Research Scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School are an integral part of the School’s research community and its mission. The research scientist track was initiated in 1998 with the dual goals of recruiting highly qualified doctoral-level researchers for long-term or large-scale projects, and of providing these accomplished scientists with the opportunity to progress along a meaningful path of career advancement and recognition. While these are not faculty appointments at Harvard Chan School, at other institutions individuals in these roles frequently hold research faculty appointments and are sometimes comparable to the title “Research Professor” elsewhere.
In addition to conducting research themselves, research scientists ordinarily provide a degree of project leadership that is appropriate to their rank. While it is neither required nor expected that research scientists engage in non-research activities ordinarily undertaken by faculty – such as teaching, serving on a dissertation committee, serving as principal investigator of a grant, or serving on national or international advisory panels – many do.
Prerequisites for appointment on the research scientist track include a doctoral degree and relevant postdoctoral experience. These non-faculty academic appointments are ordinarily full-time. Appointments are three years for entry (research scientist) and intermediate (senior research scientist) levels, and five years for the highest level (principal research scientist). All appointments can be renewed indefinitely as long as the need for the position continues, the funding for the position is available, and the expectations for performance are met.