to create professional sponsored research staff categories with employee benefits and privileges in order to encourage long-term research careers at MIT. The concept of long-term professional careers, independent of classroom teaching and supported entirely from research grants, is not a new one for the American research university. This mode of research, with professionals working in departments, laboratories, and centers, is an important mechanism for universities to maintain research viability, enter new fields, and bring researchers to the campus.

Short-term academic research appointments at MIT fulfill a variety of needs. For those who have recently received a doctorate, they provide an opportunity for two or three years of broader experience before entering professional careers at a university or in business, industry, or government. The postdoctoral fellow and postdoctoral associate are typical of such appointments.

For those who entered their professions immediately after receiving a doctorate or lesser degree, such appointments provide an exposure to new knowledge and techniques arising out of university research. This group often includes professors on sabbatical leave and research personnel from business and industry who come to MIT as visiting scholars for a year or two.

Others, whose education emphasized training in the specifics of their profession, find an opportunity to master basic concepts on which to build new knowledge in a variety of fields. Executives from business, science, and engineering frequently come to MIT for this purpose. The Institute welcomes such individuals to its campus and values highly the benefits derived from their presence, including their significant contributions to the MIT research program.

Every person sharing the facilities of the Institute for more than a week or two (i.e., not a transient visitor) should be registered as a regular or special student; be appointed to the instructing, research, or other staff; or be given an appointment in one of the following categories.