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What are the policies for taking time off for research opportunities?

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Gizem’s Answer

Hi Vanisha,

In the US, the policies depend on your institution and your career stage.
For college students, most universities allow students to take research as a class during the semester. Basically, the students find a research group and dedicate several hours a week to contribute to a project in the lab (usually under the guidance of a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher). Additionally, they can participate in a research lab either in their own institution or in a different university during summer break.

In professional schools (e.g. medical school, pharmacy school etc.) of research universities, mostly students are encouraged to be involved in research during summer vacation. Graduate schools are focused on research.

At the faculty level, research universities expect the faculty members to have a strong research program. Liberal arts colleges mostly require faculty members to establish a research program with undergraduate students. Furthermore, faculty members in almost all types of institutions have the option to take a sabbatical (i.e. time off to explore different research areas or improve their knowledge). The policies for sabbaticals vary for different institutions.

I can't say much about the policies in industry, however based on friends' experiences, they don't normally have the option to take time off for different research opportunities. Even if they hold a research scientist position, mostly the company works with consultants or hires a new team for exploring other avenues.

Hope this helps...

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Gustavo’s Answer

Hello Vanisha! I hope you are well.

Vanisha according to my reality that I am a researcher in a Public University here in Brazil, so that I can research outside of my university, I have to be aware of the edicts regarding research opportunities. First I need the consent of the University, being released I can apply, and in this case if my resume fulfills the requirements I can leave for a determined period of time my University and to develop research and improve my knowledge in other research centers.

This reality according to a Public University Professor/researcher for the reality here in my country. For independent researchers, it is enough to be aware of the edicts, there are some open edicts, for different countries at the moment, both to spend a period in Universities and to spend periods in collaboration within industries that present lines of research.

For the private sector, I can't speak anymore because I never had the experience, but I know some people who work in the private sector, and for what I know they don't leave to research, what happens are some external consultants of Professors and Researchers that are specialists on the subject that go to the company and develop projects in partnership, and transference of sectors, as for example to go to live in another country that the base is the development of a certain follow up for the Professional to qualify and return to the company after a time for implementation and development of the sector.

It would be basically that. I hope to have contributed. Take care, stay safe my best regards.
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Changhe’s Answer

Hi Vanisha,

This is a very broad question as different universities, research institutions or private industry have quite different situations. I worked in public university before and now I am working in private industry and I would like to give you some my personal experience:

-Public universities generally have flexible schedule. For research positions it is generally research project related. At project critical stage, time off could be limited or restricted. Otherwise, time off should be flexible.
-Most of universities have semesters or quarters. Summer time should be most easily schedule your vacation.
-Each department or research group are different.

-Private industry varies with different sizes and field may have quite different situations.
-Company I am working in have very flexible schedule but heavily depending on projects. Urgent project has to be finished up before taking time off.
-No matter what time off should never affect projects.
-Generally there is no restrictions on certain days to be off but time off schedule has to be informed to supervisor/research group in advance.
-All vacation time has to be used up within the calendar year.

The university and industry I worked have quite similar situation.