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Hiring a Postdoctoral Fellow


In 2003, CHOP adopted a formal definition for a postdoctoral fellow:

A Postdoctoral Fellow is an individual with a terminal degree seeking a formal, supervised research training experience and, generally, with less than 5 years of relevant training after the receipt of the terminal degree.

Please take note:

  • Except in rare circumstances, PhD researchers with more than 5 years of postdoctoral experience should NOT be hired as a postdoctoral fellow
  • Postdocs must be transitioned to new roles (e.g., promoted to Research Associate) or terminated after 5 years of fellowship training, unless approved for a limited fellowship extension
  • A postdoc is a limited period of advanced research training; that research training experience includes active participation in career and professional development activities

For questions on best hiring practices for postdoctoral fellows, please contact the Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs.

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While the office does NOT handle the postdoc hiring or onboarding processes, there are resources available to support you.

  • Create your job ad using advertising template language for use in recruiting postdoctoral fellows
  • To create a job requisition the Lead Talent Strategist, with your updated job ad; Human Resources will post your position to CHOP Careers, and other job search engines.
  • Contact the Office of Immigration and Visa Services for immigration- and visa-related questions for international fellows.
  • Post your position on the Penn Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs careers page (requires mentor to post directly using his or her PennKey).
  • Send a request to the Academic Training Team to distribute your complete, formatted job ad to local postdoc and grad offices for distribution via relevant E-mail lists.

For additional guidance related to creating an open requisition, visit the CHOP HR Service Portal

Academic Training staff are available to interview your postdoctoral candidates, and to discuss postdoctoral fellowships at Children's Hospital. Contact us for more information.

All postdoctoral fellow candidates (including T or F-32 training grant supported) must meet the criteria described on this page

  • Initial postdoctoral appointments at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia are for 1 to 3 years as determined by the faculty mentor. The maximum total term for a postdoctoral fellow is five years.
  • Postdoctoral fellows who will be hired as new CHOP employees (i.e., non-training grant supported) are processed through Research Human Resources. For additional guidance, contact the Lead Talent Strategist.
  • Training Grant (T or F-32 supported) postdoctoral fellow appointments are processed through Research Business Management. For additional guidance, contact your Research Business Manager
  • International postdoctoral fellows who need assistance with any immigration questions should contact the Office of Immigration and Visa Services.

Salaries for new postdoctoral fellow hires are to be in alignment with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) pay scale for the current year. Use relevant and applicable professional experience as a guide to determine starting salary level.

All existing postdoctoral fellows advance to the next NIH stipend/salary level upon completion of their annual evaluation (e.g., NIH level 0 to NIH level 1) and if their faculty mentor recommends the postdoc for promotion to the next fellowship level.  A response of "yes" to the question, "Do you agree to increase your postdoctoral fellow's salary/stipend to the next NRSA stipend level according to his or her years of experience (as dictated by CHOP's Postdoctoral Fellows Policy)?" means automatic renewal of the appointment and step up to the next NIH stipend level. 

NIH Postdoctoral Stipend Levels - UPDATED March 1, 2020

Please Note:

The NIH pay scale serves as the minimum salary required for fellows; postdocs may be hired at higher salaries to ensure the offer is competitive with other institutions
It is strongly recommended that fellows are paid according to their total years of postdoc experience, including fellowships at other institutions.

Please contact us if you need assistance evaluating the appropriate salary level for your incoming fellow (e.g., if the fellow applicable professional experience that is not typical of most postdocs).