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.
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.
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 of Post-award Administration manages the financial aspects of these positions and the Office of Postdoctoral Programs provides professional guidance and training opportunities.
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.
The President's Task Force on Postdoctoral Appointments
In 2007 President Ray organized a Task Force to examine how to manage postdoctoral appointments at OSU. Specifically, this task force looked at appropriate classification, appointment procedures, compensation and benefits; how the postdoctoral experience at OSU can be enhanced; and appropriate centralized support systems for postdoctoral scholars.
The Task Force recognized that there is a traditional category of postdoctoral employee titled, “Research Associate (Postdoc)” at OSU and proposed adding a postdoctoral trainee category titled “Postdoctoral Scholar”. This position was established in 2008. Although some of the duties of these two postdoctoral positions are similar, there are also crucial distinctions. OSU’s Postdoctoral Scholar position follows recommendations for postdoctoral scholars established by the American Association of Universities, Committee on Postdoctoral Education, Report and Recommendations, March 31, 1998, as well as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation (see: Reed Letter).