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Princeton University
Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Rules and Procedures of the Professional Researchers and Professional Specialists of Princeton University and Other Provisions of Concern to These Personnel

Last printed Fall 1996; Revised May 2012


A. Graduate Students

Graduate students enrolled in the Graduate School may be appointed to the position of Assistant in Research for work on sponsored projects. Any such appointment is subject to the approval of the dean of the Graduate School to insure that such appointment will not prevent reasonable progress towards completion of all requirements for the degree. Individuals who are still candidates for a graduate degree, whether or not they are enrolled in the Graduate School, will not normally be appointed to one of the professional researcher or professional specialist ranks.

B. Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students may be employed on sponsored research through the Office of Student Employment. Special agreements to comply with pertinent provisions of the contract or grant may be required of the student in certain instances.

C. Non-Academic Employees

All non-academic employees in sponsored research are employed through the Offices of Human Resources and governed by the same conditions of employment as those which apply to similar personnel employed for other University work, except to the extent that the conditions of the contract or grant covering the project requires otherwise.

As a general rule, no purchase orders are issued, nor payments made, to non-academic employees, or to organizations in which such employees have a substantial interest, for services furnished to the University except on an overtime basis as prescribed by the Offices of Human Resources.

In the area of sponsored research Princeton University is in effect committing the time of staff to sponsors, with the inherent obligation to meet its commitments. On sponsored projects, for auditing purposes, therefore, it has become necessary to establish a central attendance record for employees. Information on the procedure for reporting attendance for non-academic employees can be obtained from the Office of Human Resources.

D. Consultants

Any person who is not directly employed by the University and who is acting in a professional capacity and being reimbursed for services and/or for travel expenses under a sponsored research program at Princeton must be formally engaged by the University through the Purchasing Department as a consultant. A consultant is an independent contractor and not an employee or agent of the University. A consulting agreement is intended to cover situations in which a specific skill or expertise requiring a high level of independence in the performance of the task is needed for a relatively short period of time.

E. Part-Time Employees

The rules, procedures, and other arrangements described in this publication apply in various ways to part-time employees. Those contemplating part-time employment should consult with department heads, project heads, and the dean of the faculty for specific questions of concern. In general:

  1. All part-time professional researcher and professional specialist employees are subject to the definitions and provisions of Chapters III and IV.
  2. All part-time employees have the benefit of the service arrangements described in Chapter VI, except that reimbursement for moving expenses (Section A) will not normally apply to those employed for less than 50% duty time or appointed less than five months.
  3. Normally, visiting researchers, postdoctoral research fellows, visiting fellows, and visiting professional specialists whose appointments are 50% or greater duty time for five months or more are eligible to receive a simplified University employee benefits package. Detailed information on this package is available through the Office of Human Resources.
  4. Most services and facilities are available to part-time employees.