Postdoc Orientation Handbook
Welcome to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute!
This New Postdoc Orientation Handbook is designed to provide you with all of the information you need to successfully take on a CHOP postdoctoral fellowship. Feel free to bookmark this site and return often.
Please Note: Some links may require access to the CHOP Research intranet. This requires you to be on a CHOP-networked computer or to log-in with your Active Directory account (same username and password that you use for your CHOP E-mail account, which was set up for you at the CHOP New Employee Orientation).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Training & Support
Postdoc Policies and Responsibilities
What is a CHOP Postdoctoral Fellow?
A POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW is an individual with a terminal degree seeking a formal, supervised research training experience and, generally, with less than 5 years of relevant training after the receipt of a terminal degree.
There are approximately 100 CHOP employees with the job title of 'Postdoctoral Fellow'
An additional 20 postdoctoral fellows are classified with the job title of 'Research Trainees' and are funded by institutional or individual training grants (T32/F32)
Approximately 60-65% are non-US citizens
Most are in basic research labs, are funded by their PI's research grants, and are interested in careers in academia
Postdocs and other CHOP research trainees (including Physician Fellows and CHOP-based UPenn graduate students) are supported by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA).
What Is the OPA?
The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides fellows with a specialized administrative infrastructure that supports the postdoctoral lifecycle. Services provided by the OPA include:
Administration of Postdoc Welcome Sessions
Oversight and administration of the Annual Review Process
Tracking of incoming, existing and exiting fellows
Salary monitoring for compliance with NIH guidelines
Liaison between the faculty mentor, HR and the postdoc when conflict arises
Our sister office, The Office of Responsible Research Training (RRT), serves the research institute as training program coordinators and developers, and organizes a number of recurring and annual events for CHOP. Both offices are led by Wendy Williams, PhD, Director, and Jodi Leckrone, MEd, Assistant Director.
Navigating CHOP Research Administration
The Offices of Postdoctoral Affairs and Responsible Research Training are only two of many administrative departments that make up the support infrastructure of the CHOP Research Institute. Chances are, you'll have to interact with multiple administrative departments, from Research Communications to the Sponsored Projects Office.
Your Annual Postdoc Evaluation
The Annual Postdoc Evaluation Form must be completed by you and your mentor at each anniversary of your hire date as a postdoctoral fellow (this includes T32/F32-funded postdoctoral trainees). On the month of your hire date, you will receive an E-mail from the OPA, notifying you that your evaluation is due. It is your responsibility to initiate the completion of this form.
Please Note: Completion of the Annual Postdoc Evaluation is tied to your annual stipend increase. You must also remain current in your evaluations to take part in certain OPA-administered programs, including free enrollment in the University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Postdoctoral Program (BPP).
How to Complete the Evaluation Form
The following steps must be completed for your annual stipend increase to be processed. Please review carefully:
2. Update your CHOP Trainee Profile and mark the check box on the bottom of the first page of the review form
3. Complete Sections 1 - 3 of the form
4. Have your mentor initial the check boxes on the side of the form to indicate that he or she has read the postdoc self-assessment, upcoming research plan and career goals
5. Have your mentor complete his or her assessment of your performance
6. Both you and your mentor must sign the last page of the document
7. Send a copy of your evaluation form to the OPA, and the original to your Research Business Manager as per the form instructions
Please Note: Your mentor must indicate that he or she recommends you for "promotion to the next fellowship level" to get your salary increase (middle of page 4). If you are not selected for promotion, an OPA representative will reach out to your mentor to discuss any potential performance-related issues.
NIH Postdoctoral Stipend Levels
According to CHOP policy, the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipend guidelines should serve as salary minimums for all CHOP postdoctoral fellows. Your pay should not fall below the appropriate stipend level for your years of experience as a CHOP postdoc.
Join the CHOP Postdoc Community
The CHOP Research Trainee Web Portal was created in 2010 to serve as a hub for all things related to CHOP research trainees. Here you can find open postdoc positions, information on CHOP-held training grants, event listings and useful articles and information that may interest you. We encourage you to bookmark this page and return often.
The OPA has a lot of information to share with you, from job openings to event reminders. To minimize the number of E-mails that clutter your inbox, we have streamlined our communication process to include the following:
One to two monthly announcements sent to your CHOP E-mail inbox
Posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
Infrequent E-mails with important updates and messages
Click on the links below to sign up for a social networking site and connect with the OPA:
Obtain A PennKey to Access the UPenn Biomedical Library
A PennKey is required to get access to online journals through the University of Pennsylvania. Children's Hospital does not have online subscriptions to research journals.
