Skip to Content

Research Investigators

VA Investigators and research team members must hold a VA appointment prior to conducting any aspect of VA research.

All VA research staff (clinical and non-clinical) conducting VA research must be credentialed and privileged (if applicable) as required by current local, VA, and VHA requirements (see VHA Handbook 1100.19, VHA Directive 2012-030, VA Handbook 5005). Research staff may only perform those activities in a research study that are allowed by the job series to which they were appointed, have the relevant credentials and privileges, and are allowed by their research scope of practice.

An Investigator is any individual who conducts research including, but not limited to, the Principal Investigator (PI), Co-Principal Investigator (co-PI), sub-investigator, and Local Site Investigator (LSI). All investigators on a VA research study or program must hold a VA appointment.

Types of Research Investigator Appointments

Joint Appointment

Investigators with joint appointments at a VAMC (VA hospital) and an affiliated university must have a valid MOU which specifies (at both the university and the VAMC) the title of the investigator's appointment, distribution of compensation, the responsibilities of the proposed investigator, and the percentage of effort available for research at each institution.

Research may be funded by VA, by other sponsors, or be unfunded. The research must be approved by the R & D Committee before it is considered VA research and before it can be initiated.

Researchers with Joint Appointments of 5/8ths time or more may submit for intramural VA Research Funding.

Helpful Links:

Without Compensation (WOC)

A WOC employee is an individual that has an official VA appointment, but does not receive any salary or benefits from VA. See 38 U.S.C. §513; 38 U.S.C. §7405(a)(1). This appointment may allow the individual to support VA’s research program in various capacities including, but not limited to, Investigator, research coordinator, and administrator while at VA for a defined period.

WOC employees are subject to all laws and regulations pertaining to government personnel, including, but not limited to, Government ethics laws and Standards of Conduct and VHA Handbook 1100.19, Credentialing and Privileging.

Potential WOCs may review the WOC Employee Checklist at:

Without Compensation Employee Checklist (

This appointment is separate from the Academic Affiliate appointment for which our higher education partners are processed.

Academic Affiliate

Academic Affiliate appointments may be either:

  • a Paid Appointment (i.e., Joint Appointment),
  • a VA career conditional employee ( Joint Appointment 5/8ths time or greater),
  • a non-compensated appointment higher education employee who conducts research with the VA but   retains their salary and benefits with their home institution or
  • an employee serving on an Intergovernmental Personnel Agency Agreement.

The type of appointment may be contingent on the research opportunity or other consideration for which both institutions find mutual benefit.