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Postdoctoral Associates

Postdoc definition and eligibility

The term “postdoc” at Virginia Tech can refer to two different employment situations as described below:

Those employees in the official university rank of “Postdoctoral Associate”. Eligibility for this rank requires an earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree in an appropriate academic field awarded in the previous five years. Appointment to this rank is a traineeship under the supervision of a more senior faculty scholar in preparation for a career in academia or research. The appointment is temporary in nature and is limited to a minimum of one year and a maximum total of 4 years.

Those employees who have earned a PhD or equivalent terminal degree in the previous five years who are in an official university rank other than “Postdoctoral Associate”. These positions are not considered traineeships and may fall under a number of official ranks such as “Research Associate”, “Research Scientist”, or “Research Assistant professor”, among others.

Guidelines for the Hiring of Postdoctoral Associates

The intention of the Postdoctoral Associate rank is to provide a continued opportunity for training in a specialty area for a limited amount of time. The minimum initial salaried appointment period is one year and the maximum allowable time for an individual to be in the rank of Postdoctoral Associate is four years. In order for employment to be continuous beyond the maximum of four years it would be necessary for the Postdoctoral Associate to be considered for a promotion to a higher rank, such as Research Scientist.

In order to offer competitive salaries at the VTCRI, full-time salaried postdoctoral associates should be earning a minimum of $47,478.

Hiring Procedures and Timing of Degree Award

Postdoctoral Associates may be hired through the competitive search process or via an approved search exemption. Departments may request approval of a search exemption to hire a Postdoctoral Associate prior to the anticipated award of the candidate’s PhD or equivalent terminal degree. Actual employment is contingent upon presentation of satisfactory documentation of credentials prior to the effective date of the appointment.

To initiate the search exemption process, faculty/PI should write up a position description, attach a letter of justification and the candidate’s CV. Forward the documents to Same process is applicable in a case of a competitive search process except for the letter of justification.

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  1. Laura Palmer

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