What is a Postdoctoral Scholar?

A postdoctoral scholar, a.k.a. postdoc, is a graduate with a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree who is engaged in additional training before becoming an independent researcher. The training is under the direction of a faculty mentor.

In the University of California, there are three types of postdoctoral scholars:

1. Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee, which is a postdoc who is paid a salary by the university.
2. Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow, a postdoc who has an extramural source of funding and receives a stipend rather than a salary.
3. Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct, a postdoc working at the University of California who is paid by an outside source.

The University of California limits postdoctoral training to 5 years.

For more detail, the National Postdoctoral Association has a fact sheet about postdoctoral scholars, as well as a page devoted to describing the postdoctoral scholar workforce.

On January 29, 2007, the NIH and NSF issued a joint definition of a postdoctoral scholar.

There is also a Wikipedia.org article about postdoctoral scholars.

What is the Council of Postdoctoral Scholars (CPS)?

The CPS is a body of postdoctoral scholars, comprised of representatives from the ten University of California campuses, plus non-voting (adjunct) representatives from Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Scripps Research Institute, and the Salk Institute. There are also ex-officio representatives from the University of California Office of the President and a faculty advisor. The CPS plays an important role in communicating the needs of postdoctoral scholars to the University administration, and in shaping University policies for postdocs. In addition, the CPS serves to disseminate useful information for postdocs to campus postdoctoral associations.

Is the CPS a union?

No. The CPS is a group of elected representatives from the various university and research campuses around California. This group works collaboratively with faculty and administration of the University of California to make postdoctoral training at our University be the best it can be.

With regard to unions, the CPS, as an advisory group within the University, will remain neutral on labor related issues. As of November 2008, postdoctoral scholars at all the UCs are exclusively represented by UAW. More information about this can be found at
UCOP's systemwide collective bargaining website.

What is a Postgraduate Researcher and how does that differ from a Postdoctoral Scholar?

The Postgraduate Researcher (PGR) title is an older title series that has been replaced by the Postdoctoral Scholar series. Some people may still have a PGR title code, but the Univeristy is currently phasing this title code out.

When and where does the CPS meet?

CPS meetings are rotated among the various university campuses in California. Meetings are generally held 2-3 times per year. The representative of the host UC campus serves as the chair for that meeting. Sometimes the meetings are held at other universities in California. When this occurs, a UC postdoctoral scholar on the Council serves as the chair.
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