Nonemployee (Unpaid) Research Affiliates (Visiting Researchers and Scholars)

The designation “Research Affiliate” is a privilege accorded to nonemployee researchers or scholars temporarily in residence at The University of Texas at Austin. This page addresses the nomination process necessary for granting facilities access to both U.S. and international visitors and is the first step in inviting these individuals to our campus.

Research affiliates are individuals who are affiliated with an outside university, institution, business, or government and seek to be in 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. They are usually financially supported by their home institution or organization. Their term of residence at UT Austin extends from 10 days up to 2 years with an option to request renewal for an additional year. 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 VCU 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 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 our 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 the Texas Global for more advice.

Departments may request a J-1 visa (DS-2019) through the International Office 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 Research Titles policy on the Policies page.

Central Review and Appointment Process for Nonemployee Research Affiliates

The information and requirements listed below apply to all the Research Affiliate titles.

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.

For detailed information on Research Affiliate types, including qualifications, and the approval process view the Procedures for Research Titles guidance document.

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.

Review detailed information about all Research Titles and instructions for gaining approval and appointing a nonemployee research affiliate.

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 your college/school’s or department/unit’s internal procedures regarding these checks.
  3. Follow the instructions provided by your 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.
    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. Guidelines for non-student, non-employee visitors in research laboratories, and the release form can be found at: https://www.utexas.edu/provost/policies/lab/

Resources

Questions

Questions about the Workday appointment process for Research Affiliates may be emailed to The Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors.

Questions about the OVPR review process for Nonemployee Research Affiliates may be sent to the Research Security team within the OVPR.

Questions about immigration issues should be directed to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at hotline@austin.utexas.edu or 512-471-2477.

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