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Research Assistantship

Research conducted by Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) is at the heart of a significant portion of the total sponsored research. GRAs conduct research in a relevant area of their major course of study, under the direction of a faculty member.

The research, often in consultation with the student's major advisor, is usually a component of the advisor's research that is directly supported by external funding. GRAs are expected to design and carry out a specific research project, which usually forms the basis for a thesis and advances the faculty member's research at the same time. The research and related duties performed by GRAs directly support the research activities of entire departments.

Duties include:

1. purchasing, installing, maintaining and operating scientific instrumentation and /or computer equipment;
2. locating, reading, and summarizing pertinent research articles;
3. modeling;
4. reflecting on the state of the field and proposing new research problems;
5. performing experiments, calculations, and analyzing the results and disseminating new knowledge orally or in written publications;
6. attending conferences to present results and collaborate with other researchers; and
7. training and supervising less experienced research personnel.

GRAs are expected to work 15 to 20 hours per week. Any additional time is normally associated with their academic research. Primary sources of funding are from the faculty member's grant or contract funds sponsored by federal agencies, state granting agencies, private industrial funds, and other private sources. Additional sources include departmental returned indirect costs, scholarship and endowment funds.

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