4.2 Research Appointments

4.2.1 The RSAC (Research Staff Appointment Committee)
The RSAC consists of the DFA (Chair), the Provost, the Chair of the Faculty Assembly, and the Executive Vice President. The RSAC considers requests for appointment changes to Staff Scientist and Senior Staff Scientist positions. Requests are expected to originate from the Faculty supervisors of applicants and must be accompanied by a dossier which contains, at a minimum, a CV, a list of publications and / or patents, summary of research achievements, and a statement of research plans. Details can be found in the RSAC handbook. [Link]
The RSAC also reviews the change of appointment from fixed term to continuing term and conducts 5 year reviews of continuing term Senior Staff Scientists, Staff Scientists, and Research Unit Technicians. The RSAC is consulted, when requested by the DFA, regarding STG (Science and Technology Group) and Dean’s Research Group matters.

4.2.2 Faculty appointments are described in Chapter 3 “Faculty Handbook”.

4.2.3 Senior Staff Scientists (*Note: This is to replace Group Leader and Research Specialist)

Senior Staff Scientists belong to a Research Unit and manage and/or supervise a research team under the overall guidance of the Faculty. These positions are for research scientists who have significant research management or supervisory experience. Senior Staff Scientists do not receive independent resources, however, they are expected to perform independent research, to take responsibility for projects, and to achieve leadership recognition internally and externally for their original research and service in the field.
The fundamental definition of a Senior Staff Scientist at the University is as follows:

a. Typically, the appointee has more than 10 years of post-Ph.D. research experience and at least 2 years of research management or supervisory experience.
b. The appointment is fixed term and requires the approval of the Dean of Faculty Affairs. Initial appointment shall not exceed 3 years.
c. Under extraordinary circumstances, a 4th or 5th year renewal is allowed for a Senior Staff Scientist hired from outside OIST. The renewal is to be initiated by the Faculty member and the Senior Staff Scientist and must be approved by the Dean of Faculty Affairs. Total appointment period cannot exceed 5 years.
d. Extension of appointment beyond 5 years is only possible under extraordinary circumstances and requires approval by the Dean of Faculty Affairs.
e. The appointment involves full-time research and scholarship.
f. The appointee works under the guidance of a faculty member.
g. The appointee is expected to publish the results of their research.
h. The appointee may be involved with the pre-thesis and thesis work of students and mentoring of Postdoctoral Scholars and Staff Scientists working in the Research Unit of their Faculty supervisor.

4.2.3.1 Notice of contract termination
Faculty supervisors and their Senor Staff Scientists should discuss contract renewal or termination 6 months prior to the contract end date. Usually contract renewal or termination must be finalized 3 months prior to the contract end date.


4.2.3.2 Total period of non-continuing appointment
When there was a position change to from Staff Scientist to Senior Staff Scientist, under no circumstances should the total period of non-continuing appointment exceed 10 years counting from the fixed term (non-continuing) contract start date or a contract extension executed on or after April 1, 2013.


4.2.3.3 Contract change from fixed term to continuing staff appointment
Continuing staff appointment is based on an employment contract that can be renewed without changes in terms and conditions for the same term period repeatedly until the age of 65, unless either party raises the issue of termination of the employment contract at least three months before the end of the contract term period. Continuing appointments are made by the DFA upon recommendation by the RSAC. Senior Staff Scientists with a continuing staff appointment will be reviewed by the RSAC no less than every 5 years, normally in conjunction with the Research Unit review schedule. Detailed procedures are described in the RSAC Handbook [Link] and RSAC Terms of Reference [Link].

 

4.2.4 Staff Scientists

Staff Scientists belong to a Research Unit. Staff Scientists do not receive independent resources, although they are expected to be capable of working independently and to have sophisticated skills and knowledge essential to the research. Staff Scientists should be capable of designing experiments independently but do not have the responsibility of initiating new research programs.
The fundamental definition of a Staff Scientist at the University is as follows:

