Research Associates are senior experts in their field who maintain a formal scholarly affiliation with the Smithsonian. Their appointments last for three years but can be renewed. In some cases Research Associates are given access to Smithsonian collections and facilities. In exchange, they bring their own outside expertise and knowledge to the Smithsonian for the increase and diffusion of knowledge to all.
With approval from a Smithsonian unit director, Research Associates are nominated by a member of the Smithsonian’s Research staff. Smithsonian Research Associate appointments are authorized by Smithsonian Directive SD-205, which can be seen here.
A list of Smithsonian’s Research staff can be found in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS).