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Hire and engage personnel, students, and volunteers

Need assistance with hiring personnel or engaging volunteers?

Duke is committed to hiring and retaining the best personnel, and creating a safe and respectful environment for employees, students, and volunteers. If you are looking to hire personnel for your research project, or are interested in involving students, volunteers, or visitors as part of your research team, notify your business manager or human resources representative as soon as possible.

This page provides an overview of the process for hiring employees or including students, volunteers, or visitors. It also covers special considerations that should be a part of the conversations with your business manager or human resources representative.
Full-time or part-time staff

The hiring process may take time to ensure the appropriate position is created, candidates are recruited, and applicants are sufficiently vetted. In general, the hiring process follows these steps in order:

1. Obtain position approval

  • Before a position can be created, budgetary considerations need to be approved by your office or department leadership.

2. Classify and create the position

  • Once the addition of a new position has been approved, the process for classifying the positions is dependent upon the research area. This process, and completion of appropriate forms, should be coordinated between the hiring team and department business manager for non-clinical research positions, and research administrator positions.
  • After ensuring the appropriate classification for the position, the hiring team should work together to create a job description and fill out the applicable Human Resources forms.

3. Post the position, and recruit and interview candidates

  • Coordinate with your human resources representative to post the position on Duke’s hiring site or Academic Jobs Online, as appropriate.
  • Refer to your business manager or human resources representative regarding salary ranges for the position. Duke sets salaries based on a combination of budget, internal equity, and the education and experience of the candidate.
  • The Office for Institutional Equity also provides guidance on developing a diverse pool of applicants to ensure that equity is a major part of hiring and talent acquisition.
  • Hiring managers should ensure the pool of candidates is sufficient enough to interview several qualified, diverse, and interested applicants. For more information about equitable interviewing practices and policies on offering employment to the selected candidate, access the Duke Human Resources website.
  • Note: a Placement Health Review may be required if the position requires patient contact, work with research animals, or work in an environment where there may be potential exposures to body fluids, toxins, or other potentially harmful substances. Contact Employee Occupational Health & Wellness (EOHW) for questions or to schedule a Placement Health Review for a selected candidate. 

4. Hire and onboard

  • Coordinate with your business manager to initiate the hiring process once the preferred candidate has formally accepted the offer. Prepare well in advance of the new hire’s start date how you will welcome and onboard them to their new role.
    • All new employees should attend their management center orientation session as soon as possible, some even needing to do so on their first day. For more information about new hire orientation or to register a new employee to attend a session, access the Duke Human Resources website
    • Department orientation is an important process for establishing expectations, engaging the new employee in their role, and evaluating if the employee and role are a good match. Duke Human Resources provides strategies and actions to be taken on an employee’s first day and within a new employee’s first 90 days to help orient them to your department.
    • Clinical research staff should also be directed to the competency based onboarding program, provided by the Duke Office of Clinical research. This program is a bundle of self-paced e-learning courses, organized by role, that will help acquaint new employees to the way of clinical research at Duke.
  • For information about training requirements based on role and research activities, access the Train research personnel page.
Postdoctoral appointments

Special considerations apply regarding the process for approval and hiring of Postdoctoral positions. Also, depending on the type of appointment, payment structures may be different than that of full-time faculty and staff. The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services provides guidance on Postdoctoral appointments and the associated process and policies. 

Visiting research scholars

A visiting research scholar is an individual coming to Duke to take part in research activities, whether funded or unfunded, who is not receiving payment (ex: stipend, salary support) from Duke or enrolled in any official Duke Coursework as part of their visit. Other roles for this individual may include, but are not limited to: affiliate, research scholar, postdoctoral fellow, visiting scientist, visiting scholar, visiting graduate student, visiting undergraduate student.  

Visiting research scholars do not include:

  • Anyone being paid by Duke
  • Anyone enrolled in coursework at Duke
  • Vendors
  • Students from institutions that have existing student agreements with Duke (ex: Durham Tech Clinical Research Students)
  • Observers here for less than 2 weeks
  • Some Core Facility users
  • "Visiting Scholar" (job code 1523) and "Visiting Research Scholar" (job code 1516). Contact your business manager or human resources representative for more information about the hiring process for these positions.

If you are planning to involve visiting research scholars on your research team:

Non-Duke personnel must abide by all applicable training and requirements. Allowable activities are limited for all unpaid personnel involved in research at Duke. Utilize the allowable activities tool below to understand restrictions around activities prior to including visiting scholars on your research team.

Visiting Scholars Process

 

Unpaid internships

Unpaid internships can provide powerful educational and professional experience. Duke values the contribution interns, and has developed guidance and policies for establishing these opportunities for research projects. 

To explore possibilities for recruiting an unpaid intern from an affiliated institution to work on your research team (SOM), visit the Clinical Research Internship Program (CRISP) website for information.

Allowable activities are limited for all unpaid personnel involved in research at Duke. Utilize the allowable activities tool below to understand restrictions around activities prior to including visiting scholars, volunteers, visiting trainees/interns or other unpaid positions on your research team.

Volunteers

Volunteering is a great way for individuals to gain experience and give back to the Duke community. Duke values the contribution of volunteers, and has developed guidance and policies for establishing these opportunities for research projects. For more information about potentially including volunteers as part of your research team, access the Duke Human Resources website.

Allowable activities are limited for all unpaid personnel involved in research at Duke. Utilize the allowable activities tool below to understand restrictions around activities prior to including visiting scholars, volunteers, visiting trainees/interns or other unpaid positions on your research team.

Special considerations for international students and staff

Prior to offering a position to an international student or visiting scholars, review the international activities guidance page, and contact your human resources representative.

The Visa Services site provides additional information on the process and requirements involved during the hiring process. It is important to note that visa processing times vary by specifics of the position, the person being hired, and the type of visa. Processing times can take anywhere from a few weeks up to a full year before being the individual is approved to begin work. 

  • For international staff, contact brendan.j.murphy@duke.edu. Special considerations and approvals may be needed to comply with federal and institutional regulations.

Allowable activities by role

Institutional and federal guidelines determine which research activities are allowed, or not allowed, based on role. Prior to hiring a new research team member or incorporating volunteers on your research team, you should ensure the role is an appropriate match to the research activity needs.