The Office of Responsible Research Training (RRT) now administers PennKeys. To apply for a PennKey, you must visit the RRT PennKey site and complete the PennKey Request Form. All postdoctoral fellows should be granted full access based upon their position title.
Complete Your Required Training
Upon arriving at Children's Hospital, you will have required training to complete for both the Hospital and the Research Institute.
Training for the Hospital (HIPAA, Fire Safety, etc.) will be communicated to you through LearningLink. Your research-specific training requirements will be communicated to you via the Office of Responsible Research Training soon after you're hired. You will be asked to use the Research Training Wizard to identify your specific training requirements.
All CHOP research trainees are also required to complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training. The CHOP RCR Web site offers centralized education, policy, and training resources designed to encourage best practices and promote scientific integrity as a core value. It will also help you remain current with RCR requirements set forth by the NIH.View the RCR Web site and review your RCR training requirements
Support Programming and Other Events of Interest at Children's Hospital
The Offices of Postdoctoral Affairs and Responsible Research Training offer a wide variety of support programming for CHOP Research Trainees. Among our regularly scheduled events are:
CHOP Postdoc Seminar Series
Conducting Research at CHOP Seminar Series
Summer Science Research Colloquium
Annual Programming and Events
All upcoming events can be found on the Events of Interest tab of the CHOP Research Trainee Web Portal.
To take full advantage of our proximity to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), CHOP and UPenn have entered into a unique service agreement that allows a limited number of CHOP fellows full access to all postdoctoral events and services at the University of Pennsylvania.
The UPenn Biomedical Postdoctoral Program (BPP) is a world-class professional development program for postdoctoral fellows, and is open to all CHOP postdoctoral fellows. BPP-enrolled CHOP postdocs also have access to UPenn Career Services, which provides one-on-one career counseling, CV review and other services.
All new CHOP postdoctoral fellows are automatically enrolled in this program. Physician Fellows supported by T32/F32 training grants are also eligible for enrollment.
Grant writing is a critical skill that can assist you regardless of your ultimate career goal. At Children's Hospital, we suggest that our fellows use this training period to its fullest by preparing a research grant with their mentors.
The following links and resources may be of assistance as you begin to search for funding opportunities:
NIH F32 - Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Individual Fellowships
The F32 is a funding mechanism for early- to mid-level postdoctoral fellows
NIH K Awards – Career Development Awards
K Awards are generally focused on experienced postdocs and new investigators - interested fellows are encouraged to apply for the NIH K99/R00 Pathways to Independence Award
Other NIH Awards and Funding Mechanisms
The NIH administers a multitude of awards, many of which are specific to your career level, citizenship, and area of research - search here for additional NIH funding opportunities
Institutional Training Grants (NIH T32 Awards)
View a full list of CHOP-held training grants and search for UPenn training grants
Children’s Hospital currently holds five institutional training grants. Depending on your research area, you may be eligible for support by a T32 Training Grant.
Additional Funding Resources
Sponsored Projects Office Funding Finds
The CHOP Sponsored Projects Office posts “Weekly Funding Finds” in the display cases and elevators throughout the institution. In addition, the Sponsored Projects intranet site contains a listing of a number of funding opportunities.
Links to select funding-related resources can be found on the CHOP Research Trainee Web Portal.
Postdoctoral Fellows Policy
CHOP's policy statement regarding postdocs, "Postdoctoral Fellows: Appointment, Roles, Requirements and Responsibilities," can be downloaded from the OPA intranet site. It contains useful, broad-based information that will help you better understand the CHOP postdoc lifecycle.
Your Responsibilities as a Postdoctoral Fellow at CHOP
While performing good science and writing high impact papers should be your ultimate goal for a postdoctoral fellowship, we do ask that you keep in mind your responsibilities as a CHOP postdoc. By working together we can ensure the success of your fellowship at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Take Control of Your Postdoctoral Fellowship
Many tools have been developed to help you take initiative in ensuring the success of your postdoctoral fellowship. The Postdoc Compact is a brief agreement between a postdoc and mentor that defines the role of each party in the postdoc lifecycle. The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a more in-depth tool that can help you map out your postdoctoral fellowship.
Join the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)
The NPA is a national organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of the postdoctoral experience. All Children's Hospital postdocs can join the NPA for FREE using CHOP's institutional membership to gain access to their online resources and discounts.
Your contacts for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs are:
David Taylor, PhD - Academic Programs Officer - Contact for all questions related to CHOP Research Trainees
Janet Stuart, MEd, CHES- Training Specialist - Contact for all questions related to Postdoc Seminar Series, Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training and other event information
Colleen Ambron, MBA - Training Coordinator - Contact for questions related to Annual Postdoc Reviews and Trainee Profiles