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Guidelines for Research Faculty

January 2012

Table of Contents

  1. Search Waivers
  2. Sample Offer Letter
  3. Prospective Employee Expenses and Moving Costs
  4. Terms of Employment Contracts
  5. Research Faculty Privileges
  6. Compensation and Benefits
  7. Reporting

Search Waivers

The creation of a research faculty position may be associated with specific extramural funding, the participation of a specific individual, recruitment packages for senior faculty, spousal hires and other special circumstances. In these cases, requests to appoint previously identified individuals to research faculty positions that are not the result of a competitive search should be made to the Director of the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) prior to any commitments being made to a specified candidate. OIE provides a search waiver form for requesting the appointment of a specific individual, which can be found at:

The search waiver request requires a description of the responsibilities of the position, a description of the source(s) of funding used to support the position and an explanation for why the individual should be appointed to the position without conducting a competitive search. The search waiver form requires approval from the Director of OIE and the Vice President for Research. The appointment date cannot pre-date the final Vice President for Research approval date.

Authorization for searches and search waivers at a regional campus will be handled by the Affirmative Action Officer at the individual campus.

Sample Offer Letter

On behalf of (Dean/Center Director), it is my pleasure to extend to you an offer for the position of Research (Assistant Professor/Associate Professor/Professor) in the (Department/Unit). This appointment is subject to approval by the Vice President for Research of Purdue University.

Your initial appointment will be for the period (start date – end date) and is contingent upon the continued availability of research funding. Continuation of this appointment beyond (end date) is possible, contingent upon availability of funds and satisfactory performance. Your initial full-time (academic year or fiscal year) salary will be ($) and will be reviewed annually. This appointment is without tenure/not tenure-track.

For academic year appointments: Your base academic year (AY) salary will be $[Salary] paid in 10 installments during the academic year (salary distributed over 9 months with partial payments in August and May and full payments September to April). Salary increases are based entirely on merit and will be reviewed annually. Your initial appointment will be for the period [start date – end date] and is contingent upon the continued availability of research funding. Continuation of this appointment beyond [end date] is possible, contingent upon availability of funds and satisfactory performance. This appointment is without tenure/not tenure-track.

You also have the opportunity to augment your salary in the summer up to 12 additional weeks from research grants (subject to Research Faculty Funding Guidelines).

As an academic year employee, you will be entitled to vacation when classes are not in session and you are not in pay status.

For offers at rank below Professor and 50 CUL or greater: You may be considered for promotion in rank. Advancement through the academic ranks will be via the academic review process outlined by the (academic department or center) and based upon research accomplishment.

Your responsibilities will include (position specific duties).

For positions 50 CUL or greater: In addition to salary, Purdue University provides a fringe benefit package that includes retirement benefits as well as medical, disability and life insurance. The University provides a 403(b) defined contribution retirement plan, and you will be eligible for university-funded contributions immediately. Upon hire, the University will contribute an amount equal to 10 percent of your budgeted salary (and summer earnings) to the 403(b) plan, and you will be required to contribute 4 percent of your budgeted salary (and summer earnings) to Purdue’s 401(a) defined contribution retirement plan. Voluntary savings options are also available upon hire. Other fringe benefits, including medical, disability and life insurance are described in the University Faculty and Staff Handbook, accessed on the Web via the following link: staff_handbook/.

Moving allowance if applicable: In order to assist you with your move to Purdue, you will be provided a moving allowance of ($). This lump-sum payment represents taxable income and taxes will be withheld from the payment. If these funds are used for qualified moving expenses per current Internal Revenue Service guidelines, income taxes withheld may be recovered on your tax return. Please consult your tax advisor. The procedures and available discount options associated with this allowance will be sent to you under separate cover once an acceptance has been received. Should you elect to voluntarily resign your position within 12 months of your hire date, you may be required to refund this moving allowance to the university.

Moving expense if applicable: Moving expenses will be reimbursed up to an amount of ($).

Please indicate your acceptance of this offer by returning a signed copy of this letter by (date response required).

