Skip to main content

Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments and Reappointments

There are two categories of Postdoctoral Scholar (PDS), and these are based solely on the source of funding: training grant/individual fellowship (PDS Trainee) versus other support (PDS Research).  The job categories of Research Associate and Senior Research Associate still exist, but these are for individuals who are no longer considered in training or transitioning to independence. If you and the PDS want that person to stay more “permanently”, or be given a “promotion”, they can be appointed as Senior Research Associate or as Research Assistant Professor if the person wants to become somewhat independent and be able to serve as a PI on grants.

The postdoc appointment/reappointment process is now overseen by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in the Graduate School.  The reappointment process has moved online, including the IDP.  

You will be prompted to begin the reappointment process through an e-mail by either the Chair's Assistant or the Redcap system.  Once prompted, send the following information in an e-mail to the Chair's Assistant (no formal letter is required):

  • Name of the postdoc or proposed postdoc
  • Appointment length (one year or less) including effective date
  • Salary (Click here for recommended salary)
  • Grant or funding source including grant title, number, and center number
  • Postdoc's updated CV

The Redcap system will prompt the postdoc to complete the online IDP and self-assessment.  The system will then give the postdoc an access code that the faculty member will use to access the IDP and enter his or her comments.

The RCR form can still be completed and sent to the Chair's Assistant to be uploaded into the system.

In general, the OPA will not allow retroactive appointments.  If you believe that a retroactive appointment is necessary, please explain why in your request e-mail.

In general, postdoc appointments are not to exceed five years total, whether at Vanderbilt or another institution.  If you would like to request additional time for your postdoc, please explain why in your request e-mail.

Leave policies for postdocs.

Key Functions and Expected Performances:

1.  The appointee must have been recently awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g.,Sc.D., M.D.) in an appropriate field.

2.  The appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship. Pursuit of basic, clinical, or translational projects is allowed so long as effort is focused primarily on research.    

3.  Transition to career independence is expected through the development of professional skills that enable the postdoc to actively pursue a career of his/her own choosing.

4.  The appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research career.

a. Each year the postdoc and his/her mentor jointly develop a plan for the coming year, which incorporates the postdoc’s career and training goals and the mentor’s research goals in a mutually beneficial way.

5.  The appointee works under the supervision of at least one senior scholar who actively promotes the postdoc's professional development.

6.  The appointee may provide supervisory responsibility as determined by his or her mentor.

a. The appointee may mentor and teach undergraduates and graduate students in developing projects and on specific techniques and protocols.

b. The appointee may train and supervise support and technical staff and graduate students as appropriate.

7.  The appointee has the freedom and is expected to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship during the period of the appointment, in consultation with his or her mentor.

8.  Postdoctoral scholars may be funded from a variety of sources, including individual National Research Service Awards (NRSAs), NIH training grants, or federal or privately-funded research grants.

9.  The appointment is not expected to exceed five years, except in unusual circumstances.