4.6 The Science and Technology Group (STG)
To achieve its goals, the University needs to be able to respond flexibly to opportunities to extend and complement its research portfolio and to pursue activities in support of the wider development of Okinawa. The STG provides a focus for these activities and contributes to the research capabilities of the University in many ways. It enables new scientific or technical directions to be supported where a full research unit is not warranted, as well as providing skilled leadership for technical support services, or develops scientific, technical, industrial, educational or cultural collaborations with local and international institutions.
4.6.1 Science and Technology Associates (STA)
STA work in the STG on projects that extend and complement the University’s research portfolio and that support the wider development of Okinawa. These positions cover a wide range of skills and are used flexibly to enhance the capabilities of the University. STAs require special research skills and subject knowledge in a relevant scientific, technical, industrial, educational, or cultural discipline. There are three STA levels, dependent upon qualifications and experience, with each level requiring increasing professional achievement. Definitions for STAs are described in “Guidelines for Title and Job Class”.
STAs may conduct their own research or may be affiliated with a research unit and allocated resources. With the agreement of the Dean of Faculty Affairs, STAs may apply for external grants as a Principal Investigators.
Where there is an affiliation with a research unit, the STA’s research evaluation will normally be included in the unit review or tenure review of the Principal Investigator who leads the unit based on on-site review by external reviewers. For such STAs, the external expert peer reviews are not conducted independently and the 1st and the 2nd external expert peer reviews stipulated in 184.108.40.206 are replaced with such unit review or tenure review, followed by the recommendations stipulated in 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168; provided, however, such recommendations will include the STA’s contract and/or promotion (if applicable), but not research funding as the STA’s budget is included in the unit budget.
22.214.171.124 Criteria for External Expert Peer Review
Appointment and research evaluation of STAs is based on external expert peer reviews. Ideally the first review will be conducted before the end of Year 4, and the second review before the end of Year 8 if another non-continuing appointment is offered by the first review. Details of peer review procedures are defined by the Dean of Faculty Affairs [Link: Review Handbook for Science and Technology Associates]. Review criteria include following:
- Quality and significance of the research or research-equivalent activity.
- Scientific, technical, industrial, educational or cultural importance and interest of the work.
- Demonstrated effective utilization of research resources.
- Contribution to development of external partnerships with academic institutions, industries, or other international and local institutions.
- Proposed future work.
126.96.36.199 “Stop-the-Clock” policy for STAs
STAs may request contract extensions and postponement of reviews to accommodate parental responsibilities relating to childbirth, adoption of a child, or rearing of a baby. A second extension may be requested. Stop-the-Clock cannot be multiplied for multiple births (e.g., twins).
This policy is independent of maternity, parental, or childcare leave. Taking such leave does not automatically lead to application of Stop-the-Clock Policy. An extension of the review start date does not alter the STA’s normal duties.
The Stop-the-Clock application form form must be submitted to the Dean of Faculty Affairs before the review process begins (i.e., by the due date for submission of materials for review evaluation). Upon approval of the application form by the Dean of Faculty Affairs and the President, the following actions will be taken.
- The review date will be postponed by up to one year.
- Employment of the candidate will be continued for one more year, subject to 4.6.1 5).
- Research funding will be extended by up to one year.
In case of extenuating circumstances (e.g., multiple births, difficult pregnancy, premature birth, or medical conditions associated with childbirth), the Dean of Faculty Affairs may grant an additional 3-6- month discretionary extension. A request for an additional extension must be submitted to the Dean of Faculty Affairs together with supporting documentation (e.g., a medical certificate).
188.8.131.52 Process after the 1st review
a) Initial appointment of an STA is usually a non-continuing appointment up to five years. Based on the result of the 1st external expert peer review described in 184.108.40.206 and anticipated future contributions to the University, the RSAC will make recommendations to the President about the STA’s contract and research funding. The recommendations include:
- Offer of another contract as a non-continuing appointment, research funding up to five years, and/or promotion (if applicable); or
- Termination of appointment of a non-continuing STA at the end of their current contract period, or one year from notification of the decision, whichever is later, subject to the limitation in 220.127.116.11.
b) In special circumstances, prior to when the above recommendations in 18.104.22.168 (a) are made, the Dean of Faculty Affairs can decide to propose a continuing appointment to the RSAC by considering the outcome of the 1st external expert peer review described in 22.214.171.124 and anticipated future contributions to the University. Procedures with the RSAC are described in 126.96.36.199 (b).
The President will render a decision based on the recommendations above and will inform the STA of the result.