Prospective Employee Expenses and Moving Costs

Travel expenses for prospective research faculty may be charged to an extramural funding source when allocable.

Moving allowances or reimbursements for new research faculty positions will be allowable as a direct charge to the extramural accounts funding the salary. Where multiple extramural accounts are involved, the moving expenses should be prorated across all accounts funding the position.

When moving costs are charged to federal funds and the funding sources of the appointment change during the first 12 months, the allocation of the moving costs must be revised to be consistent with the distribution of effort for the first 12 months of employment.

When a moving allowance/reimbursement is paid to an employee from federal sponsored program funds and the employee resigns for reasons within their control within 12 months after hire, the institution will be required to refund or credit such moving costs to the federal government. Moving allowance charges in these instances should be reallocated to general or other unrestricted funds. Departments may seek reimbursement of the moving allowance/reimbursement from the individual if the offer letter contains language indicating the individual’s liability if they resign within 12 months.

Terms of Employment Contracts

Research Faculty are subject to the provisions of the Terms and Conditions of Employment of Faculty Members policy (Executive Memorandum No. B-50), as updated or superseded. The term of employment contracts for new appointments or the extension of appointments may not exceed three years.

A Form 19 (Appointment to the Faculty) is processed to initiate or extend a research faculty appointment. The term of employment contracts for new appointments or extension of appointments cannot be for more than three (3) year intervals.

The Form 19 should indicate the following:

  • The period of appointment will include the appointment dates and the “End Signifies” field should be marked “Termination Date without Further Notice.” The Form 19 will serve as both the appointment form and the termination notice.
  • A Form 19E – Notice of Non-renewal of Contract will not be needed.
  • The Faculty Tenure Status must indicate b) Not eligible for Tenure.
  • The offer letter should be referenced on the contract, indicating the date of the offer letter.

Contract dates will be entered into the Human Resources Contract Warning System and will be reflected in HR Master Data. Human Resources will generate a report the first of each month which will include contracts that are ending that particular month. The report will be sent to the college/school/center business office for review and action. In situations involving continuing appointments, a contract extension must be processed. In situations where appointments will not be continuing, a Personnel Action Form (PA) must be processed if all University employment is terminating.

Further questions on this topic can be addressed to the Human Resources department for your campus.

Research Faculty Privileges

  1. Mentoring

    Research Faculty may be members of the graduate faculty and serve as co-mentors and members of graduate advisory committees for graduate students. Research faculty appointed in or affiliated with degree-granting units, may serve as major professors for graduate students, subject to the policies and procedures of the affiliating department and the Graduate School.

  2. Committees

    Research faculty may not be elected to the University Senate and are not eligible to serve on tenure-track faculty promotion and tenure committees. Research faculty at the associate and full ranks may serve on unit promotion committees considering promotion of research faculty to a rank equivalent to or lower than the research faculty committee member.

  3. Eligibility for Internal Funding and Research Awards

    Research faculty are eligible to compete for funding from competitive trust programs and research awards administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research. Eligibility to compete for other internal funding and college/school based research awards is determined by the individual college/school/center policies.

  4. Distinguished, Named and Emeritus Status

    Research faculty are eligible for consideration for distinguished and named status in accordance with the Appointments of Distinguished Professors, Named University Professors, Named Professors and University Faculty Scholars policy (IV.5.2). Such titles may only be conferred when a substantial endowment exists to support the position. Research faculty also are eligible for emeritus status, subject to the same eligibility criteria as for tenure-track and tenured faculty.

Compensation and Benefits

  1. Salary

    Salary levels for new research faculty will fall within the range for tenure-track and tenured faculty in the same or similar discipline. Salary supplements for promotion will be consistent with those associated with promotion for tenure-track and tenured faculty.

    Research faculty continuing as employees of the University from one fiscal year to the next should be budgeted on the annual operating budget for their college/school/center. Their salaries should be distributed on the appropriate funds based on an estimate of how they will be paid.

