Research Faculty Ranks


Below you will find more information regarding each rank of Research Faculty.

Click the respective rank you want to learn more about.

General

Qualifications
Recent Ph.D.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

General expectations
The position of postdoctoral associate is intended to be a limited-term traineeship, lasting 2-4 years, during which the individual works under the supervision of one or more senior faculty mentors in preparation for a career in academe or research. Such training may include an opportunity to prepare grant proposals for which the scholar may serve as co-PI (with justification and special approval may serve as PI). If the employee remains at Virginia Tech, he or she should move on to another role or rank, e.g., Research Scientist or Research Assistant Professor.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    May serve as a co-PI with name listed second on contract or grant. In special cases with appropriate justification, post-docs may serve as PI if approved by department head, dean, and research division.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Role designed to enable individual to continue studies in a specialty training program while gaining practical experience in the field.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Limited responsibility for project management.
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    May supervise undergraduate or graduate students in laboratory.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Typically conducts research under supervision of one or more faculty members.

General

Qualifications
Minimum is master's degree in field. An exception may be granted for individuals with bachelor's degrees and significant relevant experience.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean (Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation for exceptions).

General expectations
Entry-level position for research faculty members involved in sponsored projects. Range of responsibilities may vary from relatively new research professional to more experienced professional. Position is generally characterized as requiring supervision.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    Not eligible.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    May provide input into project development, but generally limited or no responsibility or authority for research conceptualization or resource acquisition.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    May provide input into budget preparation, hiring decisions, and/or expenditures, but generally limited responsibility and authority.
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    May supervise or coordinate work of support personnel, but generally limited supervisory responsibilities.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Conducts research under supervision using standard and non-standard procedures appropriate to the field. Recognizes problems and inconsistencies in data; proposes solutions and interpretations. Prepares reports.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree with some experience. An exception may be granted for individuals with lesser degree and substantial related experience.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean (Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation for exceptions).

General expectations
Position requires greater qualifications in either or both education and experience. Expected to function with relative independence and responsibility.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    Not eligible. Exceptions may be requested and approved by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Contributes to research conceptualization, proposal development, and resource acquisition.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Provides input into budget preparation, hiring decisions, and/or expenditures, but may not have final authority or responsibility.
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    Usually has some significant supervisory responsibility for project personnel.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Conducts research under limited supervision using standard and non-standard procedures appropriate to the field. Interprets findings. Prepares reports; presents results.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree and significant experience.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

General expectations
This is a senior role in a research program. By virtue of expertise and experience, the researcher makes significant contributions to the conceptualization and conduct of a project. May be involved in preparation of proposals, reports, and/or publications; presentation of research results; and/or development of patents.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    May serve as PI.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Contributes significantly to project design, execution, and interpretation.
  • Project management: Setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Contributes significantly to project management.
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    May have full or partial supervisory responsibility for project personnel.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Carries out independent research in field of specialization under general supervision.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree appropriate to the field and considerable record of research.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

General expectations
This is the highest rank in the research faculty series for those who do not also have involvement in the graduate program. As the most experienced research faculty, these individuals often develop innovative research proposals, conduct pioneering research, and/or lead multidisciplinary project teams.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    Expected to serve as PI.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Typically responsible for design, execution, and interpretation of research projects, which he or she may head.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Typically significant or complete responsibility for project(s).
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    Typically significant responsibility for supervision of project personnel at all levels.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Carries out independent research in field of specialization.

 

General

Qualifications
Minimum is master's degree in field. An exception may be granted for individuals with bachelor's degrees and significant relevant experience.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean (Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation for exceptions).

General expectations
Entry-level position for research faculty members involved in sponsored projects that provide technical assistance, outreach, consultation, project management, preparation of specialized materials, or delivery of educational or other services, rather than conducting traditional research or scholarship.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    Not eligible. Exceptions may be requested and approved by the research division.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    May provide input into project development, but generally limited or no responsibility or authority for project or program conceptualization or resource acquisition.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    May provide input into budget preparation, hiring decisions, expenditures, but generally limited responsibility and authority.
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    May supervise or coordinate work of support personnel, but generally limited supervisory responsibilities.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Carries out project responsibilities under supervision. Applies accepted principles and practices of field. Prepares written reports, documents, manuals for review by project leaders.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree with some experience. An exception may be granted for individuals with lesser degree and substantial related experience.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean (Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation for exceptions)

General expectations
Position requires greater qualifications in either or both education and experience. Expected to function with relatively high level of independence and responsibility.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    Not eligible. Exceptions may be requested and approved by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Provides significant input into project development; may write or assist in writing proposals; assists in developing new programs and interacting with stakeholder groups or funders.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Provides input into budget preparation, hiring decisions, and/or expenditures, but may not have final authority or responsibility.
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    Usually has some significant supervisory responsibility for project personnel.
  • Program or service delivery: designing and/or delivering training; providing consultation or technical assistance to clients; developing content for manuals, reports, materials; evaluating initiatives
    Carries out project responsibilities with limited supervision. Provides high level of professional service and expertise. Creates original materials requiring high level of knowledge/experience of subject matter.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree and 2 or more years' experience. An exception may be granted for individuals with lesser degree and related experience of substantial scope and duration.

