Volume 12, Number 17 April 29, 2005

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New policy to govern post-doctoral fellows

A new policy governing post-doctoral fellows at the U of S, passed by Council in December, will be fully operational by this fall.

Tom Wishart, Dean of Graduate Studies & Research, says the policy brings the University into line with its counterparts across Canada, setting out a proper campus-wide standard for things like the post-docs’ appointment process, their role, registration, salary, and other matters.

In fact, Wishart says, the three major national research funding agencies directed the U of S to develop a policy, “to regularize how we treat post-doctoral fellows.”

He says there are about 100 post-docs at the U of S today, in life sciences and natural sciences departments. The new policy and procedures will start operating in September.

Jim Basinger, Chair of Council’s Research, Scholarly & Artistic Works Committee, told Council in December the policy will have all post-docs register with the College of Graduate Studies & Research.

They will be considered “trainees”, rather than U of S employees, since the policy states the fellows are on campus to gain research experience, and “are engaged in research projects that provide the challenge necessary for intellectual growth rather than provision of technical support” for the University.

The policy says each post-doc will be supervised by a faculty member who is a member of the College of Graduate Studies & Research, and the fellows must carry out research of interest to the supervisor.

Post-docs are usually appointed within five years of completion of their PhD, and normally for one or two years, renewable to a maximum of five years.

While post-doctoral fellows are encouraged to do a bit of teaching, the new policy states it will normally be limited to no more than one three-credit-unit class per term.

The policy notes that salaries for the fellows “vary considerably depending on the source of salary funds”. Some departments currently pay them $35,000 per year plus a research allowance of just under $2,000.

Basinger told Council the new policy increases the minimum salary for post-docs to 1.75 times the University’s current PhD Graduate Scholarship. That is now $18,000 – so the post-docs must receive a salary of at least $31,500 per year.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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