188.8.131.52 Process after the 2nd review (Change to continuing appointment)
The Dean of Faculty Affairs will decide whether to propose a change from non-continuing to continuing appointment to the RSAC by considering the outcome of the 2nd external expert peer review described in 184.108.40.206 and anticipated future contributions to the University.
a) If the Dean of Faculty Affairs decides not to propose a continuing appointment, the Dean of Faculty Affairs recommends that the President terminate non-continuing appointment of the STA at the end of their current contract period, or one year from notification of the decision, whichever is later, subject to the limitation in 220.127.116.11. If the President disagrees with termination of the appointment, he may discuss other outcomes with the STA.
b) If the Dean of Faculty Affairs proposes a continuing-appointment, documentation will be submitted to the RSAC. This includes the complete dossier for the external expert peer review, plus a letter from the Dean of Faculty Affairs making the case that the conditions are satisfied. The RSAC will use the following criteria to recommend a continuing-appointment, research funding, and/or promotion (if applicable) to the President:
- That the record of achievements during the period under review was “Outstanding” or “Excellent”;
- That proposed future work is judged to be of high quality, with a good chance of having a significant impact in that discipline over the next 10-15 years;
- That there is an identifiable benefit to OIST’s academic reputation.
When the RSAC recommends the continuing appointment and the President approves the recommendation, the STA can convert from a non-continuing to a continuing appointment. Continuing STA appointments are based on the University’s employment contract, which can be renewed under the same terms and conditions for the same term period until age 65, unless either party raises the issue of termination of the employment contract in accordance with the applicable Rules of Employment. At the time of conversion to a continuing appointment, or subsequently after the completion of successful external reviews at 5 year intervals, the salary may be negotiated.
If the RSAC does not recommend a continuing appointment, the STA’s appointment will terminate at the end of their current contract period, or one year from notification of the decision, whichever is later, subject to the limitation in 18.104.22.168.
22.214.171.124 Total period of non-continuing appointment
Under no circumstances, should the total period of non-continuing appointment exceed 10 years counting from the fixed term (non-continuing) contract start date or a contract extension executed on or after April 1, 2013.
126.96.36.199 STAs with continuing appointments
STAs with continuing appointments will be evaluated by external peer review and will be reviewed for research funding, promotion, and salary adjustments (if applicable) by the RSAC at least every five years. If the RSAC recommends promotion, the Dean of Faculty Affairs will forward the RSAC’s recommendation to the President for a final decision.
Continuing STAs will still be able to raise external funding in addition to research funding provided by the University or to replace OIST funding if the University’s research funding is discontinued after a negative external review. Should the STA’s achievements warrant, with approval of the Dean of Faculty Affairs, the STA may apply for timely external peer review in order to restart OIST subsidy funding after it has been discontinued. Based on the outcome of the external peer review, the President will
- Approve restarting research funding for up to five years, or
- Disapprove restarting research funding.
4.6.2 STA Annual Performance Appraisal and Salary Increase
STAs will meet annually with the Dean of Faculty Affairs to discuss their performance during the previous fiscal year, and to provide them with mentoring, as necessary. Details are described in the Guidelines for the STA Annual Performance Appraisal. This is an opportunity to appraise the STAs’ performance, including research, university service, grants received (especially external grants), and other contributions. It is also an opportunity for them to obtain help and feedback, especially to set objectives for the subsequent year and to develop a plan of action to
improve performance, if necessary.
If the performance is “Satisfactory”, STAs may be eligible for a salary increase, depending on OIST’s budgetary status.
STA’s research performance will be evaluated separately, as described in PRP 188.8.131.52, “Criteria for external expert peer review”.
4.6.3 The Science and Technology Group (STG) Forum
184.108.40.206 The Role of the STG Forum
The STG Forum provides an opportunity for the members of the STG to discuss the development of the STG, and it provides them with information about university matters, collects their opinions and suggestions to provide feedback to the University, identifies and discusses common issues, and allows them to share research results.
220.127.116.11 Membership and Officers
All STAs are members of the STG Forum. One member will be elected as the Chair of the Forum. The STG Forum will also elect the STG Representative to the Faculty Assembly.
The Forum will meet at least twice in each academic year. Forum meetings are attended by the Dean of Faculty Affairs, the Dean of Research, the STG Research Unit Administrator (who acts as the forum secretary), the Executive Assistant to the Dean of Faculty Affairs, and the HR Assistant to the Dean of Faculty Affairs as necessary. The President has a standing invitations to attend.
The Dean of Faculty Affairs reports on the STG Forum to the Faculty Council, and presents the STG Annual Report to the Faculty Assembly.