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230 - Personnel-Academic

Section: 230-310
Effective: 07/01/2017
Supersedes: N/A New
Next Review Date: 07/01/2020
Issuance Date: 03/31/2020
Issuing Office: Academic Personnel Services

PPM 230-310 Policy [pdf format]



PPM 230-310, Professional Research (Research Scientist) Series, relates to matters subject to Academic Personnel Manual (APM) Section 310, Professional Research Series. For reference, subsections of PPM 230-310 include citations to associated subsections of the APM; in all cases, the APM is operative where referenced.


PPM 230-310-4 Definition

a. The Professional Research series is used for appointees who engage in independent research equivalent to that required for the Professor series and not for appointees whose duties are limited to making significant and creative contributions to a research project or to providing technical assistance to a research activity. Appointees in the Professional Research series (referred to as the Research Scientist series at UC San Diego) function as independent investigators, have complete responsibility for their research programs, and are leaders or have the potential for leadership in their fields. The ability to sustain an independent research program is a necessary but not sufficient criterion for appointment as a Research Scientist. Appointees with Professional Research titles do not have teaching responsibilities.


b. Appointees can with campus approval be Principal Investigators and have the major responsibility and leadership for their research programs. 


Appointments in this series may also be made to individuals who are not Principal Investigators, if they meet the research qualifications and demonstrate the accomplishment and the independence of research equivalent to that required for the Professorial ranks.  For example, these individuals may be funded from a large center or collaborative program grant on which many independent investigators are working, or they may hold a Visiting title. Assistant Research Scientists also may be funded as Co-Principal Investigators on grants. They should demonstrate strong potential to become independent and distinguished researchers and should work independently on grants.


The ability to secure independent funding does not automatically qualify individuals for appointment to the Professional Research series.


APM 310-4. c

APM 310-4. d


PPM 230-310-8 Types of Appointments

APM 310-8


PPM 230-310-10 Criteria

APM 310-10. a – Research

APM 310-10. b – Professional Competence and Activity


PPM 230-310-10. c – University and/or Public Service


An Assistant Research (e.g., Physicist) is not required to participate in service activities.  An Associate Research (e.g., Physicist) and a Research (e.g., Physicist) are expected to engage in University and/or public service, within the constraints of the applicable funding source(s).  This service requirement may be interpreted flexibly; service activities should be focused on the professional development of the appointee, such as service on research review boards.  If there are limitations on potential service contributions due to constraints imposed by a funding source, this should be discussed.


An appointee in this series must demonstrate continuous and effective engagement in independent and creative research activity of high quality and significance, equivalent to that expected of the Professor series. Proposed merit increases and promotions in the Professional Research series shall be reviewed with the same rigor accorded to proposed merits and promotions in the Professor series. See APM - 210-1.


PPM 230-310-16 Restrictions

PPM 230-310-16. a


A Research Scientist funded entirely from extramural funds is not permitted to be an officer of instruction in a regularly scheduled course. In order to engage in formal instruction and/or significant participation in the instructional program, the individual must be appointed in a salaried instructional title paid from state funds for the proportion of time spent on teaching. The combined percentage of appointment cannot exceed 100%.


Appointees also may be appointed to and perform services in a non-salaried instructional title. For example, a non-salaried instructional title may be accorded for an occasional lecture or seminar dealing with the research being sponsored by the funding agency. A non-salaried instructional title also is required for a Research Scientist to supervise a doctoral thesis, and the thesis should be related to the investigator's line of research.


Appointees totally funded from extramural sources may also supervise the activities of Research Assistants or other students if the supervision is directly connected with the objectives of the grant award.


APM 310-16. b

PPM 230-310-16. c


A registered student or candidate for a degree at UC San Diego or another campus of the University of California is not eligible for appointment in the Research Scientist series.


PPM 230-310-17 Terms of Service

APM 310-17. a

PPM 230-310-17. b


An appointment or reappointment to the title of Associate Research (e.g., Physicist) or Research (e.g., Physicist) should be proposed with a specified ending date. For written notification, see APM - 137-17.

Appointment or reappointment with no specified ending date (indefinite) may only be made when there is a reasonable expectation of long-term funding.


Non-salaried appointments and reappointments in the Research Scientist series must be proposed with specified ending dates.

The appointee shall be notified in writing that the appointment does not carry either tenure or security of employment.


For provisions concerning termination see APM - 310-20-c.


PPM 230-310-17. c


There is an eight-year limit for an appointee who holds the Assistant Research Scientist title, either in that title alone or when combined with an Associate Research Scientist, Research Scientist, or Visiting Assistant Research Scientist title, with or without salary on any campus of the University of California. The Chancellor may grant an exception to the eight-year limitation of service.


APM 310-17. d

APM 310-17. e

PPM 230-310-17. f


Research Scientists are to be provided use of space and facilities during their appointment periods. Space should be made available in accordance with departmental or ORU guidelines used to assign research space. The assignment of permanent space is not required.


PPM 230-310-18 Salary

PPM 230-310-18 a


Authorized salary scales are issued by the Office of the President.


New appointees are normally paid at the minimum salary rate for the rank to which they are appointed. Salary increases are based on merit. The normal period of service prescribed for each salary level does not preclude more rapid advancement in cases of exceptional merit, nor does it preclude less rapid advancement.


Research Scientists of the highest distinction, whose work has been nationally or internationally acclaimed, may be appointed with salaries above the top of the salary scale. The honorary title “Distinguished Research Scientist” may be conferred upon Research Scientists with a salary above the top of salary scale who demonstrate a level of distinction equivalent to that required of Distinguished Professors. 


