Postdoctoral Scholars carry out a research program under the guidance of a research advisor, who is generally a Tufts faculty member. Postdoctoral Scholars meet regularly with their advisors to apprise the advisor of the research results, discuss progress in the research, develop and troubleshoot approaches, plan upcoming work, receive direction and focus to the research, and to express mutual expectations.
The program aims to equip Postdoctoral Scholars with the skills necessary to become independent researchers in their respective areas of specialization. The research training experience at Tufts typically lasts up to five years, or until completion of six years of post-doctoral research in total. The Program is intended as a training program of finite duration, as opposed to a permanent position, that will enable Postdoctoral Scholars to become independent researchers.
Postdoctoral Scholars are persons who have earned a Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., D.M.D., Ed.D. or equivalent doctoral-level degree and may have worked previously as a full-time researcher in a postdoctoral training position. Postdoctoral Scholars are engaged in research, scholarship, and training. This includes, but is not limited to, design and execution of scholarly research that may include laboratory experiments, attendance at national and international meetings, participation in undergraduate or graduate courses, including seminars and research workshops, and mentoring graduate students and/or undergraduates. In some cases, limited opportunities to participate in teaching may be available. Other opportunities include workshops related to career development. Advisors supervise all of these activities.
Since the Postdoctoral Scholar’s experience is transitional to becoming an independent researcher, the Postdoctoral Scholar is expected to make his or her best effort to acquire the various skills necessary to advance his or her career in today’s job market with guidance from the advisor. These skills include, but are not limited to:
Postdoctoral Scholars learn current research methods through direct experience working with an advisor with the same primary interest. The Postdoctoral Scholar’s advisor is the frontline source of information and the one who sets the standards of conduct for efficient, ethical and productive research. Communication between a Postdoctoral Scholar and his or her advisor is of utmost importance and is regarded as both an opportunity and a responsibility.
At the completion of their training, Postdoctoral Scholars will have learned appropriate research techniques, been exposed to current research problems, and they will be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of research methods and developed the necessary portfolio of research accomplishments as assessed by publications, presentations and evaluative letters to be competitive for an independent position.
To assist postdoctoral scholars with their career development, Tufts provides two Individual Development Plan (IDP) documents. One of these, the Postdoctoral Scholar IDP, is intended to be a tool that can help scholars consider their career aspirations and the types of skills and attributes that may affect their career objectives. This document is for each scholar’s personal use only. If a scholar chooses, the document may be shared with mentors or may be used to help him/her think about ways to engage mentors and improve skills that are appropriate to the career path(s) that are being considered.
The second document, called the Training and Career Goals Progress Report, is designed to help scholars think about how they are developing professionally. This report should be completed annually and shared with the research advisor prior to the annual review performance discussion.
Postdoctoral Scholars will receive a letter confirming employment. There are no unpaid Postdoctoral Scholars at Tufts nor does Tufts allow postdocs to volunteer to do research.
Employment will be effective only after the following conditions have been met by the Postdoctoral candidate:
Human Resources Orientation – Postdoctoral Scholars are invited to participate in an orientation given by Human Resources, which includes an overview of Tufts and discussions topics such as employment policies, technology resources, Environmental Health and Safety, Tufts Police, identification cards, and parking facilities.
Postdoctoral Orientation – Postdoctoral orientations are held quarterly during the academic year to encourage Scholars to learn about policies that are specific to them, meet their colleagues and to learn about the postdoctoral program at Tufts.
Additional Orientations – Postdoctoral Scholars must comply with specific requirements including health evaluation, immunization or training that may be required for Postdoctoral Scholars who work with laboratory animals, are involved in human subject research, or are involved in work that could expose them to biohazards.
Employment at Tufts as a Postdoctoral Scholars should not exceed five years or until completion of six years of Postdoctoral research in total. A term may be extended due to unusual circumstances. Each School’s Postdoctoral Officer will have additional information on this issue and is the only person authorized to allow extensions. The Postdoctoral Officer may also authorize part-time employment in unusual circumstances.