Post Doctoral Trainees and Fellows, Graduate School Policy on

Title: Post Doctoral Trainees and Fellows, Graduate School Policy on
Policy Owner: The Graduate School
Applies to: Faculty
Campus Applicability: Campuses affected
Effective Date: March 10, 2011
For More Information, Contact The Graduate School
Contact Information: (860) 486-3615
Official Website:


The postdoctoral fellowship period is designed to be a period of research training “for the purpose of gaining scientific, technical, and other professional skills that advance the professional career” (1).

The Graduate School of the University of Connecticut at Storrs defines a postdoctoral fellowship or a postdoctoral traineeship as a training experience for individuals with a Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D., D.V.M., or D.D.S.

The primary focus of a postdoctoral fellowship or traineeship is research or scholarship.

Faculty have a responsibility to mentor postdoctoral trainees and fellows.  The Graduate School will have oversight responsibility.

By definition a training experience is temporary.  Accordingly the duration of a postdoctoral fellowship or traineeship cannot exceed 5 years.  These positions are distinct from non-tenure career positions such as Research Associates, Research Professors, and Professors-in-Residence.

Although both postdoctoral fellows and trainees are in training, those on training grants and fellowships are called trainees.  Those on other sources of funds are called fellows.

Individuals seeking another terminal degree concurrently cannot be a postdoctoral fellow or trainee.

  1. Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding organizations, and Disciplinary Societies.  National academy of Sciences., National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2000. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C.


  • Postdoctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows should in FY04 and 05 be compensated at a minimum at the rate suggested for National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) trainees with no postdoctoral experience. (The NRSA in FY03 was $34,200 for a trainee with no postdoctoral experience.)
  • In FY06, it will be mandatory that postdoctoral trainees and fellows be offered at least the minimum NRSA rate (as of the date of the policy) for no postdoctoral experience or be given a partial appointment (cannot be less than 50%) so that a 100% appointment would be equal to the minimum NRSA rate.
  • It is recommended that PI’s evaluate performance of postdoctoral fellows and trainees and recommend salary/stipend increases (if warranted) consistent NSRA suggestions

However, it will be the PI’s choice whether to credit postdoctoral fellows or trainees with postdoctoral experience gained at other institutions when an initial appointment is made.

Note Key Phrases:

  1. A postdoctoral fellow is an employee; a postdoctoral trainee is not an employee but receives a stipend.
  2. By definition, a training experience is temporary.
  3. The primary focus&is research and scholarship.