APM 310-18. b


PPM 230-310-20 Conditions of Employment


APM 310-20              


PPM 230-310-24 Authority


No appointment, reappointment or academic review action is final until there has been an academic review and the individual with final authority has approved the action.


The UC San Diego Authority and Review Chart sets forth the individual(s) and/or committees responsible for review, as well as the final authority for approval.


PPM 230-310-80 Recommendation and Review


Procedural guidelines are available in the Academic Personnel Process Manual.


PPM 230-310-82 Procedures for Appointment or Reappointment to the Rank of Assistant Research Scientist


The general rules of APM 310-80 apply here.  In addition:


a. Reappointment/Merit Review


When a non-Senate appointee is scheduled for reappointment/merit review, the department should first determine whether reappointment is warranted.  If the department does not wish to reappoint, then in accordance with APM 137, Non-Senate Appointees/Term Appointment, the appointment will expire on the established ending date.


If reappointment is warranted, the department must prepare a reappointment/merit review file with one of the following recommendations:

  1. Reappointment with Merit Advancement

If an appointee’s performance is satisfactory, the department may recommend a two-year reappointment with merit advancement.

  1. Reappointment without Merit Advancement

If an appointee’s performance does not justify merit advancement, the department may recommend a two-year reappointment with no merit advancement.

b. Final Reappointment/Merit Review

The third reappointment/merit review of an assistant-rank appointee normally occurs in the sixth year of appointment.  Absent an extension of the probationary period or a prior deferral of an academic review, an appointee’s third merit/reappointment review is the appointee’s final merit/reappointment review at the assistant rank.

Three outcomes are possible in the final merit/reappointment review, and the eligible faculty must vote on the proposed action.


1.     Promotion is Recommended

If the department is convinced that an appointee’s record meets or exceeds the University’s expectations for promotion, the department may vote to recommend promotion to the Associate or Full level, effective the following July 1. 

2.     Postponement of Promotion Review is Recommended

If the department believes there is significant work in progress that cannot be completed in time to justify promotion, but which should be completed prior to the promotion review and, when completed, would likely suffice for promotion, the department may propose postponement of the promotion review.


The department must demonstrate that the appointee’s academic record is strong and that they are making active and timely progress on substantial work that:

•   should be completed prior to the promotion review (the anticipated completion date must be indicated); and

•   would likely suffice for promotion.

If the department proposes postponement of the promotion review, a reappointment file (recommending a two-year reappointment with or without merit advancement) must be submitted in accordance with the campus deadline for submission of reappointment and merit advancement files.

3.     Non-reappointment

If the department believes that an appointee’s overall career achievements do not justify promotion, and that a postponement of the promotion review is not warranted, no promotion file is prepared and the appointee will not be reappointed.  In accordance with APM 137, Non-Senate Appointees/Term Appointment, the appointment will expire on the established ending date.  In cases of non-reappointment, the department chair should consult with the dean.


If promotion is proposed and denied, or if the department does not propose promotion and/or reappointment, in accordance with APM 137, Non-Senate Appointees/Term Appointment, the appointment will expire on the established ending date.


4.     Notice of Non-Reappointment

Although notice of non-reappointment is not normally required, the department should provide written notice of non-reappointment whenever possible.


Procedural guidelines are available in the Academic Personnel Process Manual.


PPM 230-310-83 Procedure of Appraisal of an Assistant Research Scientist Who May Be a Candidate for Promotion


An assistant-rank appointee in the Adjunct Professor, Health Sciences Clinical Professor, or Professional Research (Research Scientist) series must receive an appraisal, which is a formal evaluation of achievements and progress toward promotion.  The appraisal also identifies appointees whose records of performance and achievement are below the level of excellence expected for academic appointees.


Departments may conduct appraisals for appointees in other non-Senate series if the department believes such an assessment would be valuable to the department and/or appointee.


The general rules of APM 220-80 apply here. In addition:

a. The appraisal is conducted in an appointee’s fourth year of service at the Assistant rank (and is combined with the second reappointment/merit review), except when an extension of the probationary period has been granted.  If the appraisal is not combined with a reappointment/merit review, the appraisal must be presented in a separate academic review file.


No formal appraisal is required if, prior to the normal occurrence of an appraisal, the Assistant Professor is being recommended for promotion to take effect within a year, has given written notice of resignation, or has been given written notice of non-reappointment.


b. The following factors should be evaluated, if appropriate for the series when conducting an appraisal:


  • Published research and other completed creative activity, and potential for continued research and creative activity.
  • teaching effectiveness at the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Departmental, University and community service contributions.
  • Expertise and achievement in clinical activities, if applicable
  • An appointee’s self-evaluation (if any)


c.   Appraisal Vote


An appraisal vote is not required for non-Senate appointees; however, departments and/or divisions may choose to establish voting procedures for non-Senate appraisals.


A department may form a departmental ad hoc committee in order to assess the appointee’s achievements and activities.


The departmental recommendation letter should discuss the nature and extent of department consultation on the appraisal, as well as the result of a vote, if taken.




If, as a result of the appraisal process, the department wishes to recommend promotion to the Associate or Full rank, the department must conduct a promotion review and solicit letters from external referees.


Procedural guidelines are available in the Academic Personnel Process Manual.




July 01, 2017                This policy was made effective.


April 20, 2018                Minor technical edits to update names and policy hyperlinks.


March 31, 2020             Technical edits to remove gendered language.