Working in the lab

Oregon State University welcomes postdocs and their families

We strive to create an environment that stimulates your creativity and nurtures your professionalism, and we realize that your academic and creative successes are a cornerstone of the success of the institution.  At OSU there are several appointment types that are commonly referred to as “postdocs”, with a major distinction between postdocs who are employees and those who are trainees. These web pages primarily address the trainees – postdoctoral scholars and postdoctoral fellows. Postdocs who are employees should consult with the Office of Human Resources for employee-related questions, although they are welcome to participate in programs sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Programs. Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows can expect a full-time program of advanced academic preparation and research training under the guidance of a faculty mentor, with significant attention to their personal professional development as defined by an Individual Development Plan. Your position as Postdoctoral Scholar or Fellow is not so much a job as it is a stepping stone to your future. Where the path leads is ultimately up to you, but we’re here to help!

What is a postdoc?

Employee appointment

Research Associate (Postdoc)

This is a position of indefinite length, which can progress into a career position of Research Associate. Research Associates are supervised by professorial faculty members; they provide support for faculty members and they provide support for faculty research programs. There is no explicit expectation for professional development other than what supervisors normally provide to all employees.  The Research Associate position is a faculty position carrying normal benefits provided to all non-classified employees of the University. The Office of Human Resources establishes policies and provides information about these positions as they do all other employee categories.

Trainee appointments

Postdoctoral Fellow

Similar to Postdoctoral Scholars, but fellows are typically awarded a fellowship independently by a federal or private agency. This generally means that the fellow has applied to (on their own), and secured funding from, an external funding agency. These are short-term research appointments (typically two to three years maximum) under supervision of an OSU faculty member. Health insurance is required and provided by OSU but paid by the Fellow or funding agency. The Office for Sponsored Research and Award Administration manages the financial aspects of these positions and the Office of Postdoctoral Programs provides professional guidance and training opportunities.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Update on the hiring of postdoctoral scholars, Oregon passes SB 214 that allows for postdoctoral scholars starting Jan. 1, 2018. Read more about SB 214.

A mentored position that is restricted to individuals who have received PhDs (or comparable advanced degrees) within five years and with a three-year maximum term at OSU. Postdoctoral Scholars are mentored by professorial faculty members and they train within faculty research programs. As trainees rather than employees, their work is  primarily for their own professional development.  At least 15% of their time must be devoted to professional development activities outside of their research training activities.  An Individual Development Plan (IDP), co-developed by the mentor and the Postdoctoral Scholar, defines the scope, goals and anticipated products from research training and professional development activities. The best measure of success for a postdoctoral trainee position is subsequent employment as a fully independent researcher. Health insurance is paid for Postdoctoral Scholars through the grant or contract that funds their stipends.

Postdoc Survival Guide

New and newly accepted postdoctoral applicants may have questions about OSU, and the orientation process. To have these questions answered and more, please download our

Postdoc Survival Guide

OSU Postdoctoral Association

The Oregon State University Postdoctoral Association (OPA) aims to provide a social network for all OSU-affiliated postdocs and a framework for liaising with and advising the Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Research.