Salary Insurance Plan

Salary Insurance Plan

Lamont research scientists primarily support their research activities from external grants. A salary insurance plan supported by Observatory endowments provides a rolling tenure within the senior appointments and includes a component of base support which increases with promotion to higher ranks, together with an incentive program that allows individuals to accumulate a flexible cash reserve to be used as research support.

General principles

The research staff of the Observatory comprises scientists in three University-wide ranks -- Associate Research Scientist, Research Scientist and Senior Research Scientist. In each rank a scientist may receive salary support from the Observatory's endowments, in which case the titles Doherty Associate Research Scientist, Doherty Research Scientist and Doherty Senior Research Scientist apply to designate that the support comes from endowment sources. Additionally, scientists who are Doherty Senior Research Scientists are eligible for appointment as Doherty Senior Scholars, the highest distinction available in the research staff at the Observatory. Other named research positions supported by specific endowments currently exist (e.g., the Langseth-PGI Senior Scientist, and PGI-Doherty Junior Scientist), and others can be added. Scientists holding named positions will normally be those who form the core research staff of the Observatory. They are referred to below as the Doherty Research Staff of the Observatory. Those who are Doherty Research Scientists, Doherty Senior Research Scientists and Doherty Senior Scholars (or equivalent named position associated with an endowment provided to the Observatory) form the Doherty Senior Staff.

Scientists whose positions do not carry a Doherty or similar title will normally be those associated with major multi-year projects at Lamont or an Earth Institute unit located at Lamont, and receive sustained support through those projects' grant or contract funding. In the latter case, they may use titles such as IRI Research Scientist where the modifier designates the project. Scientists appointed to research positions without Doherty (or equivalent) titles can request transfer to Doherty positions or, in some special cases, apply for a Doherty title supported by sources other than the Observatory's endowments. To do so they are evaluated by the same process of promotion into the appropriate position as described herein. Full time faculty members in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences are provided research positions at Lamont. The appropriate positions are Assistant Professor receives Associate Research Scientist appointment, Associate Professor receives Research Scientist appointment, Full professor receives Senior Research Scientist appointment. With the exception of the DEES full time faculty scientists who are not members of the Doherty staff (regular or senior) do not have voting rights with regard to appointments and promotions of the Doherty staff as set out below, but may participate in the governance of the Observatory through membership on standing and ad hoc committees.

Faculty members in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences are provided research positions at Lamont. The appropriate positions are Assistant Professor receives Associate Research Scientist appointment, Associate Professor receives Research Scientist appointment, Full professor receives Senior Research Scientist appointment.

In each rank, Doherty scientists are provided a fixed amount of salary insurance, increasing as the scientists are promoted to higher levels of the staff. The Observatory does not normally provide support for non-salary research expenditures which are secured by scientists through government contracts and grants or other external means. For the Observatory to function as a world-class research institution it must maintain an aggressive posture in external research support. The salary insurance plan is designed to allow Observatory scientists to compete effectively for external grant support. All members of the Doherty research staff are expected to raise from external sources salary and other income sufficient to fully support their research activities. At the same time, it is recognized that some areas of research will always be better supported than others, and it is possible for a scientist whose work is excellent and highly regarded both internally and externally to experience a shortfall in support. In addition, it is recognized that, during a successful research career, scientists might want to change the direction of their research. This can be very difficult to achieve without the ability to invest time to develop ideas and expertise in new areas. The salary plan recognizes these variables and represents a scheme which, taken as a whole, may be viewed as a group salary insurance apparatus in which those scientists performing well in fields where funding is plentiful are rewarded for their efforts, while contributing to the support of colleagues in fields that are important to the Observatory but may not be well funded for some period of time.

Scientists supported under the Doherty plan are expected to participate in service activities for the Observatory, including membership on national or international advisory bodies, committees in the Observatory's governance structure or ad-hoc committees, or groups developing proposals for major centers or new activities, without further salary compensation.

Appointment and promotion procedures will be conducted by the Promotions and Careers Sub-committee of the Executive Committee (see Governance Structure) in association with the Executive Committee and the Observatory Directorate.

Insurance/Incentive Program

DohertyAssociate Research Scientists
Doherty Research Scientist
Doherty Senior Research Scientist
Doherty Senior Scholar
Adjunct Professors
Associate Research Scientist, Research Scientist & Senior Research Scientist