Research Titles – Visiting Researchers and Fellows

Research Titles – Visiting Researchers and Fellows

All persons whose primary activities are to conduct research at The University of Texas at Austin (“University”) will be assigned an appropriate research title. These titles are for an employee/non-employee in a professional position that normally holds a Ph.D. unless a different degree is considered the terminal degree for the discipline.

UT Austin assigns appropriate research titles to individuals whose primary activities are to conduct research at, or on behalf of, the University. These titles apply to research professionals, temporary/visiting researchers and research affiliates. Please see Research Titles Policy for full details.

Nonemployee Research Affiliate

“Research Affiliate” is a title accorded to nonemployee researchers or scholars temporarily in residence at The University of Texas at Austin. This is often referred to as Visiting Researchers and Scholars.

Research affiliates are individuals who are affiliated with an outside university, institution, business or government and seek to be temporarily in residence at The University of Texas at Austin to collaborate with University faculty, learn research techniques or use specialized facilities. Non-employee research affiliates are not appointed as employees of the University and generally do not receive financial support or compensation from the University. Non-employee research affiliates may also be referred to as visiting scholars, visiting researchers or visiting scientists.

Visitors to the University who need access to UT facilities and networks must be appointed in one of the following job categories as research affiliates (defined by HOP 7-1020):

  • Research Affiliate – Visiting Researcher/Scholar (A006)
  • Research Affiliate Senior Research Fellow (A012)
  • Research Affiliate Research Fellow (A011)
  • Research Affiliate Postdoctoral (A010)

These positions are differentiated from research positions appointed as employees of the University. See University HOP 7-1020 for further information.

Individuals meeting the following criteria are considered non-employee research affiliates requiring review by the Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors prior to being appointed:

  • Will be in residence for 10 days or more
  • Will conduct work in a research lab or will conduct research-related activity using UT facilities and resources
  • Will be assigned an Affiliate EID or Member EID
  • Will be appointed to a temporary unpaid research affiliate position per HOP 7-1020 (Research Titles)

Nonemployee research affiliates must have a UT Austin Sponsor who will serve as the host. Sponsors are typically UT Austin faculty or others who have regular PI status at the University. Nonemployee research affiliates must also have an Organization Host who supports the appointment and signs the nonemployee research affiliate agreement on behalf of the University. The Organization Host role is typically held by a College Dean, Research Dean, Department Chair or Institute Director.


International Visiting Scholars and Researchers

The University of Texas welcomes international visitors to campus for academic pursuits and research collaborations. It is important to know that all nominations of non-U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents must follow specific immigration guidelines. Contact Texas Global for more advice.

Departments may request a J-1 visa (DS-2019) through Texas Global for the Research Affiliate classification. However, note that other titles within the University Affiliates (Affiliated Worker) category are also eligible for this visa, but are not under the Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors (OVPR) oversight. These titles are: Adjunct Clinical Worker, Independent Contractor, Visiting Student and Other Affiliated Worker. To determine the most appropriate title to use, view the HOP 7-1020.


Central Review and Appointment Process for Nonemployee Research Affiliates

Research Affiliates do not receive a stipend in their appointment, nor does their appointment imply tenure or continuation at the University. Privileges, such as ID cards and keys, will not be provided until the Research Affiliate’s assignment has received final approval.

The process originates in a department of the University with a nomination by a faculty member or researcher who will accept an active responsibility for sponsoring and helping the researchers/scholars while they are here. A departmental contact prepares and submits the Nonemployee Research Affiliate Request form to the OVPR. If the researcher/scholar is a foreign national and a DS-2019 will be requested for the researcher/scholar, a request should be made through the J-1 Online Request Form.

Once the nomination has been reviewed by the OVPR and confirmation to proceed is received, the department may send an offer letter to the researcher/scholar. Upon accepting the offer, all parties must sign the Nonemployee Research Affiliate Agreement. To finalize the appointment, a departmental contact prepares the appointment in Workday.

The visitor’s purpose of visit/benefit to the University should be stated when hiring a research/scholar into a supervisory org in Workday under the “Assignment Details” field. At the time of renewal, an active visa is not a guarantee of acceptance into the designation as Research Affiliate and should not be interpreted as implicit continuation of the official designation.

Nonemployee Research Affiliate Approval Steps

  1. Submit the Nonemployee Research Affiliate Request via REDCap to the OVPR for review and confirmation to proceed. Verification of a completed Visual Compliance check is required when submitting the request.
  2. The Research Affiliate titles are considered “security sensitive” and require a visual compliance check and background check for each visitor. Before hiring a researcher/scholar in Workday, the hiring department must complete a Visual Compliance check and initiate a request in the online Background Check Administration (BCA) system followed. Follow the college/school’s or department/unit’s internal procedures regarding these checks.
  3. Follow the instructions provided by the college/school or department/unit for approval of this title, which include the hiring of a researcher/scholar into a supervisory org in Workday. The detailed instructions to hire a researcher/scholar as a contingent worker in Workday are located here.
  4. If the nominee is a foreign national, complete a J-1 Online Request Form.
  5. Upon receiving approval from the OVPR for the nonemployee research affiliate position, the department should issue the following documents to the candidate:
    1. Non-Employee University Affiliate offer letter. The offer letter should only be issued to the visitor for signature after Visual Compliance has been cleared. The unit or department head has signature authority to sign the letters. Sample offer letter templates are provided in the resources below.
    2. Non-Employee Research Affiliate Agreement. The agreement must be signed by the candidate, a representative from the candidate’s home organization, the UT Administrative Host, and the UT Sponsor.
  6. A copy of the signed offer letter, agreement and completed Visual Compliance check should be uploaded into Workday and kept on file by the host department, college or unit.
  7. If the visitor plans to work in a research laboratory, they must also complete the Release Agreement for Adults. See the guidelines and release form for non-student, non-employee visitors in research laboratories.

Research Titles Procedures (PDF) 

Find procedures used in selecting the appropriate title for individuals associated with the University in professional research positions.


For Workday appointment process for Research Affiliates, email

For OVPR review process for Nonemployee Research Affiliates, email Research Security at

For immigration issues, contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at or 512-471-2477.