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Categories and Benefits

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs has defined five types of postdoctoral appointments at Northwestern University. All postdoctoral trainee  positions are full-time staff positions for a minimum of 12 months, unless otherwise noted. Information about each appointment category and associated benefits and codes is given below. Please direct further questions to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Postdoctoral Scholar (Trainee)

Postdoctoral Scholars are individuals with recently granted degrees of PhD or MD, or the equivalent terminal degree, who are primarily involved in continuing postgraduate education or training in conducting research. Postdoctoral scholars are normally paid through the University payroll system and are considered employees of the University.

Benefits

  • Benefits eligible: Yes.
  • Benefit provider: Northwestern through Gallagher Benefit Services (Blue Cross Blue Shield).
  • Benefits subsidized: Yes.

Job code(s)

  • 100006 Monthly

Vacation, personal floating holiday, sick, holiday

Pay standard

  • Minimum of $47,476. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs encourages faculty/departments to pay above this rate whenever possible.
  • Starting March 1, 2024, the minimum salary for new or reappointed postdoctoral scholars at Northwestern will rise to the minimum postdoctoral salary of $56,484 as set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Learn more about the pay update here.

Appointment length

  • One-year full-time appointments, including reappointments; exceptions must be pre-approved by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Mental health and wellness benefits

  • Benefits through Gallagher Benefit Services (Blue Cross Blue Shield).
  • Access to Northwestern University Employee Assistance Plan.

Postdoctoral Fellow-NRSA (Trainee)

NRSA postdoctoral fellows are individuals with recently granted degrees of PhD or MD, or the equivalent terminal degree, who have received National Research Service Award (NRSA) funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This category includes both those receiving individual F32 fellowships and those receiving support from T32 institutional training grants. Per the terms of the award, NRSA postdoctoral fellows are considered trainees, rather than employees of the NIH or of the University.

Please note that benefit eligibility and payroll tax deductions will change for postdocs funded by an NRSA fellowship. For more information, please contact the Benefits Office in Human Resources.

Benefits

  • Benefits eligible: Yes.
  • Benefit provider: Gallagher Benefit Services (Blue Cross Blue Shield), paid by institutional allowance for individual, self-pay for additional dependents.
  • Benefits subsidized: Yes: $333 from grant with additional from fringe pool. Postdoc coverage only, postdoc pays for family and dependents.

Job code(s)

  • 100091 Primary
  • 102019 Supplemental

Vacation, personal floating holiday, sick, holiday

  • Yes, allowed paid vacation per NRSA guidelines, 60 days maternity or family, 15 days sick.

Pay standard

Appointment length

  • One-year full-time appointments, including reappointments; exceptions must be pre-approved by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Mental health and wellness benefits

  • Benefits through Gallagher Benefit Services (Blue Cross Blue Shield).
  • Access to Northwestern University Employee Assistance Plan.

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows are individuals with recently granted degrees of PhD, MD, or the equivalent professional degree who are coming to Northwestern for a short time to collaborate with a Northwestern lab, train on a new technique, etc. Visiting Fellows must hold a postdoctoral appointment at another institution or university where they will return following their visit at Northwestern as documented by the home institution. Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows are not employees of the University and are not paid by Northwestern, although they may receive supplemental funding as needed. They must receive their funding directly from their home institution.

Visiting status is only approved upon receipt of documentation of external (to Northwestern) appointment and support. A visiting postdoc classification is not appropriate for postdocs who will be at Northwestern for 12 months or longer.

Benefits

  • Benefits should be provided by the home institution. If the home institution does not provide benefits in the US/Illinois, insurance can be acquired through Gallagher Benefit Services (Blue Cross Blue Shield).
  • Domestic Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows must reach out to their health insurance provider to change insurance policies so it can be used in Illinois (from HMO to PPO, for instance). This change will count as a qualifying life change.
  • International Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows can obtain insurance from Gallagher Benefit Services. More information is available on the Human Resources Postdoctoral Benefit Plans site.
  • Benefits subsidized: No. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs strongly encourages faculty/departments to provide supplemental funds for visiting postdocs who do not have insurance available through their home institution.

