Policies and Procedures

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J1 VISA Process

All J1 processes should begin at least 3-6 months before start date to ensure that ESSIC has sufficient time to process the request. Please see the ensuing text for an outline of the J1 process.

 1. A request for official documentation ( CV, passport, degrees (translated in English) with an official seal, I-94 card (back and front) if applicable, visa, all approved notices, and EAD card (Employment Authorization Card) if applicable) will be submitted to the applicant, along with the following forms:

  • ESSIC Employment Data Collection Form

  • DS-2019 Data Collection Form

 2. Upon completion, Applicant provides all requested documentation/forms to ESSIC.

 3. ESSIC submits DS2019 application to IES along with the above documentation.

 4. IES will notify ESSIC to pick up DS-2019.

 5. ESSIC will mail DS2019 to applicant via Federal Express.

 6. Applicant should not schedule visa appointment with U.S. Embassies and Consulates until receipt of DS2019.

 7. Upon receipt of applicant's visa, a copy should be submitted to ESSIC.

 8. Applicant makes travel arrangements.

 9. Applicant will notify ESSIC of their arrival date to the U.S.

10. ESSIC will then complete ARS appointment and route for approval.

IT Hardware Purchases

All IT-related hardware/software procurement requests will be routed through the ESSIC Office of Information Technology and Communications (OITC) for pre-purchase configuration approval, if the hardware/software is to be directly managed by or used in association with the ESSIC / Discovery District IT management structure. (No exceptions)

Systems and components being purchased for use outside of the "ESSIC" IT management structure, may still be routed through the OITC for appropriate cost and usage verification.

UMD Software Licensing Purchases

All requests for UMD Site License Software products will be routed through the ESSIC Office of Information Technology and Communications (OITC) to ensure the usage environment and system ownership - management meet the University software licensing criteria.

Note to prospective end-users: The majority of products offered through UMD are available for "Departmental" use ONLY. Product installation is prohibited on anything other then University of Maryland owned / managed equipment. The exception to this rule are products which are also licensed for "Work at Home" usage. See the following link for an explanation of these guidelines and the associated products.

Criteria for Appointment/Promotion to Faculty Ranks in CMNS

It is the responsibility of every CMNS academic unit to bring these Criteria for Appointment and Promotion to Research Faculty Ranks to the attention of every research faculty candidate for appointment and promotion in the unit (or units, for joint appointments).

The following documents are available for download to aide you in this process:

The following paragraphs provide guidance as to the criteria to be addressed in promotion and appointment dossiers for research faculty. These criteria apply fully to the positions of Assistant, Associate, and Senior Research Scientist, Assistant, Associate, and Senior Research Engineer, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor and Research Professor. In what follows, “members of the faculty” refers to research faculty holding, or being considered for, any of these nine ranks.

1. Research. All members of the research faculty must demonstrate significant research achievements in their field. Appointment/promotion at the Associate level requires research accomplishments whose originality, depth and impact establish the candidate as an important contributor to knowledge in their field. Appointments or promotions to the ranks of Senior Research Scientist, Senior Research Engineer, Research Professor require a record of research accomplishments that establish the candidate as an outstanding contributor to knowledge in their field.

The research achievements of all research faculty will be evaluated on the quality of their contributions to knowledge in the context of the research mission of the individual departments and institutes, as evidenced by published work in books, journals and leading conferences, written evaluations by premier people in their specific research field, awards, prizes, inventions, patents and other recognitions and, as appropriate, their record of competitive funding. Research accomplishments and leadership that advance the state of knowledge via documented instrument development, algorithm development, numerical model development and data set generation may also be weighed when considering Research Faculty appointments and promotions and can be the primary criteria for scientists whose work emphasizes these contributions. The evaluation of candidates for Assistant, Associate or Senior Research Engineers will be based on the above criteria but with emphasis on their contributions to original engineering practice, design and development.

2. Teaching and Mentoring. All research faculty are encouraged to contribute to the mentoring of students and, as appropriate, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, to assist in their academic and professional development. These educational functions should be carried out in a manner to complement and not negatively impact the primary research mission of the research faculty member. Additional qualifications apply to the ranks of Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor and Research Professor, for which contributions to the educational mission are critical, including knowledge and breadth of subject matter, presentation skills, interest in students, development of educational methods and materials, and---if applicable---quality of teaching, as assessed from data such as student evaluations.

3. Service. To the extent permitted by federal regulations research faculty are expected to engage in service to the university and the wider professional community. This may include committee work and other university-related administrative assignments, development activity, grant application and administration, organizational or scientific endeavors in professional societies, engagement in articulating our mission to the wider community, and extramural services of a professional nature to schools, industry, local, state, and national agencies, and the public at large.

