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Professional Research FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Why are changes to the Professional Research Series occurring now?

In 2003, the Professional Research Series in the Academic Personnel Manual (APM 310) was updated. Unfortunately, The UCLA CALL was not updated at that time so it has become necessary to update and reconcile our local operating procedures to be in conformity with the APM. Appointments and evaluations of personnel in the Professional Research Series need to be consistent across all the UC campuses. One outcome of these changes is that we are going to have to use the Project (e.g., Scientist) title more often in the future and allow appointees in the Research Series to transfer to the Project Scientist Series.

What are the basic changes?

Research Series appointees will have to engage in research equivalent to appointees in the Professorial Series. There is an eight-year time limit for Assistant Researchers, all Associate and Full Researchers have to be reviewed every five years, and there is a service requirement for Associate and Full Researchers.

When will the changes to the new Professional Research Series take effect?

The effective date for new appointments and advancements is July 1, 2013 (for actions effective July 1, 2014). Current appointees at the Assistant Researcher rank will have to decide if they want to remain in the series at the time of their next advancement. Researchers already at the Associate or Full rank will have a five-year grace period starting July 1, 2013 to make the decision.

If I am an Assistant Researcher and want to remain in the series, what will I need to do?

You have to demonstrate that you are engaged in research equivalent to that required for the Professorial Series at your next advancement.

Is there a time limit on service as an Assistant Researcher?

Yes, there is an Eight-Year Limit for appointees with the Assistant Researcher title, either in that title alone or when combined with a Visiting Assistant Researcher title, with or without salary. For Assistant Researchers who have already been appointed, the clock starts on July 1, 2013 and they have 8 (eight) years to advance to Associate Researcher. Eight-Year Limit reviews, as well as all other advancements in rank, will go to CAP. Deans have final approval on all actions, but promotions and step advancements of more than two years will also go to CAP for review. The same rules apply for accelerations and deferrals as for the Professorial Series.

Is there an eight-year clock for Assistant Project Scientists?

There is no clock for Project Scientists.

Will there be Time Off the Clock for Assistant Researchers?

Yes. Approval for Time Off the Clock will be by the Vice Chancellor and reasons for Time Off the Clock will be similar to those for the Professorial Series.

Will there be a Fourth-Year Appraisal?

No. There are no Fourth-Year Appraisals in the Research or Project Scientist Series, only Five-Year Reviews for the Research Series for Assistant, Associate, and Full Researchers. In lieu of Fourth-Year Appraisals, Chairs and mentors will be encouraged to provide informal feedback at any time. More formal feedback should occur at step advancements.

Do I need to have a grant to be in the Research Series?

Not necessarily, but you have to engage in research equivalent to the Professorial Series.

If I am an Assistant Researcher and not approved for a step advancement or a promotion to Associate Researcher, can I transfer to the Project Scientist Series?

Yes. When an appointee becomes eligible for the next step or rank advancement to Associate, that appointee will have the option of transferring to the Project Scientist Series. It will not be necessary to create a new job description.

If I choose to transfer from the Research Series to the Project Scientist Series, will my salary change?

No, your salary will remain the same if you make a lateral transfer (same rank and step). In order not to penalize appointees, the University will make the transfer to the Project Scientist Series at the same salary as the appointee received in the Professional Research Series. Salaries for subsequent advancement in the Project Scientist Series for these individuals will be based on percentage increases in the Project Scientist Series (as determined by the existing Salary Scales for that series), but added to the initial salary from the Professional Research Series when the transfer into the Project Scientist Series occurred. For Off-Scale salaries, the percentage of increase will stay the same.

If I choose to transfer from the Research Series to the Project Scientist Series, will my rank or step change?

No, they will remain the same as well.

If I am an Associate Researcher or Full Researcher and want to remain in the series, what will I need to do?

There is a five-year grace period for you to make a decision. You do not have to do anything different during the five-year grace period, and for any advancement in that time period you will be evaluated by the “old CALL” criteria which were in effect before July 1, 2013. The grace period starts July 1, 2013. At the end of the grace period, when you are eligible for your next advancement, you must decide if you wish to remain in the Research Series or transfer to the Project Scientist Series. If you transfer, you will start in the Project Scientist Series at the same rank and step you held in the Research Series. If you chose to remain in the Research Series you must demonstrate you are engaging in research equivalent to that required for the Professorial Series and provide service. Detailed examples of service are provided in Appendix 10 of The CALL. Service can include serving on departmental committees, serving on committees of professional organizations, reviewing manuscripts or grants, activities related to the improvement of elementary and secondary education and/or students, just to name a few. If appointees choose to transfer, their present and future salaries will be under the same regulations as those described above for the Assistant Researcher rank transfers. At the end of the grace period (June 30, 2018), if the appointees do not transfer, their advancement criteria will revert to the new revised criteria described in The CALL.

Can a Project Scientist serve as a PI on grants?

Yes, with permission from the same office that provides permission for Research Series personnel to be PIs.

What about search requirements for Project Scientists -- have they been streamlined?

Searches and appointments for Project Scientists have been streamlined to more closely resemble other titles. A job description for all searches will need to be posted for a minimum of two weeks in publications in which departments and schools normally post such openings. For appointments, the following documentation is necessary: Chair’s letter, CV of the candidate, job description, and the Academic Selection and Compliance Form. All new appointees to this series will use the existing Salary Scales for the Project (e.g., Scientist) Series. Higher salaries than those posted for each rank and step in this series will require justification by the Departmental Chair or Dean and approval by the Vice Chancellor.

Will there be a new Data Summary Form for the Project Scientist Series?

Project Scientist Appointment Request Form (doc)

Project Scientist Data Summary (doc)

Is there a Visiting Project Scientist job title?

Yes. There are titles and codes in the system for the Visiting Project Scientist Series. These are:

3398 - Visiting Assistant Project Scientist

3397 - Visiting Associate Project Scientist

3396 - Visiting Project Scientist

What about Researchers on H1 Visas?

According to the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars, the visa status does not have to change if your job title changes, so long as:

  1. Job duties do not change
  2. Pay rate does not change
  3. Dates of employment do not change.

The department will need to email Ping Lee in the Dashew Center at if the job title does change.

Where can I get a copy of all these changes?

The revised material is available on the Professional Research Series webpage.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Should you have any questions, please contact Michael S. Levine at





Last Updated 10/10/2022