Postdoc and Project Scientist Policy

Postdoc and Project Scientist Policy

The maximum term for a postdoc at LBNL is five years from the date of the PhD. This limit applies even in the case where a candidate takes a second postdoc position at LBNL. A postdoc who has passed the five year mark can be converted to a project scientist position. The maximum term for a project scientist is five years total. It is Physics Division policy that the total time spent in postdoc and project scientist positions should not exceed five years. An extension to a maximum of seven years may considered on an individual basis, and will be granted only in exceptional circumstances following a detailed review.

Initial appointments for postdocs or project scientists will generally be for three years. This will be accomplished by an offer of two years to the candidate followed by an extension after one year for a total of three. For the third year, the supervisor should inform the Division office of their intention to renew and the extension will be automatically processed, assuming funding is available.

AT THE END OF YEAR TWO, if the intention is to extend a postdoc or project scientist position beyond the end of the third year, the staff committee will conduct a review. The supervisor must solicit three letters of recommendation, of which at least two must be from outside LBNL/UCB. A brief updated career development plan is also required in writing from the requesting supervisor. A successful review will result in an extension for two more years making a total of five. HR action will be two separate one-year extensions with no action required by supervisor for the second 1-year extension. As necessary, a postdoc position may be converted to project scientist to comply with LBNL policy during this period.

AT THE END OF THE FOURTH YEAR, the staff committee will conduct a review. Under exceptional circumstances, and only if it is consistent with lab-wide policy, a recommendation may be made to extend the appointment for two more years as project scientist, making a total of seven years as a postdoc and project scientist combined. Candidates hired initially into a project scientist position are not eligible for an extension due to the five year maximum for project scientist.

HR action will be two separate one-year extensions with no action required by supervisor. Criteria necessary for extension past 5 years, in addition to those listed for the end of year two review:

  • Has an excellent chance to obtain indefinite position in particle or astro physics.
  • Is starting to take action to achieve this (is aware and on the right track and beginning active search for position).
  • The Division Director may issue a terminal six month extension, with notice given at least one year prior to the termination date. No terminal six month extension is to begin before the end of the appointee’s second year.