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Definition of a Postdoctoral Scholar

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The designation of postdoctoral scholar; is used at KUMC to identify those individuals who have received their terminal doctorate degree (such as Ph.D., MD, DDS, DVM, OD, DO, Pharm.D., DNP), and who have opted to pursue further training. This period of training is a standard component in the preparation of performing research in the sciences. A postdoctoral scholarship is a time-limited appointment, the primary purpose of which is to provide research and/or scholarly training for an academic or research career. Postdoctoral scholars may be funded by training grants, research grants, or institutional resources.

A postdoctoral scholar at KUMC is expected to:
  • Participate in a full-time regimen of advanced training and research 
  • Train under the supervision and direction of a faculty research mentor who will provide the opportunity for collaborative and independent research, as well as promote the publication of findings and preparation of research grants as determined by a mutual agreement between the postdoctoral scholar and the mentor
  • Have an appointment for a minimum of one year with the possibility of annual re-appointment for up to four additional four years, for a total not to exceed five years unless by exception of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or his/her designee
  • Have a Fellowship, Traineeship or equivalent support for studies at the postdoctoral level

Training as a postdoctoral scholar includes all relevant academic activities related to the preparation for a career in research or academia. These are typical: manuscript preparation of research findings, reading the literature, manuscript reviewing, presentations at meetings, attendance and presentation at seminars, organization and attendance at training-related activities (including grantsmanship workshops) and limited training in teaching-related activities. All of these activities should have the objective of enhancing the performance of the fellow in the pursuit of the research-related projects from which they draw their support. In many cases, the training component of a postdoctoral scholarship may involve the joint preparation and development of proposals for extramural funding

It is strongly recommended that a person who falls into one of the following categories NOT be appointed as a postdoctoral scholar:

  • Registered students or candidates for a degree at KU/KUMC even if they already hold a doctoral degree
  • Registered residents
  • Individuals whose primary responsibility is to serve in an administrative or technical capacity for a project and/or laboratory

The title for a postdoctoral scholar used by Human Resources and the department may vary. Some of the titles include Postdoctoral Fellow; Postdoctoral Research Fellow; Postdoctoral Trainee; Research Assistant; Research Associate and Fellow; as well as Research Fellow.

National Research Service Award (NRSA)

The National Research Service Award (NRSA) program provides support to promising postdoctoral applicants who have the potential to become productive and successful independent research investigators in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes and Centers.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs & Graduate Studies

University of Kansas Medical Center
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
1015-1016 Dykes Library
Mail Stop 1040
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-2369