Senior Research Assistant / Research Assistant
A Senior Research Assistant is a NIH employee appointed under the General Schedule (GS-12 or GS-13). They serve in a scientific and technical support capacity and may design experiments with direction while also providing expert, highly skilled technical support, but are not expected to initiate original research programs.
A Research Assistant is a NIH employee appointed under the General Schedule (GS-11 and below) that serves in a scientific and technical support capacity.
Both Senior Research Assistants and Research Assistants are Full-Time Equivalent Employment (FTE) positions.
Both Senior Research Assistants and Research Assistants are appointed using Title 5 and approved by the delegated authority in each Institute and Center (IC). The Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR) strongly recommends that ICs vet all promotions to GS-13 through an IC Peer Review Committee. The criteria for promotion are outlined in the checklist below. Once peer review determines a successful recommendation, a recruitment package for the GS-13 should be submitted to HR for the Senior Research Assistant to apply.
Check Sheets / Checklists
Below are the check sheets and checklists that have been developed and approved by the Senior Research Assistant and Research Assistant designations.
Individual ICs may have additional requirements and check sheets. Please contact your Administrative Officer (AO) or HR Specialist for additional guidance. For examples of IC-specific check sheets and checklists, please visit:
Intramural scientists at the NIH, as is true for all scientists, should be committed to the responsible use of scientific tools and methods to seek new knowledge. While the general principles of scientific methodologies are universal, their detailed application may differ in various scientific disciplines and circumstances. All research staff in the Intramural Research Program should maintain exemplary standards of intellectual honesty in formulating, conducting, presenting, and reviewing research, as befits the leadership role of the NIH.
Within the NIH IRP, the ethical conduct of researchers is governed by the following three disciplines:
Ethics information may also be available through your specific IC. Please contact your Ethics Counselor for additional guidance.
Pay / Compensation
Recruitment Process / Appointment Mechanisms
Recruitment of both a Senior Research Assistant and Research Assistant is made via Title 5 and requires a competitive vacancy announcement.
For information regarding appointment mechanisms, please visit:
Renewals are not applicable to a Senior Research Assistant or Research Assistant appointment.
Senior Research Assistants and Research Assistants are not granted independent resources by their Institute.
Both the Senior Research Assistant and Research Assistant are General Schedule appointments and follow the Title 5 termination procedures. There are no applicable expiration dates for these appointments unless they were created as term appointments.
This page was last updated on Monday, August 9, 2021