At Einstein, a postdoctoral researcher is appointed a "research fellow." The position of postdoctoral researcher may be defined as a period of intense postgraduate research, performed under the guidance of a mentor, with a career goal of becoming an independent principal investigator with one’s own laboratory.
The appointment process is initiated by the department in which the individual will be a postdoctoral researcher. The office of academic appointments (Room 1202 Belfer, 718.430.2844) is responsible for verification of credentials and for processing the official appointment and reappointment letters. Criteria for postdoctoral appointment include proof of satisfactory completion of a doctoral degree and eligibility to work legally in the United States.
Recruitment and appointment of a postdoctoral investigator will include the following steps:
- New postdoctoral positions will be submitted for budget approval prior to the issuance of a formal offer letter. The intent of this new budget-approval process is to prevent the possibility that a new postdoctoral researcher could be recruited to Einstein, but then be prematurely terminated due to insufficient grant support. It is not meant to hinder the ability of investigators to hire new postdoctoral researchers during the last one to two years of a grant that is up for competitive renewal, particularly when the investigator has a record of consistent funding in the past and a reasonable expectation of obtaining a new grant or a successful grant renewal in the future.
- After the postdoctoral position is approved, the principal investigator (PI) prepares a formal draft offer letter that is clear and explicit regarding the following:
- proposed research project;
- duties and responsibilities expected of the postdoctoral researcher;
- guidance and mentorship that the postdoctoral researcher can expect from the PI;
- postdoctoral stipend for the first year;
- expected start date for the first year of appointment;
- anticipated duration of the postdoctoral experience; and
- criteria for continuation and reappointment within the PI’s research program.
- If the prospective postdoctoral researcher is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, before sending the offer letter, the PI or the departmental administrator will contact the international students and scholars office to review the postdoctoral researcher’s status and develop a plan to sponsor him or her for an employment visa. This plan will specify the source of funds for any legal and regulatory fees, and provide documentation of necessary approvals.
- Before sending the offer letter to the prospective postdoctoral researcher, the PI will sign the letter and forward it to the department chair for approval and signature, and then to the administrator of the Belfer Institute for review and countersignature. The latter review should take no more than 48 hours, after which the letter will be returned to the originating department.
- A signed acceptance of the offer letter is required from the prospective postdoctoral researcher.
- In addition to the letter from the PI, each postdoctoral researcher who accepts an appointment will receive an official institutional letter of appointment from the director of the Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies, normally for a period of one year. The director of the Belfer Institute will issue reappointment letters, for up to one year each, as requested by the PI, prior to the end date of the previous appointment. Copies of all such letters will be sent to the PI and the departmental administrator.
According to the new Policy and Procedure for Appointment and Termination of Postdoctoral Investigators, new postdoctoral appointments will no longer be based on the academic year. As of July 1, 2008, all newly hired postdoctoral researchers will receive an appointment letter that will expire one year from the date of hire. Their reappointment letters also will be based on their hire date. Postdoctoral researchers who were already at Einstein as of June 30, 2008 will continue with their current appointments. At the termination of their current appointments, any reappointment letters will expire on the anniversary of their hire date. Future reappointments also will be based on the postdoctoral researcher's hire dates. All postdoctoral appointment and reappointment letters will be signed by the director of the Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies and will be for one year, unless a shorter appointment is specified by the department.