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What is Research Associate? Check Job Profile, Career Opportunities, Salary

A Research Associate is a professional typically employed in an academic or research institution, a private research organization, or sometimes in the corporate sector. The role of a Research Associate can vary depending on the field and organization, but generally, they are responsible for conducting research, assisting in research projects, and supporting the work of senior researchers or principal investigators.

In every field, research holds a pivotal position, necessitating the expertise of highly skilled and experienced individuals. The role of a research associate offers a platform for analytical minds to explore uncharted territories of knowledge. This article delves into the research associate profile, discussing its responsibilities, eligibility criteria, salary, and various allowances and benefits associated with the position.

Who are Research Associates?

Research associates are skilled individuals tasked with gathering and evaluating data from both primary and secondary sources to address current challenges. Working under the guidance of a supervisor and the mentorship of universities or institutions, RAs delve into various scientific projects. Their work is pivotal in research departments, where they play a crucial role in uncovering new insights. These positions are available in esteemed institutions such as IITs, universities, post-graduate colleges, government research establishments, recognized R&D facilities in the public or private sector, industrial firms, and other reputable organizations.

How to become a Research Associate?

Since, a specified number of Research Associateships are awarded each year directly by UGC/CSIR to young research workers who have shown integral interest in original research in science, engineering, medicine or technology on specific projects. Research Associate will do full-time research work on problems stated in his/her application and approved by UGC. The eligibility criteria for Research Associateship are given below:

To determine the eligibility criteria for a research associate position, specific requirements may vary depending on the institution, field of research, and the level of responsibility involved. However, I can provide you with a general overview of the typical qualifications and skills expected of a research associate:

  • Education: A minimum requirement is typically a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as science, engineering, social sciences, or humanities. However, some positions may require a master’s degree or higher, particularly for more specialized or advanced research areas.
  • Research Experience: Research associates are expected to have prior research experience, either through their academic studies or previous employment. This could include conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and interpreting research findings. Demonstrating familiarity with research methodologies and techniques is crucial.

Age limit for Research Associate

The age limit for Research Associate has been given below category wise

  • The upper age limit for applying for Research Assistantship shall be 35 years.
  • The upper age limit is relaxble up to 5 years in the case of applicants belonging to the SC / ST category physically handicapped and women applicants whereas 3 years in the case of OBC (Non-Creamy Layer candidates).

Research Associate Levels

Candidates working as Research Associates have different emoluments depending on their level of education and experience in the research field. As per DST recent updates, the stipend has ben hiked for Research Associate for all Levels. There is a hierarchy that is to be followed by a Research Associate (RA) and has three different levels:

S. No. Levels/ Category
1 Level I
2 Level II
3 Level III

Research Associate Job Profile

Research Associateship is an opportunity for bright young men and women to explore new research areas under the expert guidance of faculty members/scientists working in University Departments/National Laboratories and Institutes of UGC/CSIR in various fields. RA major work includes

  • Working on the project under the guidance of the supervisor: Research Associates are provided with the project in different scientific fields as required by UGC. They also get meaningful guidance from their supervisor who is a professor or head of the department of the institute.
  • Handling labs and other experimental activities: Since the research associate has to perform several experiments and activities their comes in need the lab and its equipment should be handled to carefully during the work.
  • Submitting the progress report on the project to the authorities after specified periods: The essential part of RA is to prepare an annual progress report on the research work done shall be an essential part of the Associate’s  work. This report is needed to be submitted within a period of 15 days after completion of one year tenure of associateship through his/her Guide/Head of the Department.
  • He or she can get consent from UGC to take up a temporary paid lectureship/research job in a recognized R&D University, College/Institute of Repute.