    Research faculty will be eligible for annual merit salary increases as governed by the salary policy for their respective campus. Salary increases for the Research Faculty classification will be averaged with tenure-track, tenured and clinical/professional faculty salary increases. These increases will be effective on July 1.

    Research faculty are eligible for special merit pay in accordance with the Special Merit Pay policy (IV.5.4). If such pay is granted, it must be charged to non-federal funds.

    Research faculty promoted to a higher academic rank will be eligible for the same promotion increment as tenure-track and tenured faculty positions. These promotion increments are set annually as part of the annual budget process. Since research faculty are funded primarily from extramural funds, the promotion increments will not be centrally funded. The promotion increments will be charged to the same accounts as the salary of the research faculty member.

    Further questions on this topic can be addressed to the compensation department for the West Lafayette campus, or the human resources department for regional campuses

  2. Benefits

    Research faculty with appointments of 50 percent CUL or greater are eligible for the same employment benefits as tenure-track and tenured faculty with the exception of sabbatical leaves and paid leave for outside activities. Appointments less than 50 percent CUL and Short-Term Appointments are not eligible for benefits.

    Fringe benefits, including but not limited to employer payments for Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, retirement, group life insurance, long term disability, medical insurance and staff fee remissions, must be charged to the same funding source supporting the salary.

    Vacation and holiday pay and pay for military and sick leaves will be charged consistent with the practices in place for all faculty.

    Further questions on this topic can be addressed to the benefits department for the West Lafayette campus, or the human resources department for regional campuses.

  3. Leaves

    Research faculty are eligible for the same paid leaves of absence provided to all faculty by university policy, with the exception of sabbatical or outside activity leaves. Paid leaves must be funded from non-general fund sources, regardless of the leave period. Vacation, holiday, military leave and sick leave are allowable direct costs that may be prorated on the basis of the projects or accounts the Research Faculty member is working on at the time the leave is taken.

    Vacation pay upon termination of a Research Faculty position may be allocable as a direct cost to an extramural source, depending on the specific circumstances at termination. A determination must be made prior to the certification and distribution of the final payroll as to whether the vacation pay was accrued while the research faculty member was on the project funded by the extramural source. If so, it is an allowable charge to the project. If not, an alternate allowable funding source will be required.

    Further questions on this topic can be addressed to the benefits department for the West Lafayette campus, or the human resources department for regional campuses.

  4. Support

    Research Faculty positions must be primarily supported by extramural or non-general funds, which includes salaries, supplemental payments and fringe benefits. However certain research-related effort such as proposal writing and graduate student committee work cannot be compensated for by sponsored program funds. Therefore it is desirable that a small proportion of Research Faculty effort be supported by alternative sources, including internal, unrestricted university funds. Support from non-external funds (e.g., general funds) may not exceed 25% of the total annual compensation of each Research Faculty position. Sources of salary support must be detailed on the Research Faculty Appointment Form. The Research Faculty Appointment Form must be signed by the Department Head/Center Director and Dean/Executive Director of Discovery Park of the appointing unit.

  5. Summer Support

    Allowable limits of summer support for Research Faculty on academic year appointments funded by sponsors other than the National Science Foundation (NSF) must be verified with the sponsor, as the policies for such vary by sponsor. Research Faculty supported by the NSF must adhere to the NSF guidelines described in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide ( If the sponsor does not limit the summer support, the University will allow support up to a maximum of 12 weeks, or 30 percent of the academic year salary. Any Research Faculty member supported entirely from external sources for 12 summer weeks must be able to certify that 100 percent of his or her effort was expended on the sponsored project for the entire period. The Research Faculty member may not participate in any proposal writing, committee work or any other activity not related to the sponsored project without either an internal source of salary funds for that effort or a reduction in the appointment period to a lesser number of weeks. Refer to the policy on Effort Reporting (II.5.1) for full details.


Research Faculty will have a unique position title in the system and reporting files. This will allow Research Faculty to be reported appropriately, depending on the definition of the intended report.

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