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Research assistant wages?

  1. Oct 31, 2011 #1
    So I have to put together a mock budget for a funding proposal. I am unsure, however, how much I need to pay the research assistants I will have working on the project. I also don't have a good idea of how much a professional with a PhD or master's would be paid to work on a project.

    I don't have any experience as a research assistant so I have absolutely no idea what the general range of payment is. Any rough estimate will work for both the assistant and for a professional with a PhD or Masters.

    All suggestions are welcome.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2011 #2
    Do you know what kind of overhead you are looking at? Do you just need salary?

    PhD or masters in what? Physics?

    If it is physics, you can look at the AIP statistics page for salaries: http://www.aip.org/statistics/

    If you are looking for total cost (salary plus fringe and institutional overhead) I can probably dig up some numbers from some recent proposals of mine.
  4. Oct 31, 2011 #3
    Ya, Norman. I do need to incorporate fringe benefits as well. If you happen to have your proposals easily at hand then that would be great. If not, don't worry about it.

    The PhD is not necessarily in physics. In this particular case, we have a Biochemist, a Physicist, and a Materials Engineer. The salaries don't need to be specific, but I need to figure out how much each will be paid per year over a period of four years. The funding we are applying for is from the NSF which allots $500,000/yr for 4 years. I kind of need to know how much to pay the staff before I can budget the resources we need to use!
  5. Nov 1, 2011 #4
    As a rough estimate, including fringe and overhead, a research scientist in physics will cost you approximately 100K-120K. There is usually like 28-38% overhead from the institution, then 10K - 15K worth of fringe, the rest is salary.

    These are just rough numbers. Hope they help. Also, this assumes you are buying 100% of a person's time. That is not always the case. Keep that in mind.
  6. Nov 1, 2011 #5
    These numbers are a bit higher than necessary. Instead of a research scientist, take a postdoc. You can get a postdoc for 35-50k salary, and oftentimes postdocs don't receive benefits. After overhead to the university, you are still almost certainly less than 75k. Scientists are cheap.
  7. Nov 1, 2011 #6
    Depends on what you need for the project, I suppose.

    Just to be clear, however, for the numbers I gave originally, the salary range for the given parameters was 47-76k. As a postdoc in physics, I fall in that range with full benefits (my current position, however, is a little more atypical). With my first postdoc, I was within the range you quoted, also with full benefits.
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