Types of Postdoctoral Appointments

*** Please note:  Both Research Fellows (employees) and Research Fellow TRAINEES (non employees) must be appointed and re-appointed annually to their departments.  Appointment to training grant funding does not replace the Vanderbilt appointment to the specific department or center.

Education and Training to further the fellow's career goals must be primary goal of appointments issued through the Biomedical Research Education and Training Office [BRET] Office.  Active mentoring as outlined in the Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and their Mentors is required for all fellows including Visiting Research Fellows.

The classifications of postdoctoral fellows at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) listed below are determined by funding, which, in turn, governs benefits and tax withholdings.

"Research Interns" and "Student Observers" are not appointed through the BRET Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.  See summer positions for instructions on appointing interns and observers).

Research Fellow Trainees (Job Code 9134) are paid by training grants or individual fellowships. This appointment type requires a PhD or US-equivalent MD degree. "Trainees" receive a stipend rather than a salary, and are not classified as employees. Roughly 25 percent of VUMC postdoctoral fellows are "trainee" postdocs.  These postdocs enroll in the Garnett-Powers Trainee Health Insurance plan which is offered through the BRET office.  Research Fellow Trainee Special Information

Research Fellows (Job Code 9132) are paid a salary from any source other than a training grant or individual fellowship. This appointment type requires a PhD or US-equivalent MD degree. Research Fellows are classified as employees and receive employee benefits.  They enroll in Vanderbilt HR Benefits Health Insurance Plans, not BRET TRAINEE Health Insurance.

Although health insurance plans are different for each classification, both Postdoctoral Research Fellows and Trainees have excellent health insurance available for themselves and their families.

VISITING RESEARCH FELLOW (Job Code 9136) A third type of appointment is available for individuals, funded by their home institution, country or organization, visiting Vanderbilt specifically to collaborate with Vanderbilt faculty to gain additional knowledge or training that will advance their careers.  Visiting Research Fellows cannot be self funded (per Office of General Counsel)  Please note that there are strict criteria governing the placement of visiting research fellows in research laboratories. These Visiting Fellows are not remunerated by Vanderbilt for this experience. The position is of a short duration, typically as little as 2 to 3 months. Additionally, the experience is accepted only if the proposed activity is not one that would normally be performed by a regular employee.

Visiting Research Fellow appointments require a PhD or US-equivalent MD degree. Visiting Research Fellows are neither Vanderbilt employees nor funded by Vanderbilt training grants or fellowships so they are not eligible for HR health insurance or BRET TRAINEE insurance. However, Visiting Research Fellows must have health insurance and may secure it through the Office of International Scholars and Student Services.