a. Typically, the appointee should have more than 5 years of post-Ph.D. research experience and is expected to demonstrate capability to conduct independent research.
b. The appointment is fixed term and requires the approval of the Dean of Faculty Affairs. Initial appointment shall not exceed 3 years.
c. Under extraordinary circumstances, 4th or 5th year renewal is allowed for a Staff Scientist hired outside OIST. The renewal is to be initiated by the Faculty member and the Staff Scientist and must be approved by the Dean of Faculty Affairs. Total appointment period cannot exceed 5 years.
d. Extension of appointment beyond 5 years is only possible under extraordinary circumstances and requires approval by the Dean of Faculty Affairs.
e. The appointment involves full-time research and scholarship.
f. The appointee works under the supervision of a faculty member.
g. The appointee is expected to publish the results of their research.
h. The appointee may be involved with the pre-thesis and thesis work of students and mentoring of Postdoctoral Scholars working in the Research Unit of their Faculty supervisor.

4.2.4.1 Notice of contract termination

Faculty supervisors and their Staff Scientists should discuss contract renewal or termination 6 months prior to the contract end date. Usually contract renewal or termination must be finalized 3 months prior to the contract end date.

4.2.4.2 Total period of non-continuing appointment
When there was a position change from Postdoctoral Scholar to Staff Scientist, under no circumstances should the total period of non-continuing appointment exceed 10 years counting from the fixed term (non-continuing) contract start date or a contract extension executed on or after April 1, 2013.


4.2.4.3 Position change to a Senior Staff Scientist
In exceptional cases, Staff Scientists with fixed-term and continuing contracts may be recommended for a Senior Staff Scientist position. This position change is expected to be rare and the majority of Staff Scientists are expected to leave OIST for positions elsewhere.
The position change is initiated by the Faculty supervisor of the Staff Scientist and reviewed by the RSAC. Detailed procedures are described in the RSAC Handbook [Link] and RSAC Terms of Reference [Link].


4.2.4.4 Contract change from fixed term to continuing staff appointment
Continuing staff appointment is based on an employment contract that can be renewed without changes in terms and conditions for the same term period repeatedly until the age of 65, unless either party raises the issue of termination of the employment contract at least three months before the end of the contract term period. Continuing appointments are made by the DFA upon recommendation by the RSAC.

Staff Scientists with continuing appointments will be reviewed by the RSAC, no less than every five years, normally in conjunction with the Research Unit review schedule. Detailed procedures are described in the RSAC Handbook [Link] and RSAC Terms of Reference [Link].

4.2.5 Postdoctoral Scholars

A Postdoctoral Scholar is an individual who belongs to a Research Unit, recently graduated with a doctoral degree, and is engaged in a temporary period of mentored research and scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue an independent research career of their own choosing.
The fundamental definition of a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University is as follows:


a. Typically, the appointee has been awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., D.Sc., M.D.) in an appropriate field within the past 5 years.
b. Appointment to a postdoctoral position at OIST is not permitted for OIST PhD students within 2 years of the last day of their studentship at OIST. (PRP 5.5.2.6)
c. The appointment is fixed term and requires approval of the Dean of Faculty Affairs. Initial appointment shall not exceed 3 years. However, a 4th or 5th year renewal is to be initiated by the Faculty member and the Postdoctoral Scholar and must be approved by the Dean of Faculty Affairs. Total appointment period cannot exceed 5 years.
d. The appointment involves full-time research and scholarship.
e. The appointee works under the supervision of a faculty member.
f. The appointee is expected to publish the results of their research.
g. The appointee may be involved with the pre-thesis and thesis work of students working in the Research Unit of their Faculty supervisor.
h. The appointment is viewed as preparatory for an independent, full-time career.

4.2.5.1 Postdoc development
Postdoctoral Scholars are responsible for their professional and career development and therefore are allowed 12 hours per year to pursue activities that prepare them for a career of their own choosing. In addition, creation of an Individual Development Plan (IDP) is highly recommended to establish clear career goals and to monitor training progress. The IDP form is to be reviewed by the Faculty supervisor and/or postdoctoral mentor(s) at least annually and cannot be used to evaluate postdoctoral performance.

4.2.5.2 Notice of contract termination

Faculty supervisors and their Postdoctoral Scholars should discuss contract renewal or termination 6 months prior to the contract end date. Usually contract renewal or termination must be finalized 3 months prior to the contract end date.


4.2.5.3 Position change to a Staff Scientist
Exceptional Postdoctoral Scholars may be appointed to a Staff Scientist position if they have been employed by OIST for at least 1 year as a Postdoctoral Scholar and normally have at least 5 years of experience since graduating with a Ph.D.
The position change is initiated by the Faculty supervisor of the Postdoctoral Scholar and reviewed by the Research Staff Appointment Committee (RSAC). The detailed procedures are described in the RSAC Handbook (Link) and RSAC Terms of Reference (Link).


4.2.5.4 Distinguished Postdoctoral Scholars Fellowship
A Distinguished Postdoctoral Scholar is an individual who is a recent Ph.D. of the highest quality, and like regular postdocs should be engaged in a temporary period of mentored research and scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue an independent research career of their own choosing. These individuals are selected by a committee to receive this distinction and are expected to be especially successful in research and have very high academic potential. This category of postdoc has been created to enable OIST to attract the very highest quality of young researchers. Distinguished postdocs will receive, in addition to their title, a salary supplement, a discretionary budget, and the freedom to choose an OIST unit. In order to maintain the fellowship, incoming must make a unit choice within one month of arrival at OIST. The fundamental definition of a Distinguished Postdoctoral Scholar at the university is as follows:


a. The Fellow has been awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., D.Sc., M.D.) in an appropriate field within the past 5 years.
b. The Fellowship is a fixed-term contract. The initial contract is 2 years and it may be extended for an additional year upon approval by the DFA.
c. The Fellowship involves full-time research and scholarship at a Unit of the Fellow’s choosing.
d. The Fellow works under the supervision of a faculty member. Multiple supervisors are acceptable; however, a single unit must be the home unit and sponsors the fellow.
e. The Fellow is expected to publish the results of their research during the Fellowship period.
Details of the selection committee, process, program administration and other fellowship particulars can be found in the associated Handbook. (Link).

 

4.2.6 Research Unit Technicians

A Research Unit Technician is an individual who belongs to a Research Unit and provides technical assistance for the research programs of the Research Unit, under direct instructions from the Unit head or from appropriate researchers of the Unit as designated by the Unit head.
The fundamental definition of a Research Unit Technician at the University is as follows:


a. Definitions for Research Unit Technicians are described in “Guidelines for Title and Job Class” [To be developed].
b. Appointment to a Research Unit Technician position at OIST is not permitted for OIST Ph.D. students within 2 years of the last day of their studentship at OIST. (PRP 5.5.2.6)
c. The appointment is fixed term and requires approval of the Dean of Faculty Affairs. Initial appointment shall not exceed 3 years.
d. These positions are for individuals with the technical or engineering expertise required to conduct research programs in the Research Unit.
e. The appointee works under the supervision of a faculty member.

4.2.6.1 Notice of contract termination
Faculty supervisors and their Research Unit Technicians should discuss contract renewal or termination 6 months prior to the contract end date. Usually contract renewal or termination must be finalized 3 months prior to the contract end date.

4.2.6.2 Total period of non-continuing appointment
Under no circumstances, should the total period of non-continuing appointment exceed 10 years counting from the fixed term (non-continuing) contract start date or a contract extension executed on or after April 1, 2013.


4.2.6.3 Contract change from fixed term to continuing staff appointment
Continuing staff appointment is based on an employment contract that can be renewed without changes in terms and conditions for the same term period repeatedly until the age of 65, unless either party raises the issue of termination of the employment contract at least three months before the end of the contract term period. Continuing appointments are made by the DFA upon recommendation by the RSAC.
Research Unit Technicians with continuing staff appointment will be reviewed by the RSAC no less than every 5 years, normally in conjunction with the Research Unit review schedule. Detailed procedures are described in the RSAC Handbook [Link] and RSAC Terms of Reference [Link].


4.2.6.4 Annual performance evaluations
Annual performance evaluations of the Research Unit Technicians will be done by their supervising faculty.

4.2.7 Dean’s Research Group

The Dean’s Research Group carries out research under the guidance of the Dean of Faculty Affairs, and is used in exceptional circumstances when, for example, there are research staff whose supervisor is no longer capable of supervising them (e.g. is on extended leave)  and where there is no alternative unit or support service which can accommodate them.
Appointment is by the Dean of Faculty Affairs upon recommendation of the RSAC.

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