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Postdoctoral Appointment Process

Mizzou is committed to cultivating a campus environment that will encourage research excellence, independent thinking, and professional development in our postdoctoral scholar community. To facilitate this goal, a postdoctoral policy was approved for the Mizzou campus in September 2004. This policy is designed to identify the primary responsibilities and expectations of postdoctoral scholars and their faculty mentors to ensure a high-quality postdoctoral experience that reflects the balanced interests of postdoctoral trainees and their mentors.

The initial appointment of postdoctoral scholars to the University of Missouri requires an offer letter signed by the faculty mentor and the department chair indicating the postdoctoral fellow’s responsibilities, term of appointment, initial salary/stipend and benefits associated with the appointment. All initial offer letters will be forwarded to the Office of Postdoctoral Education in the Graduate School for approval prior to being sent to the prospective postdoctoral scholar.

Because the primary purpose of postdoctoral training is to provide additional research and scholarly training in preparation for an academic and/or research career, appointments are of limited duration. All appointments will be made for a term of one year or less and are renewable on a year-to-year basis for up to five years. Brief extensions beyond five years may be requested when necessary to complete critical aspects of a research project. Requests for extensions must be approved by the Office of Postdoctoral Education.

An important aspect of postdoctoral training is to develop the skills of the scholar as an independent investigator. However, during the course of training, the faculty mentor is expected to provide oversight, and, therefore, the proposed research and scholarly activities of the postdoctoral scholar must be agreed upon and monitored by the mentor.

Appointments typically require substantial research involvement, and the trainee is expected to publish the results of their research in conjunction with the faculty mentor. Issues regarding authorship should be resolved before the appointment begins.

Administration of postdoctoral training is the responsibility of the faculty mentor and the department. The mentor is expected to play a central role in advising and assisting postdoctoral scholars in job placement; however, departments may assist in job placement whenever possible.

The faculty mentor is primarily responsible for the general oversight of the quality of the research and training of postdoctoral scholars with whom they are affiliated.

Because of inherent variability in the background training and talents of postdoctoral scholars at the time of their appointments, it is not possible to develop a rigid compensation structure. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the mentor to ensure that the beginning compensation is consistent with the background of the trainee and the norms for the discipline and that it meets or exceeds the minimum levels established by the university. Minimum compensation levels for incoming postdoctoral trainees will be established annually at the beginning of the fall term.