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Structure of Postdoctoral Study

A postdoc is a person who has received a doctoral degree and who is pursuing additional research, training, or teaching in order to have better skills to pursue a career in academia, research, or any other fields.  Postdocs work closely with a faculty mentor for a temporary and defined period of time.  Postdocs can be appointed up to 5 years.  Postdocs play a crucial role in the university; they supplement the research expertise of faculty by sharing new techniques, collaborating with other institutions, and helping to manage the daily operations of a laboratory or research site.  They also contribute teaching and advising supports for undergraduate and graduate students.

At Cornell, postdoc associates are considered employees and are appointed as academic, non-professorial staff.  They are appointed centrally as are all employees and are paid through the university payroll system.  Their salaries follow the NIH Postdoc Stipend; they receive the privileges that all employees receive including health benefits, retirement, and the ability to take credit courses. 

Postdoc fellows are postdocs who arrive with the own grant money (NSF, NIH, BARD, etc).  Postdoc fellows are not considered Cornell employees as they are not paid by the university, but are appointed academic, non-professorial staff.  Fellows might be eligible for health benefits, but are not eligible for all benefits,  including: retirement, child care grant, taking courses.