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Education / Graduate Education / Forms & Tools / Guidelines for Promoting a Postdoctoral Appointee to Staff Scientist


Guidelines for Promoting a Postdoctoral Appointee to Staff Scientist

The Staff Scientist is a staff position and should be utilized as a promotion option for senior postdocs that are not ready for and/or not interested in either becoming independent investigators or in pursuing other research or academic paths consistent with a faculty position. [Staff Scientist position description]

Please note that the transition to Staff Scientist will require the H1-B visa status. Thus, departments transitioning postdoctoral appointees in the J visa status should be planning for this transition at least one year in advance in order to ensure a timely transition.


Position Details

Education Requirements

  • The Staff Scientist requires a Doctoral degree and 2-5 years of postdoctoral training.

Salary Requirements

  • The Staff Scientist is pay grade 55 and is market sensitive for purposes of the pay range.
  • Reclassification from postdoc to Staff Scientist is considered a promotion by the School of Medicine and Dentistry and should therefore, include an appropriate pay increase.


  • The Staff Scientist includes the same benefits that are available to faculty and staff.
  • The Staff Scientist fringe benefit rate is Rate 1.


  • For purposes of promoting current postdocs, this position does not need to be posted.
  • Reclassification of a postdoctoral appointee to the Staff Scientist position requires approval from SMD Finance and Administration (Sharon McCullough).

Appointment and Approval

  1. Complete a 600 form for the appointment.
  2. Submit the following to Sharon McCullough via email for approval:
    • The 600 form – note “PLEASE DO NOT POST” on the form (a position exemption form is not required for a postdoc to staff scientist transition).
    • The appointee’s CV
    • A functional job description including % effort for individual categories d.   A justification for the salary increase
  3. Sharon McCullough will review in collaboration with Human Resources. Approvals will be sent via email within 1-2 weeks.

Post- Approval

  1. Send paper copies of the following to SMD Finance for approval. SMD Finance will forward to Human Resources upon approval.
  • A copy of the approval email that you receive from Sharon McCullough and Jill Bowman
  • The 600 form – note “PLEASE DO NOT POST” on the form (a position exemption form is not required for a postdoc to staff scientist transition)
  • The appointee’s CV
  • A functional job description including % effort for individual categories
  • A justification for the salary increase
  1. Once HR receives the approval from SMD Finance, your Employment Liaison will prepare an offer letter.
  2. Human Resources will conduct a drug screen and background check.
  3. The Staff Scientist will need to complete a paper employment application.
  4. The Staff Scientist will need to Review Benefits Programs at the link below. The Staff Scientist does not need to complete the other pre-employment requirements on the webpage.
  5. The Staff Scientist will need to complete New Hire Orientation via myPath at Netid and password are required for log in. The training should appear in the Staff Scientist’s ‘learning transcript’. See screen shot below.


Mypath course launch screen

  1. A Staff Scientist converting from a semi-monthly pay schedule to a monthly pay schedule should be notified by the department.


Note: senior postdocs who are ready for and interested in becoming independent investigators or pursuing other career paths consistent with a faculty position should please review the SMD Regulations of the Faculty for more information on the various types of faculty appointments. The Decision Guide on Staff vs. Faculty Appointment for Scientists Completing a Postdoc may also be helpful.

University of Rochester - Classification Description

  • DATE:     12/2014
  • NEW/REVISED:       REV
  • SUPERCEDES:  5/2014
  • CODE:  1756
  • GRADE: 55
  • SUPERVISED BY: Faculty Researcher

General Purpose

Under general direction and with considerable latitude for exercise of independent judgment, provides direct research and research training support at the professional level by directing and executing small, complex research projects or major aspects of larger research projects; and provides extensive guidance to and/or directly supervises technicians, laboratory aides, graduate students, undergraduate students, postdoctoral appointees and professional staff. The purpose of this description is for Doctoral level research and its use will be strictly regulated by review and approval of the Dean’s office to meet academic and research needs of the school and faculty.

Specific Responsibilities

Under general direction and with latitude for independent judgment:

  • Directs small, complex research projects or major aspects of larger research projects; or works independently in a phase of research of a complex project.
  • Designs research projects or sub-projects, contributes to writing of research proposals, prepares regulatory documentation required for performance of research. Writes protocols for the conduct of research, which include: purposes of study, design of experiments, lists of materials and methods to be used and the schedule of activities.
  • Analyzes and evaluates experimental data and interprets results within the scope of the study; assesses the importance of findings in relation to the general research program. Prepares written reports on all phases of laboratory work involved in research projects. Contributes to the design, interpretation and final writing of research publications – thereby meeting expectations for co-authorship of scientific publications.
  • Keeps abreast of trends in field of interest by reading current research literature, abstracting scientific articles of value in the prosecution of research problems, and attending and presenting at scientific meetings, seminars and research conferences.
  • Develops and installs operating procedures for the laboratory, and independently operates complex equipment. Develops and modifies test methods; selects procedures for data collection and handling; develops or utilizes computer programs for conversions and statistical treatment of data.
  • Directs the gathering of research materials, supplies, equipment and apparatus and experimental.
  • Coordinates service support:repair of equipment, requisitioning of supplies and research materials and minor construction.
  • Interviews, trains, supervises and evaluates staff.  Directs initial training as well as continuous skill development of staff/trainees in laboratory techniques and instrumentation procedures. Counsels staff/trainees on technical problems; advises and assists staff/trainees with special research projects.
  • Develops and controls research project budgets in consultation with supervising faculty. Is responsible for research project budget reports and records. Recommends expenditures for major laboratory equipment and construction. Authorizes expenditure for expendable supplies and maintenance.
  • Evaluate the performance of research equipment, making design changes or developing new approaches for its use.


Doctoral degree with major course work in the field of assignment and a minimum of 2-5 years of relevant postdoctoral training.

NOTE:  This document describes typical duties and responsibilities and is not intended to limit management from assigning other work as required.