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Postdoctoral Scholar Definition

Postdoctoral Scholar Definition

May 30, 2006

The University of Utah uses a definition of Postdoctoral Scholars derived from a synthesis of best practices and postdoctoral scholar definitions adopted by scientific professional organizations and funding agencies:

  • Possess a Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution;
  • Be appointed to a temporary training position, typically five years or less, including time spent at other institutions;
  • Pursue a program of research and advanced training under the direction of a faculty mentor;
  • Be supported through an institutional account either internally-funded or externally-funded (9206 Postdoctoral Research Associate or 9205 Postdoctoral Fellow) or noninstitutional, external source of funding paid directly to the Postdoctoral Scholar (complete POI form via HR)
  • Work in a typically full-time position of research and scholarly training as preparation for a research career in academia, industry, or government

Visiting Postdoctoral Scholars (Postdocs who are either self-funded or visiting from another institution) must follow University regulations for appointment as found in Policy 6-317: Academic Visitors (Visiting Scholars, Visiting Postdoctoral Scholars, and Visiting Graduate Students). Appointment/Registry forms may be found in the “Visiting Scholars” section of The Graduate School website.

More information on postdoctoral scholar definitions may be found on the following websites:

National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)
National Science Foundation (NSF)