Hiring Laboratory Personnel

The McKelvey School of Engineering hires Research Scientists, Visiting Research Associates, and laboratory personnel, including postdoctoral research associates, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students. Each of these categories has its own set of hiring/termination requirements.

Please note: All new personnel in your laboratory must have the Department Chair’s approval for the position, job title, and salary. All new personnel must complete employment paperwork, including the electronic I-9, before starting in your laboratory.

The information shared in each category below only serves as a guide. Please contact your Department Administrator with questions.

Research Scientist/Research Associate/Visiting Research Associate

This is an academic role that does not accrue vacation or sick time. The proposed salary and offer letter must be approved by the Department Chair and the McKelvey Dean’s Office before an offer to the candidate may be made.

The position is supported from “soft money” sources (i.e., external grant funds). Termination, for lack of funding, requires a 30-day notice. Annual increases, if any, are given annually on the first day of the University’s fiscal year (July 1), and must be in line with McKelvey-issued guidelines. No job posting is required.

Salary support for two years in advance must be available at the time of the initial appointment or renewal, unless the appointment is terminal. These non-faculty positions are distinguished from research faculty in that they may teach classes, but may not serve as PI or Co-PI on grants and contracts and may not serve as principal advisors for doctoral students.

Postdoctoral Appointments

University-wide, postdocs are appointed to the titles of Postdoctoral Research Scholar (non-employee status) or Postdoctoral Research Associate (employee status). Postdoctoral training is limited to five years, including time spent in either title or at other institutions, and excluding clinical training. Individuals holding such appointments are recent graduates with a doctoral degree and are supported on external funds, often training grants. The salary/stipend level must be consistent with University regulations and the guidelines of the sponsor. For example, NIH updates its NRSA stipend levels annually.

Job posting in the University’s TAM (talent acquisition manager) system is available, but not required. Termination due to lack of funding requires a 30-day notice. Postdoc raises are given on the first day of the University’s fiscal year (July 1), and must be in line with McKelvey annual merit raise guidelines.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) provides support and resources for postdoctoral researchers, as well as faculty and administration, and advocates for postdoctoral issues.

Research Technician/Laboratory Manager

This position requires approval by the Department Chair. Central HR must review and grade the job description, as it will be posted in the University’s TAM system. This position will be supported on external funds and the salary level must be consistent with University guidelines (salary grade level). Salaries should not be communicated with candidate until approved by McKelvey HR.

Termination of this position, due to lack of funding, requires a 30-day notice. As with all staff positions, an annual performance review is required. Staff raises are only given on the first day of the University’s fiscal year (July 1), and must be in line with University merit raise guidelines.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduates may work in laboratories for either academic credit (independent study) or for an hourly rate (e.g., $10/hour).

Visitors, High School Students or Students from Other Universities

Visitors, high school students or undergraduates from other universities may work in laboratories under certain circumstances. See policy regarding minors at Washington University. These individuals will have their own personnel categorization and may require additional steps unique to each group. For these and other cases outside the standard personnel categories, contact your Department Administrator or McKelvey Human Resources.


Volunteers are not permitted to work in McKelvey research groups/laboratories.