Incoming postdoctoral scholars

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General Information regarding postdoc appointments

Definition of Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows

The Office of Vice President for Research abides by the recommendations provided by The Penn State Committee on Postdoctoral Fellows and defines a postdoctoral appointment as one that includes:

  • appointee was recently awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., Sc.D., M.D., D.D.S., J.D.) in an appropriate field; and
  • the appointment is temporary; and
  • the appointee receives training under the supervision of a senior scholar or a department in a university or similar research institution (e.g., national laboratory, NIH, etc.); and
  • the appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship; and
  • the appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research career; and
  • the appointee has the freedom, and is expected, to publish the results of her or his research or scholarship during the period of the appointment; and
  • the initial appointment and renewals are not longer than a six-year period at Penn State, with exceptions granted to meet specific training needs of an individual and only after careful review by the college and appropriate central administrative officer

Postdoctoral education enables the recent recipient of a Ph.D. or other advanced degree an opportunity to develop further specialized research skills, learn new techniques, or enter into new fields of scholarship.

Formal programs of fellowships for specialized research training beyond the advanced degree have now become synonymous with career development in many science and engineering fields.

The "postdoc," as this training period has come to be known, is typically supported by basic and applied research funding from external grants or contracts awarded to university faculty (termed a postdoctoral scholarship) or by a fellowship award to the recipient providing him or her the opportunity to pursue advanced research with a faculty mentor (termed a postdoctoral fellowship).

Regardless of the source of funds, the postdoc should be engaged in research and scholarship under the supervision of a faculty mentor. The postdoc, much like a predoctoral student, is actively learning the complicated tasks of modern research fields. However, postdoctoral fellows are well on their way to becoming the next generation of faculty at a research university or leaders in industry and, therefore, merit full consideration for support in developing their professional careers.

 

All University Park campus postdoctoral scholars and fellows should to refer to this link for PSU policies regarding definition of appointment, duration of appointment, title, leave, insurance benefits, and grievance policies. GURU Policies