Approval requirements
Department head, dean, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

General expectations
Project directors or leaders provide considerable subject matter expertise and leadership for the program, project, or center. They typically have significant independence, responsibility, and authority for all aspects of the project. May also serve as Assistant Center Director combining responsibility for business and administrative affairs of large center, effectively acting as Assistant Center Director.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    May serve as PI; expected to serve as director or manager of project.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Typically responsible for design and execution of program or project, which he or she may head. Significant interaction with stakeholders.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Typically significant or complete responsibility for project(s).
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    Typically significant responsibility for hiring and management of project personnel at all levels.
  • Program or service delivery: designing and/or delivering training; providing consultation or technical assistance to clients; developing content for manuals, reports, materials; evaluating initiatives.
    Designs and coordinates project services, evaluates project effectiveness, develops strategic plans, assigns resources.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree appropriate to the field. Credentials consistent for appointment to rank of assistant professor.

Approval requirements
Standard departmental procedures, usually recommendation from departmental committee, and approval by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

General expectations
The "research professor" series is designed for research faculty members who will have extended appointments at Virginia Tech and who are expected to interact with graduate students — serving on committees or supervising their research, for example. It is not appropriate for those with shorter-term or limited appointments since this would disadvantage the students they might work with. Faculty in this series may teach one course per year or two courses in a two-year period. They may teach more if funding is appropriately charged to the instructional budget. This series is parallel to Research Scientist and Senior Research Scientist, not necessarily above it.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    May serve as PI.
    Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    May serve as PI.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Contributes significantly to project design, execution, and interpretation.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Contributes significantly to project management.
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    May have full or partial supervisory responsibility for project personnel.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Carries out independent research in field of specialization under general supervision.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree appropriate to the field. Credentials consistent for appointment to rank of associate professor.

Approval requirements
Standard departmental procedures, usually recommendation from departmental committee, and approval by Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

General expectations
The "research professor" series is designed for research faculty members who will have extended appointments at Virginia Tech and who are expected to interact with graduate students — serving on committees or supervising their research, for example. It is not appropriate for those with shorter-term or limited appointments since this would disadvantage the students they might work with. Faculty in this series may teach one course per year or two courses in a two-year period. They may teach more if funding is appropriately charged to the instructional budget. This series is parallel to Research Scientist and Senior Research Scientist, not necessarily above it.

Salary guidelines
Salaries should be comparable to those with similar credentials and responsibilities as assistant, associate, and instructional professors of the same or comparable discipline. Exceptions may be requested and approved by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. 

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    Expected to serve as PI.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Typically responsible for design, execution, and interpretation of research projects, which he or she may head.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Typically significant or complete responsibility for project(s).
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    Typically significant responsibility for supervision of project personnel at all levels.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Carries out independent research in field of specialization.

General

Qualifications
Doctorate or terminal degree appropriate to the field. Credentials consistent for appointment to rank of professor.

Approval requirements
Standard departmental procedures, usually recommendation from departmental committee, and approval by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

General expectations
The "research professor" series is designed for research faculty members who will have extended appointments at Virginia Tech and who are expected to interact with graduate students -- serving on committees or supervising their research, for example. It is not appropriate for those with shorter-term or limited appointments since this would disadvantage the students they might work with. Faculty in this series may teach one course per year or two courses in a two-year period. They may teach more if funding is appropriately charged to the instructional budget. This series is parallel to Research Scientist and Sr. Research Scientist, not necessarily above it.

Typical job responsibilities

  • Eligible or expected to be Principal Investigator?
    Expected to serve as PI.
  • Design and initiation of research: conceiving the research project, interacting with stakeholders/committees, developing funding source(s), communicating results to stakeholders, defining unit goals, allocating resources
    Typically responsible for design, execution, and interpretation of research projects, which he or she may head.
  • Project management: setting priorities, acquiring resources, monitoring budgets, measuring progress, preparing reports, problem-solving
    Typically significant or complete responsibility for project(s).
  • Supervisory: assigning tasks, monitoring activity, performing evaluations, recommending personnel actions, personnel management
    Typically significant responsibility for supervision of project personnel at all levels.
  • Conducting research: collecting data, applying standard methods, writing reports, communicating results, developing new methods
    Carries out independent research in field of specialization.

For more information regarding becoming a PI, please see the following webpage from OSP.