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Funding Principles


Postdoctoral Scholars at Stanford must be supported by Stanford grants and contracts, training grants, fellowships, or by a combination of these sources. Postdoctoral scholars may not be self-supporting.

Minimum funding levels for Postdoctoral Scholars are set by the University every spring for the following fiscal year. [Note that clinical fellow funding must meet the PGY levels established by the department of Graduate Medical Education (GME) at the Stanford Hospital & Clinics.]

University policy requires faculty sponsors to ensure that a complete funding package is provided for every appointed postdoctoral scholar. That funding package includes the University’s minimum stipend levels plus the institutional cost of benefits (medical, dental, vision, life, disability and postdoc assistance). The institutional benefit cost covers all costs for individual postdocs, and subsidized costs for postdocs with dependents. (see the Benefits Guide for rates).

The cost of benefits is covered by the University's postdoctoral fringe rate in cases where the postdoc is receiving salary at 50% or more form a research grant. In cases where the fringe does not apply (e.g. postdocs with fellowships), any insitutional allowance towards benefits should be applied.  For example, the NIH NRSA awards and training grants include an "institutional allowance" to be used to pay additional expenses, including health insurance, on behalf of the recipient of the award.

If no fellowship or training grant funds are available to pay the cost of a Scholar's benefits, then the cost must be borne by a departmental or other unrestricted account. Note that this also applies to postdocs with funding paid directly to them, unless the funding includes a letter specifiying sufficent funds for beneftis as well. See memo from Godfrey Mungal regarding Charging and Paying for Benefits for Postdoctoral Scholars and Graduate Students.


Annual Funding Adjustments

Postdocs receive a step increase every October 1 adjusted to cumulative years of research experience. The funding scale levels are minimum levels. Many departments and/or labs establish norms with respect to funding postdocs at levels higher than the minimum in order to take into account equity within the unit.

For more information, see Levels and Sources of Financial Support for postdoctoral scholars in Stanford Research Policy Handbook.

For additional administrative information regarding postdoc funding processing, click the Administrator section on Paying Scholars.