The Ohio State University defines a postdoctoral researcher as an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • the appointee was recently awarded a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate or terminal degree (e.g., Sc.D., M.D., MFA) in an appropriate field from an accredited domestic or foreign institution;
  • the appointment is typically five years or less;
  • the appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship;
  • the appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research career;
  • the appointee works under the supervision of an advisor with appropriate expertise and training or an academic unit at the University;
  • the appointee is expected to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship during the period of the appointment, in consultation with his or her mentor;
  • the agency funding the individual’s compensation (i.e., salary) requires or permits the appointee to be a University employee or University funds are used to support the appointment.

Common examples of funding sources for Postdoctoral Researchers include an NIH Research Project Grant (R01) and an NSF research grant to a faculty member.