The University of Iowa

Postdoctoral Scholars Salary

The Graduate College requires that when appointing new Postdoctoral Research Scholars (FP01) and Postdoctoral Research Fellows (FP02) that the salaries be determined by the NIH/NRSA salary guidelines regardless of the source of funds. The College is concerned about equity for postdoctoral scholars and fellows and encourages departments to bring their current postdocs into alignment with new hires. As of July 1, 2020, all current and new postdoctoral research scholars and fellows salaries must meet the 2020-2021 NIH minimum. Colleges and individual principal investigators are also welcome to pay beyond the NIH minimum if their budget allows. We also encourage you to make salary adjustments, when possible, for existing postdocs to keep them above minimum levels. Annual salary increments based on merit and service should plan for a 3% salary increase per year. John C. Keller, Associate Provost for Graduate & Professional Education, announced the amended salary guidelines on October 30, 2017.

As of February 7, 2020, NIH recommends the following salaries determined by years of experience for FY 2020.

Years of Experience

Stipend for FY 2020


$52,704 ($4,392 monthly)


$53,076 ($4,423 monthly)


$53,460 ($4,455 monthly)


$55,596 ($4,633 monthly)


$57,456 ($4,788 monthly)


$59,580 ($4,965 monthly)


$61,800 ($5,150 monthly)

7 or more

$64,008 ($5,334 monthly)

Current NIH stipend schedule

If you believe there is strong justification to pay up to 5% less than the NIH/NRSA minimum, approval must be sought prior to submitting the grant. Strong justification might include very specific language in a grant agency capping the minimum salary. However, in most cases the scope of work or length of appointment or type of employee hired can be adjusted to meet minimum standards. In NO cases will salaries less than 5% below the minimum be approved.

A sound estimate of the new stipend levels, if submitting a grant before the recommendations are released at the beginning of each calendar year, is to project an annual 2% increase in postdoctoral salaries.

If you have salary questions regarding Postdoctoral Research Scholars or Postdoctoral Research Fellows, please contact Donna Welter ( in the Graduate College.