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About
PDOC

Postdoctoral Scholars

The Postdoctoral Scholars Program helps postdoctoral scholars broaden their research abilities and equip themselves with the skills necessary for a successful career.

What’s the difference between the PDO and the PDA?

The PDA (Tufts Postdoctoral Association) is a postdoc-run organization that organizes and runs a range of social and career development programs.  All Tufts postdocs should be receiving weekly newsletter from the PDA which highlights upcoming events.  If not, contact PDA-president@tufts.edu or check out tuftspda.com.  Tufts is also an active member of the Boston Postdoctoral Association (BPDA) which also runs training, networking and social events.  For more information check out bostonpostdocs.org.

The PDO (Postdoctoral Officer) is a Tufts faculty member (Andrew Bohm) appointed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research to oversee the University’s postdoctoral program.  In addition to working closely with the PDA, the PDO advocates for postdocs within the University administration, helps to set policy and implement best practices, answers postdoc-related questions, and helps to mediate any disputes involving postdocs that might arise.  The PDO can be reached at Andrew.Bohm@tufts.edu. All Tufts postdocs should be receiving occasional messages from the PDO. If not, contact ovpr@tufts.edu.

Who should postdocs contact if they are having issues with their work environment?

The postdoctoral officer (Andrew.Bohm@tufts.edu) acts as an advocate for individual postdocs and can help mediate disputes, including those between postdocs and their supervisor.  Depending on the situation, Postdocs may also choose to turn to their supervisor, the Chair of their PI’s department, or the Dean of their PI’s school.

Is there any internal travel money available to Tufts postdocs?

Yes. Small travel grants (up to $500) are available. They are awarded via an application process jointly administered by the PDA and PDO. See the travel award application.

How can Tufts postdocs get additional mentoring and expand their professional network?

Those who wish to get input on their work and career from Tufts faculty (in addition to their PI) should consider who might best fit their needs and then fill out the mentoring questionnaire.  The PDO will contact faculty on your behalf and see if they are willing to act as your mentor.  Those looking to form ties with biotech professionals should also watch for notices about networking events sponsored by both the Tufts PDA and the BPDA.

How long can Tufts postdocs remain as postdocs?

Postdoc appointments at Tufts should not exceed five years of research experience beyond the conferral of their advanced degree. The term may be extended up to one year in unusual circumstances as authorized by the PDO. Those who stay at Tufts longer than five years in a postdoctoral like role typically move into a Research Associate position.

How many hours should Tufts postdocs work?

Though most Tufts postdocs choose to work more, required work time is 35 hours per week.

How much time off do Tufts postdocs get?

Tufts Postdocs receive 15 vacation days per fiscal year  These days cannot be used until the postdoc has been here for at least 90 days and vacation days must be approved in advance by the postdoc’s supervisor/PI. Note that vacation days do not carry over from year to year.

In addition, Tufts postdocs receive two personal days per fiscal year and 13 sick days per year.

Can Tufts postdocs be paid on a part-time basis?

Yes, but only with approval from the PDO. Note also that postdocs cannot receive Tufts benefits unless they are at least half-time employees (17.5 hours per week), and that some benefits are prorated based on the percent effort.  For more information contact Tufts HR.

How much do Tufts postdocs earn?

Normally, the salary for all Tufts postdocs (regardless of their funding source) is at least as much as the minimum rate set by the NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA) Program.  We regret that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, postdoc salaries (along with the salaries of other university employees) are currently frozen.  As a consequence, some postdocs may be making less than the NRSA minimum at this time.  We expect that this situation will be reversed once the pandemic is past.

What gym privileges do Tufts postdocs have?

All Tufts postdocs have access to the Medford gym facilities.  Those on the Boston campus also have access to the equipment in the Posner basement.  In addition, Boston postdocs receive a discount to the nearby YMCA. Access to the Sackler gym on the Boston campus is limited, and is awarded via a lottery.

What benefits are available for Tufts pregnant postdocs and new parents?

Prenatal care is covered under the postdoc’s health plan, and all University employees may ask to have their work assignments modified in accordance with OSHA standards (i.e. to avoid exposure to hazardous reagents). New parents who have been at Tufts for a year may take up to 12 weeks of paid maternity/paternity leave. Those who have been at Tufts for less than a year can get up to 8 weeks of maternity/paternity leave. Contact leaves@tufts.edu for additional details and to confirm eligibility.

Should Tufts postdocs put money into an FSA?  How much?

A Flexible Spending Account allows you to pay, with pre-tax dollars, for a broad range of health-related expenses (medical co-payments, prescription medications, many over the counter drugs, dental treatments, eyeglasses, etc.).  For most postdocs, it generally does make sense to put a few hundred dollars into a FSA.  Individuals can put in up to $2,700 a year, but only $500 carries over to the following year – so putting in too much can be costly.  Those with children or other dependents can also set up a Dependent Care FSA to pay for daycare and other expenses.  The limit is $5,000 per year, and there is no carry-over to the next year.

How do I get from the Boston campus to the Medford campus or vise versa via public transportation?

Take the red line T from Downtown Crossing (about 5 minutes walk from the Boston campus) to Davis Square (about an 20 minute T ride).  Then either walk the last 0.8 miles along College Ave (about 15 minutes) or take  either the 96 or the 94 bus (a 5 minute ride – but each bus runs on a 20 minute schedule).  The whole trip usually takes about 40 minutes.

Why are the Annual Postdoctoral Review Forms required?

The goal of the Annual Postdoctoral Review process is help postdocs make progress toward both their short term (i.e. research) goals and their long term (i.e. career) aspirations.  The process is designed to foster communication between postdocs and their supervisors.

Are PDO postdoc reviews required for clinical trainees?

No. Those whose postdoctoral training is entirely clinical (Dental or Medical) do not need to complete the form.