Research Associate Salary in Hand

A Research Associate is a budgeted position with a formal job description and will normally work in a department and be available to offer research assistance. RA should have a PhD qualification. RA get a salary as per standards maintained by UGC (University Grants Commission). RA salary depends on the level of qualification the research associate is having. This constitutes different components as stated below:

Research Associate Salary In Hand
Basic Emolument 47000
HRA (9%-27%) 4230-12690
Overhead Charges 500
Revised Emolument 51800-60200
Contingency Grant 20,000 per year

Research Associate Revised Stipend

The Stipend of a research associate differs on the ground of the level of experience and research work performed. DST has hiked the Research Associate Stipend which has been amended as per the guidelines of UGC Regulations.

Category  Earlier Emoluments Latest Emoluments
Level I 36,000 Rs. 58,000/-
Level II 38,000 Rs. 61,000/-
Level III 40,000 Rs. 63,000/-

Research Associate Career Opportunities

A career as a research associate can open up various opportunities in academia, industry, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Here are some common career paths and opportunities for research associates:

  • Academia: Research associates often work in universities and research institutions, collaborating with faculty members and researchers on various projects. They may contribute to research publications, assist in grant writing, and mentor students. This experience can serve as a stepping stone towards pursuing advanced degrees or academic positions such as assistant professor or research scientist.
  • Industry Research: Many industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, engineering, and technology, employ research associates to contribute to research and development efforts. Research associates may work on product development, process optimization, data analysis, or innovation projects. They can also contribute to patent filings and intellectual property development.
  • Government Agencies: Government research institutions, such as national laboratories or research agencies, often hire research associates for scientific investigations and policy development. They may be involved in areas such as environmental research, public health studies, energy research, or defense-related projects.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: Research associates can find opportunities in non-profit organizations focused on specific research areas, such as healthcare, education, social sciences, or environmental conservation. They may contribute to research studies, program evaluation, or policy analysis, working towards the organization’s mission.
  • Consulting: Research associates with expertise in a particular field may choose to work as research consultants. They can provide their research and analytical skills to clients from various sectors, assisting with market research, data analysis, program evaluation, or strategic planning.
  • Entrepreneurship: Some research associates may choose to leverage their research experience and knowledge to start their own ventures. They might explore opportunities for commercializing research outcomes, developing new technologies, or offering specialized consulting service

RA Benefits and Allowances

The following is the list of benefits and allowances provided to the research assistants:

  • DA: Dearness allowance is not provided to Research Associates.
  • House Rent Allowance (HRA): Research associates living in a hostel are not entitled to receive a House Rent allowance. This allowance is only paid to the candidates who are not having a hostel facility. The rate is 9 to 27% depending on the city in which you are working.
  • Medical Benefits: These are provided to the research associates as per the regulations of the institute.
  • Leave and other entitlements: The RA is eligible for 30 days ‘with stipend leaves’. Any leave exceeding this limit of 30 leaves is considered to be without stipend leave.
  • Maternity leave: Female RA can avail of 180 days leave on grounds of maternity. Such leave shall be sanctioned by the Guide/ supervisor via intimation to UGC.
  • Paternity leaves: These are available to the male research Associates. These are for 15 days and need to be granted only after having documentary proof

Conclusion: Hence, Research Associate is a research-oriented profile that provides an opportunity for Young minds having a doctoral degree (PhD) in the field of Sciences, Humanities and Social Science areas to work on a specified project and issues confronted by the contemporary world. The candidate who wishes to work as a research associate should regularly look for different online sites of renowned institutes and UGC for the projects available to work on.


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What is a Research Associate?

Research Associate conducts research related to different scientific projects under the guidance of a supervisor and the mentorship of UGC. They rigorously work in research departments and are acknowledged for their contributions to discovering new concepts.

What is the stipend of the research associate working at level 1?

The stipend of the research associate working at level 1 is INR 47,000.

About the Author

I serve as a Team Leader at Adda247, specializing in National and State Level Competitive Government Exams within the Teaching Vertical. My responsibilities encompass thorough research and the development of informative and engaging articles designed to assist and guide aspiring candidates. This work is conducted in alignment with Adda247's dedication to educational excellence.


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