Appointment as Senior Scientist is awarded to an individual who has shown continued excellence in scientific research and who, through significant original contributions, has gained a respected, and outstanding international reputation. A Senior Scientist is responsible not only for initiating and conducting independent research but is expected through example, leadership, influence and advice to promote the attainment of the highest scientific standards within the Institution and the field. Senior Scientists are expected to maintain close liaison with their Department Chair to aid and assist the Chair in planning the future development of the Department, to serve on national and international science planning and evaluation committees, and to both serve on and chair Institution committees.
Consideration for promotion to Senior Scientist usually occurs between four and eight years after tenure. The process can be initiated by the Department Chair at any time following tenure (usually following an annual discussion of nominations with the departmental Senior Scientists), or it can be requested by the Associate Scientist candidate after he or she has been tenured for at least four years (or four years after a previous failed Senior Scientist promotion review). If an Associate Scientist has not been considered for promotion by the end of the eighth year after tenure, the Department Chair will explain the circumstances in writing to the candidate and Senior Associate Director and Director for Research.
The file for Senior Scientist consists of an updated curriculum vitae, research statement (normally five page maximum) and usually five recent publications, independent written opinions from Institution Senior Scientists who are familiar with the candidate's research and from the Associate Director for Education, letters from at least six knowledgeable outside scientists (at least three of whom are different from those asked during the appointment or promotion to Associate Scientist with Tenure process), and recommendation from the Department Chair. As for the process for tenure, written opinions from Institution Senior Scientists are based on a file which does not include the outside letters. Prior to the Department Chair's recommendation, he or she meets with the Department's Senior Scientists to review the complete file (including the outside letters). The reference letters for Senior Scientist appointments should address the candidate's research contributions, international standing, the leadership and influence of his or her work, participation in national and international programs, editorship or similar duties, concern for the scientific and educational vitality of the Institution and the field, participation in Department and Institution affairs, and involvement in the professional development of junior staff and/or students.
For promotion from tenured Associate Scientist, the Department Chair presents the case to Appointments and Promotions Council, which advises the Director, who presents his or her recommendation to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for its decision, which is binding. For outside appointments as Senior Scientist, tenure procedures also are followed (i.e., an external Ad Hoc Review Committee is convened).