What is a Postdoctoral Scholar?

Postdoctoral scholars at the University of Iowa are recognized as persons engaged primarily in research, as part of a continuum of post baccalaureate education and training, unique from either students or faculty members. Your classification, responsibilities, and benefits have been tailored to this unique status. As a postdoctoral scholar at The University of Iowa, you have access to many of the opportunities and services that we make available to students. You also have available several of the benefits provided to faculty.

Postdoctoral Scholar is a general term used at The University of Iowa to designate temporary, doctoral-level researchers engaged in advanced education and training designed to prepare for an academic and/or research career. The University recognizes two classifications of postdoctoral scholars, depending on the sources of their stipends & research funding and the nature of their research activities.

  • Postdoctoral Research Scholars are engaged in research supported by external grants or contracts or by University of Iowa General Education funds that may be made available to faculty members. This type of appointment is used for anyone not on an NRSA grant. Persons appointed under this classification (HR appointment code FP01) have specific responsibilities and research expectations directly related to the grant, contract, or University-funded program.
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellows are supported by NRSA grants. The primary obligation to accomplish the aims of the fellowship rests with the Fellow (HR appointment code FP02).

For more information, please see the memo from Selina Martin, University Controller and John C. Keller, Interim Vice President for Research (June 1, 2018).

Length of Appointment: Postdoctoral Research Scholars and Postdoctoral Research Fellows are temporary appointments at The University of Iowa. The postdoctoral experience at The University of Iowa will not extend past 5 years unless there are unusual circumstances. The department would need to send justification for extending this appointment at least 3 months before the current appointment ends. The request requires approval from John Keller, Associate Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate College.