Postdoctoral Affairs

Types of Appointments

Brown University makes three types of postdoctoral appointments, Postdoctoral Fellows (PDF), Postdoctoral Research Associates (PDRA) and Postdoctoral Research Fellows.

All three are intended to enhance and support the academic and research development of the appointee. Individuals holding postdoctoral appointments are supervised and mentored by a senior scholar, and are guaranteed freedom to publish. Since these appointments are intended to contribute to career development, they have limited terms.

It is important to note that Postdoctoral Research Associates and Postdoctoral Research Fellows are Brown employees, while Postdoctoral Fellows are not considered Brown employees. This difference in employment status means that PDRAs and PDRFs receive salary and PDFs receive stipends; this requires different tax treatment. Moreover, although all postdocs have access to health and dental insurance through Brown, payment and withholding arrangements differ.

Postdoctoral Positions

 

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Funding Source All funding not specified for PDFs and PDRFs NIH NRSA or external fellowship paid directly to the Fellow HHMI Hannah Gray only
Employment Status Brown employee Not a Brown employee Brown employee
Benefits Status Fully benefits eligible. Not benefits eligible, but receives a medical subsidy if enrolled in Brown insurance plan and paid through Brown Not benefits eligible, receives a medical subsidy regardless of insurance enrollment

Postdoctoral Research Associates

The majority of postdocs at Brown are research associates. Postdoctoral research associates are employees of the university with faculty status, who are eligible for a full range of benefits. Information on benefits, responsibilities, and a full definition of the postdoctoral research associate rank can be found on the postdoctoral research associates page. (Note that in some fields, "postdoctoral fellow" is a generic term for postdocs. If you are a research associate in such a field, you are welcome to refer to yourself on your CV or in other venues as a postdoctoral fellow.)

All full-time, paid postdoctoral research associates are eligible for up to 12 sick days per year and up to 10 days of vacation per year. Postdocs are expected to arrange vacation time in advance with their supervisor(s) in order to avoid disrupting ongoing projects. Funding for sick and vacation time should come from the same source as the postdoc's regular salary. Postdoctoral research associates may also be eligible for paid maternity leave and all unpaid leave time required by Rhode Island and United States law.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Brown appoints a very small number of postdoctoral research fellows in cases where a funding source requires it.  PDRFs are Brown employees whose salaries are taxed (like PDRAs), but they do not receive full benefits (like PDFs).  All PDRFs will receive a salary supplement intended to cover the University's portion of an individual insurance premium.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Fellows are a special category of postdocs who bring their own funding to the university or who are funded through NIH training grants. For most purposes, Fellows are identical to other postdocs at Brown; however, because of NIH funding requirements, Fellows:

  • Are not considered Brown University employees, whether or not they are compensated.
  • May not receive employee-sponsored health insurance. Instead, Fellows receive a monthly subsidy to cover the portion of their insurance that the university would normally pay. View instructions on calculating your medical subsidy and premium.
  • Are not subject to or eligible for social security or temporary disability withholdings.
  • Are not eligible for some employee benefits.

All full-time, paid postdoctoral fellows are eligible for up to 12 sick days per year and up to 10 days of vacation per year. Postdocs are expected to arrange vacation time in advance with their supervisor(s) in order to avoid disrupting ongoing projects. Funding for sick and vacation time should come from the same source as the postdoc's regular salary.

Details on benefits and policies concerning postdoctoral fellows can be found on the postdoctoral fellows page of this website.