Classifications of Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Types of Postdoc appointments at VUMC

There are two classifications for postdoctoral fellows at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  NIH institutional training grant funds and NRSA fellowship funds require the classification Research Fellow Trainee (9134).  Most, but not all, other funding agencies prohibit postdoctoral fellowship awardees from being classified as an employee. (Check with your pod grants administrator to determine these fellowship classifications)  A postdoctoral fellow who is funded by his/her mentor's research grants will be classified as a Research Fellow Employee (9132).


Stipends for Research Fellow Trainees (Job Code: 9134)

Research Fellow Trainees (sometimes called "trainee postdocs") are paid by training grants or individual fellowships. They receive a stipend rather than a salary, are not classified as employees, and do not receive standard employee benefits. About 25% of VUMC postdoctoral fellows are "trainee postdocs."


Salaries for Research Fellows (Job Code: 9132)

"Research Fellows (sometimes called "employee postdocs") are paid a salary from any source other than a training grant. Research Fellows are classified as employees and receive employee benefits. 

The BRET Office of Postdoctoral Affairs recommends that mentors use the NIH Trainee Stipend Chart as a guide to pay Employee Postdocs. The minimum salary required for the initial appointment of a VUMC Postdoctoral Research Fellow is the 0 level on the NIH stipend chart. However, after the initial appointment at the minimum salary, the salary for Research Fellows (Job Code: 9132) in the ensuing years is based on productivity documented by the Individual Development Plan (IDP). If you have further questions, please email: Faith Bishop.