ESSIC Proposal Procedures and Policies

  • PI notifies ESSIC Business Office (EBO) of upcoming submission and schedules appointment with the EBO Proposal Coordinator to create budget and review agency forms required in RFP (PI to supply copy of announcement or unique guidelines at budget meeting).
  • The EBO Proposal Coordinator provides support for creating budgets and drafting budget justifications. Also, Current and Pending, formatted CVs, etc. can be maintained by EBO with the PI input.
  • EBO submits completed routing form, final budget and budget justification with a draft technical SOW to ORAA. This routing MUST be at ORAA at least 6 business days prior to the deadline. The budget is considered FINAL.
  • Upon receiving all the various pieces necessary to finalize the full proposal, EBO conducts a final review and forward (e-submission) to ORAA for their review. The upload (e-submission) to ORAA MUST be done at least 24h prior to the deadline.
  • Upon review, ORAA submits to funding agency or sends back for required corrections. That's why the e-submission must be done ahead of the deadline to ensure all is fine.


  • Timeline: Allow a minimum of 12 BUSINESS days for proposal processing and approval:
  • EBO requires up to 3 days
  • Routing: up to 2 days
  • ORAA 6 days
  • E-submission 1 day minimum

    In short, PIs should start their proposal preparation with EBO

Electronic Travel / Procurement Request Authorization

All newly submitted requests for travel or procurement will enter the EBO on-line system in an unassigned/non-processed state, pending the electronic approval of the associated ESSIC PI.

Through the submittal of an electronic approval, the ESSIC PI authorizes the ESSIC Business Office to begin processing a pending travel or purchasing request, originated by themself or a group member.

The electronic approval additionally confirms that the ESSIC PI is both fully compliant with the funding source (KFS) provided and has clarified any questions or issues with the EBO, prior to submitting their authorization.

Important Documents
ESSIC Conference Room Reservation Policy

In order to reserve a meeting space at ESSIC, you must submit a Room Reservation Form to Djellza Ramadani, Administrative Assistant (djellzar@umd.edu, 301-405-5557).

Your meeting must be scheduled to take place during ESSIC regular office hours: 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday (except holidays). ESSIC entry doors automatically lock after 5:00pm and do not unlock until 8:00am the next week day. Only authorized ESSIC employees with access cards may enter the facilities outside of regular office hours. Additionally, in the event that a UMD early closing and/or delayed opening conflicts with your groups meeting time, you may be asked to reschedule your meeting or adjust meeting times accordingly.

Please note: the submission of a Room Reservation Form does not guarantee that your reservation will be approved. You will receive a confirmation of your reservation from Djellza Ramadani after your Room Reservation Form has been evaluated and approved.

Once your reservation has been confirmed:

  1. If your group will need setup of IT equipment (audio/visual equipment, conference phone, group Wi-Fi, etc.) for your meeting, please place a detailed request or “ticket” with our IT Help Desk using the following link: ESSIC IT Support. If you have any additional questions pertaining to IT equipment available in our meeting spaces, please contact our IT Help Desk Coordinator, Luther Clark, at lclarkjr@umd.edu.
  2. Please note that storage of personal items/luggage in the ESSIC lobby area or other shared spaces (kitchen, lounge, etc.) is prohibited.
    • Note: Please request a designated storage space for your group from Djellza Ramadani if you anticipate that attendees may bring luggage with them to the meeting.
  3. Please refrain from moving furniture into or out of meeting spaces, except as agreed in advance with Djellza Ramadani.
  4. Please refrain from using any tape, wall-putty, or any other adhesive on the walls of meeting spaces.
  5. Please note that ESSIC does not provide food/refreshments, dishware, utensils, or cleaning supplies to groups for events held in ESSIC facilities and plan accordingly.
  6. Your group is responsible for cleaning up after your event. Please leave all spaces used by you and your group in the way that you found them.
  7. We request that the logistics coordinator of each group make a logistics announcement to the group at the beginning of the meeting regarding the items listed above as well as the following items:
    • Location of restrooms (to the right of the reception desk)
    • Location for luggage storage (if one was reserved)
    • Please remind your attendees to refrain from loud conversations in the lobby and hallways, as ESSIC employees may be working nearby
ESSIC Employees Parking on Campus

ESSIC personnel who must drive their car to visit campus have to use and pay for visitor parking located at the Regents or Stadium Garage, or one of the other locations available. A map showing these locations is at https://transportation.umd.edu/parking/maps/visitor-parking-map.

The ESSIC Business Office has parking codes that are to be used ONLY when someone must travel to campus for administrative business on behalf of ESSIC. They may not be used by faculty for teaching or service activities.

Guidelines and expectations for Research Associate and Early Career Research Scientist
(Download PDF version here.)

For brevity, throughout this document we will refer to "RA/ECRS" for Research Associate (RA) and Early Career Research Scientist (ECRS) appointees.