Job code(s)

  • 103073 Primary
  • 106383 Supplemental

Vacation, personal floating holiday, sick, holiday

  • No

Pay standard

  • Paid by home institution.
  • Does not need to make minimum, follow Visiting Scholar rules. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs strongly encourages faculty/departments to supplement visiting postdoc salaries to the current $47,476 minimum in line with all other postdocs. Please note: Starting March 1, 2024, the minimum salary for new or reappointed postdoctoral scholars at Northwestern will rise to the minimum postdoctoral salary of $56,484 as set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Learn more here.

Appointment length

  • No minimum appointment length requirements.
  • Visiting postdoc appointments cannot exceed 12 months. Postdocs who otherwise fit the visiting postdoc category but will be at Northwestern for 12 months or longer must be appointed as Direct Fellows.

Mental health and wellness benefits

Postdoctoral Fellow, Direct Fellowship (Trainee)

Direct Postdoctoral Fellows are individuals with recently granted degrees of PhD or MD, or the equivalent terminal degree, who are primarily involved in continuing postgraduate education or training in conducting research. Direct Postdoctoral Fellows are appointed solely at Northwestern but are paid primarily by an external grant or fellowship that is not directed through the University payroll system.

Direct Postdoctoral Fellows must still make a minimum salary of at least $47,476.

Fellowships that do not meet this minimum must be "topped up" by sponsoring Northwestern PIs via institutional and/or sponsored funds as allowed by the fellowship policies. NSF fellowships may only be "topped up" by non-sponsored funds as determined by the NSF.

Benefit eligibility and provider

  • Benefits eligible: Yes.
  • Benefit provider: Gallagher Benefit Services (Blue Cross Blue Shield), check for institutional allowance to be used for health insurance, or self-pay.
  • Benefits subsidized: Grant dependent. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs strongly encourages faculty/departments to provide supplemental funds for direct postdocs who do not have insurance available through their grant.

Job code(s)

  • 107021 Primary
  • 107022 Supplemental
  • 105565 Dept of Ed

Vacation, personal floating holiday, sick, holiday

  • Varies by fellowship, please check specific fellowship's policies. If a specific fellowship does not address leave, defer to Northwestern’s institutional leave policies outlined for postdoctoral scholars above.
  • The NSF allows fellows 30 days paid leave for maternity or family leave and short leave over major holidays.

Pay standard

  • Follow fellowship stipends. Must make minimum salary of $47,476.
  • If below $47,476, Northwestern PIs must top up this stipend with sponsored or non-sponsored funds, either to increase the salary or to cover health insurance costs.
  • Starting March 1, 2024, the minimum salary for new or reappointed postdoctoral scholars at Northwestern will rise to the minimum postdoctoral salary of $56,484 as set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Learn more here.

Appointment length

  • One-year full-time appointments, including reappointments; exceptions must be pre-approved by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Mental health and wellness benefits

WCAS Teaching and Research Postdoctoral Fellows (Formerly Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows)

Specialized appointment in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. These are considered teaching postdoctoral fellows and can be indicated by the appointment indicator value of “Teaching Postdoc.” Postdoctoral Fellows are individuals with recently granted degrees of PhD or MD, or the equivalent terminal degree, who are primarily involved in continuing post graduate education or training in conducting research. These fellows are normally paid through the University payroll system and have research faculty appointments.

They are designated as faculty because they teach, generally three courses per academic year.

Benefit eligibility and provider

  • Benefits eligible: Yes.
  • Benefit provider: Northwestern University, see Northwestern HR Benefits page.
  • Benefits subsidized: Yes

Job code(s)

  • 100118

Vacation, personal floating holiday, sick, holiday

Pay standard

  • Minimum of $47,476.
  • Starting March 1, 2024, the minimum salary for new or reappointed postdoctoral scholars at Northwestern will rise to the minimum postdoctoral salary of $56,484 as set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Learn more here.

Appointment length

  • Twelve-month appointments with a nine-month pay schedule.

Mental health and wellness benefits