Conduct Your Research

Hiring and Supervising Research Assistants

Research Assistants (RA) are an invaluable part of the research process. RAs can help with collecting, entering and organizing ideas, preparing reports and briefs, managing project emails and communicating and more.

Effective March 1, 2019, the process to hire Research Assistants will be administered through Human Resources.

Notes to Remember:

  1. The hiring process must be complete before the Research Assistant begins work
  2. RAs are classified as casual employees of the University
  3. They are paid through direct deposit into their chosen bank account
  4. Minimum wage for Alberta is $15/hour
  5. Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Canadian Employment Insurance (CEI) are paid by the employee and employer
  6. Appropriate tax is deducted based on the information on their TD1 Federal and Province
  7. The current employer's costs are approximately 17% (9.2% vacation and holiday, employer's CPP contributions of 5.10% and employer's CEI contributions of 2.268%)
  8. Overtime is all hours worked over eight hours per day or 44 hours per week, whichever is greater (8/44 rule). An employee overtime pay is at least 1.5 times the employee's regular wage rate for all overtime hours worked. Check out Alberta regulations for more information
  9. Researchers must provide job responsibilities in a written document

How to Hire a Research AssistantHiringProcess_RA_ResearchStep One

Develop Job Description and Determine Type

All Research Assistant appointments will automatically cease at the end of tern of appointment, unless renewed or extended.

Please contact your faculty's Human Resources Business Partner if your position falls outside of these appointment types.

There are two types of appointment available for Research Assistants. Review the Terms and Conditions of Employment for Research Assistants for more information.

Student Research Assistant. Student Research Assistants are individuals who are actively enrolled in at least one (1) credit course at a University. A Student Research Assistant can be appointed for a period of at least three (3) months and up to two (2) years.

Non-Student Research Assistant. Non-Student Research Assistants are individuals who are not enrolled at a University but meet the minimum requirements for the position. Non-Student Research Assistant can be appointed for:
  1. A period of less than 14 hours per week
  2. A period of more than 14 hours per week, regularly scheduled, for a period no longer than three consecutive months
Research Assistants work on an irregular schedule for no less than three (3) hours per shift and no more than fifteen (15) hours per week during the Fall and Winter terms. From the period of December 1 to January 15 and May 1 to September 15, an RA can work up to 35 hours per week.

Should the Research Assistant be unable to work three (3) hours per shift and needs to be restricted on their hours due to personal reasons, class schedules, etc., a written request is required to the Principal Investigator. All requests are recorded and kept in the Office of Research, Scholarship, and Community Engagement.
If the Research Assistant is only tasked to work less than three hours, a minimum payment of three hours will still be approved for the RA.

Use the below scale to select a candidate's pay grid:

  Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Hourly $17.50 to $20.00 $20.00 to $25.00 $25.00 to $30.00 $30.00 to $50.00
Notes to Remember:
  • Consider the experiences and education of your candidate when deciding the salary
  • If you go over the above rates, please provide a rationale when submitting your Request for Offer form. A record of this rationale will be kept in the ORSCE
  • Salary scales for current employees will be grandfathered until their current contract expires. If you are re-hiring a past RA, please reference above pay grid in selecting your candidate's compensation

Step Two Interview and Select Candidate

The Principal Investigator is accountable for the recruitment of the Research Assistant. If you wish to post employment opportunities, Human Resources may post them on their website. For assistance creating the job posting, please contact

Once you have selected your preferred candidate, complete a Request for Offer form electronically.
  1. Locate the Research Assistant Request for Offer form on MyMRU through the Human Resources Toolkit link
  2. Send the completed form to The ORSCE will complete the form and forward it to Recruitment (HR).
    Note: Your form must be sent to ORSCE within seven (7) to ten (10) business days prior to the candidate's start date
  3. Once you have interviewed and received a verbal acceptance from your preferred candidate, move to step three

Step Three Send Offer Letter

Once recruitment receives the Request for Offer form, an offer package will be created. The offer package will be sent to the candidate with the PI and ORSCE as CCs. The package includes:

  • Offer Letter
  • RA Terms and Conditions
  • Code of Conduct
  • TD1 Forms
  • Employee Commencement Form

Step Four Offer Accepted and Employee Set-Up

Once the candidate has accepted the offer, the package will be sent back to Recruitment. HR will be responsible to complete the following:

  • Setting up employee Banner
  • Hourly Paid Form
  • File and Payroll

Note: If you need assistance with filling out an employee's Web Entry Timesheet, please contact Payroll at 403.440.6320.

After all these procedures are completed, Recruitment will communicate to the PI and the ORSCE that the employee is ready to start their first day as a Research Assistant.

Training The Library offers a resource guide for undergraduate research for students who wish to learn more about what goes into being an RA or an independent researcher. The Library also offers training to assist all RAs working on research projects. From inter-library loans to discipline-specific searching to managing large citation lists, they work with individuals and small groups to ensure that RAs can quickly find and access the best research materials and resources to support a project.

Contact your subject librarian or the Info Desk to 403.440.6088 for more information or to make an appointment.