1. What is expected of the RA/ECRS Appointees?

The RA/ECRS appointee:

  • a. Is responsible for signing off on, and adhering to, the Letter of Offer;
  • b. Is responsible, with the Faculty Supervisor, for being informed of, and complying with, all University and applicable funding agency policies and procedures;
  • c. Is responsible, with the Faculty Supervisor, for developing at the start of the appointment period a clear understanding of rights and obligations under the policies and procedures on research, patents, conflict of interest, fraud and any other relevant issues;
  • d. Should communicate regularly with his/her supervisor;
  • e. Is expected to publish the results of his/her research in a timely manner;
  • f. Record and document research results appropriately, and identify the sources of funding in all publications, presentations (oral or poster) and any other statements;
  • g. Fulfill specific research and training objectives;
  • h. Comply with any professional codes of ethics governing the practice of the discipline;
  • i. Comply with all relevant federal, state and municipal regulations and guidelines;

If the appointee will be engaged in other specific activities, such as teaching, these expectations should be stated in the letter of appointment or in a subsequent written communication.

2. Being a Good Mentor

The supervising faculty member is expected to be a mentor to the RA/ECRS appointee, providing training and supervision. As part of the annual reappointment process the mentor is expected to write an evaluation or progress report of the RA/ECRS appointee's activities in a manner that is clear and timely. These reports should be provided to the appointee and forwarded to the Director of the Unit. Mentors have the responsibility to provide an appropriate educational experience that helps to advance the career of the RA/ECRS appointee.

Scientific mentoring is a personal, one-on-one relationship between a more experienced scientist and a junior scientist through which the trainee receives guidance and encouragement that contributes to professional development.

Why Should You Be a Good Mentor?

Good mentoring should be viewed as an essential ingredient for ensuring that the RA/ECRS?mentor relationship is professionally productive. Mentors also often mention deriving personal satisfaction in helping nurture the next generation of scientists.

Traits of a Good Mentor

  • Accessibility: An open door and an approachable attitude.
  • Empathy: Personal insight into what the trainee is experiencing.
  • Open mindedness: Respect for each trainee's individuality and for working styles and career goals that may be different from those of the mentor.
  • Consistency: Acting on your stated principles on a regular basis.
  • Patience: Awareness that people make mistakes and that each person matures at his or her own rate.
  • Honesty: Ability to communicate the hard truths about the trainee's chances of success.
  • Savviness: Attention to the pragmatic aspects of career development.
  • Trust: As a mentor you are privy to considerable information about your trainee, including accomplishments, failures, financial situations and possibly even personal information. Information should be treated as confidential so your trainees feel they can trust you and share their ideas and problems with you.

Strategies for Effective Mentoring

  • Make everything a learning opportunity
  • Set specific goals and measures of accomplishment
  • Encourage strategic thinking and creativity
  • Uphold professional standards
  • Impart skills
  • Provide networking opportunities
  • Give moral support
  • Work toward improving and refining the person's skills during the RA/ECRS training period.

3. Orientation

  • Introduce the RA/ECRS to the research team, department administrators, and other colleagues.
  • Ensure the RA/ECRS is aware of policy and guidelines that apply to him/her.
  • Familiarize the RA/ECRS with the office/lab space, equipment, ordering supply process, lab procedures, and standing meetings of the lab.
  • Familiarize the RA/ECRS with all the Unit's administrative procedures, including those related to business travel arrangements.
  • Discuss funding expectations. Is the RA/ECRS expected to apply for fellowships or will s/he be supported on training and/or research grants?
  • Discuss research expectations. What knowledge is s/he expected to have and what will be taught? What are the research milestones?


  • The mentor shall conduct periodic reviews with the RA/ECRS but no less than once per year in order to assess the RA/ECRS' performance and provide constructive feedback.
  • The annual review should assess the RA/ECRS' progress to date, strengths, areas needing improvement, expectations and goals, and potential for a research career in the discipline.

Career Preparation

  • Assess the RA/ECRS's talents and skills and discuss career options.
  • Encourage the RA/ECRS to engage in networking activities (introduce to colleagues at professional meetings, seminars, via email).
  • Offer opportunities for the RA/ECRS to develop supervisory skills by allowing him/her to supervise students or other research staff.
  • Encourage research independence.
  • Encourage senior RA/ECRS to apply for grants that will provide bridge funding for independent research.
  • Inform and encourage RA/ECRS to participate and attend workshops and seminars
  • Encourage RA/ECRS to gain teaching experience by allowing them to give a lecture in the classroom, co-teach, present a seminar, or teach a summer session course.
  • Assist with the job search (review CV, applications, interview format and questions, presentation, and write letters of recommendation).
  • Encourage RA/ECRS to actively seek opportunities for professional experience and advancement (e.g., volunteer on committees, help organize meetings).