University Research Fellowship Appointments

Lehigh University recognizes both the desire and the desirability of aspiring and established scholars at various stages of their professional careers to affiliate with the university in a capacity other than as a faculty, research staff or student for the purposes of contributing to the university’s research mission as well as pursuing their own academic interests.  To accommodate this type of relationship the university has established the position of University Research Fellow.  The appointment of a University Research Fellow can be at various ranks: Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, and Distinguished Research Fellow. 

A common feature to all Research Fellow appointments is that they do not provide compensation to the holder in the form of either monetary remuneration or credit toward an academic degree or certification.  Research Fellows and the university mutually benefit from their appointment by formal recognition of the fellow’s affiliation with the university and from the contribution that a Research Fellow can make in advancing Lehigh’s research mission as a member of the broader academy of research intensive institutions of higher education.  This contribution can manifest itself in such instances as collaborating in research with Lehigh faculty members or research engineers, scholars and scientists, mentoring students, both graduate and undergraduate, attending and participating in research seminars, engaging as a member of a research group or team, and serving as a resource in developing and preparing research funding proposals.

While this affiliation is without compensation, the formal nature of this relationship mandates that Research Fellows will, in all capacities and on all occasions, abide by the high ethical and professional practices and standards expected of all faculty, staff and student members of the Lehigh University community, and that by accepting a Research Fellow appointment agree to do so. 

Individuals who are employees, full-time or part-time, including current adjunct faculty and paid consultants of the university, are not eligible for initial Research Fellow Appointments.

Some examples, clearly non-exhaustive in this listing, of Research Fellow appointments include:

Research Fellow – A Pre- or Post- Doctoral researcher wishing to gain experience and benefit from mentoring by a member of Lehigh’s faculty.

Senior Research Fellow – Faculty member on paid leave from her or his home institution within the U.S. or international wishing to collaborate with an individual member of Lehigh’s faculty or a set of colleagues within an academic department, research center or institute, or a laboratory group.

Distinguished Research Fellow -- highly accomplished engineer, scholar or scientist, for example a member of a national academy or learned society, from another university, an industrial research organization, or a national laboratory, who wishes to continue her or his research agenda in collaboration with colleagues at Lehigh.

All University Research Fellow appointments are for a fixed term at a maximum period of one year, but renewable.   The typical minimum period for a Research Fellow appointment is two weeks and any faculty or research staff member hosting an individual visiting the university for the purpose of engaging in research activity or collaboration for two weeks or longer should initiate a Research Fellow application.  There may, however, be instances in which a Research Fellow appointment for less than a two-week period is appropriate.

University Research Fellow appointments are made by the Dean of a College with notification to the Provost’s Office, the Office of Human Resources, and the Payroll Office.  Lehigh faculty members who wish to host a Research Fellow at any rank must take responsibility for the Fellow’s activities at Lehigh and must obtain endorsement from the Department Chair/Program Director/ Center or Institute Director who will certify that the university resources needed to support the proposed activities are available in the department/program/ center or institute.  Such resources will typically include a university ID card, access to appropriate buildings and facilities, office and/or laboratory space, and a computing and e-mail account. 

To issue the Research Fellow appointment letter, using the university approved template, the College Dean will need a letter from the Lehigh faculty host(s) describing the nature of the Research Fellow’s planned activities, a letter of endorsement from the Department Chair/Program, Center or Institute Director, and documentation of sources of funding to support the Research Fellow’s appointment at Lehigh, for example a paid sabbatical leave from the Fellow’s home institution, extramural foundation or governmental funding, or verifiable self-support.  Appropriate documentation of the Research Fellow’s appointment will be entered into and maintained in Lehigh’s record keeping system (currently Banner) at the time of appointment.  

Research Fellow appointments are conditional on verification that the individual has successfully completed all background checks that the university requires of new university employees.  The host department, program, center or institute is responsible for ensuring that such background checks are completed as well as covering any costs involved and providing written notification of this to the Office of the Provost.  Research Fellows are also expected to complete all on-line training programs that must be completed by Lehigh University faculty and staff.

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