Staff scientists are fully trained researchers who work closely with various research groups on campus. They provide domain-specific skills, expertise and experience not usually present within research groups and assist in the development of the scientific service units (SSUs). They provide advanced training in sample preparation, imaging, and data analysis. Each staff scientist is administratively associated with a specific SSU. Staff scientist positions are not unique to ISTA, but in contrast to others, the Institute’s staff scientists are independent of a particular research group, and thus are free and encouraged to work with any research group and SSU on campus. Their support and collaboration is critical to the success of numerous projects at ISTA because of their ability to devise innovative solutions to research questions. In addition, their continued presence prevents the loss of knowledge and maintains institutional stability as other scientists leave the Institute.
Similar to the professors on campus, staff scientists receive a fixed-length contract at the beginning of their employment and are evaluated after five years. If successful, staff scientists receive permanent contracts. The Institute currently employs five staff scientists who share their time in collaborations with research groups, assisting SSUs, and advancing their own projects. These scientists have diverse backgrounds and focus on different research topics, but are united in their curiosity and creativity, their openness to collaboration, and their desire to find effective solutions to technical problems.