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).


Postdoc Basics

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.

Postdoc Statistics:

  • There are approximately 125 CHOP employees with the job title of 'Postdoctoral Fellow'
  • This includes approximately 20 postdoctoral fellows that are classified with the job title of 'Research Trainee.' These fellows are generally funded by institutional or individual NIH research 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 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 life-cycle. 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.

Visit the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs intranet home page

Visit the Office of Responsible Research Training intranet home page

Identify your OPA contacts

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.

If you ever need guidance or contacts for a particular office, do not hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

View the administrative units of the CHOP Research Institute

View the leadership structure of the CHOP Research Institute

View Getting Started at CHOP Research Institute, our online orientation module for new CHOP researchers

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Annual Evaluations

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:

1. Download the Postdoc Annual Evaluation Form.

2. Postdoctoral Fellows must complete Sections 1 (Mentorship Plan), 2 (Postdoctoral Fellow Progress Review) and 3 (Postdoctoral Fellow Self-Assessment).

3. Mentors must complete Section 4 (Mentor’s Assessment of Postdoc’s Performance) and review their fellows’ responses in Sections 1-3 in a one-on-one performance evaluation meeting.

4. Postdoctoral Fellows and Mentors must jointly complete Section 5 (Trainee/Mentor Expectations for the Coming Training Year) to develop mutual expectations for the upcoming year.

5. Both the postdoctoral fellow and mentor must provide verifications and signatures in Section 6 to indicate completion of the annual review process. Update your CHOP Trainee Profile and mark the check box on the last page of the review form.

6. Send an electronic copy of your signed form to the OPA, your Research Business Manager, and your mentor.

Please Note: Your mentor must indicate that he or she recommends you for "promotion to the next fellowship level" to get your salary increase (Section 6, last page). 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.

View the current NRSA stipend guidelines

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Training & Support

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

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click on the links below to sign up for a social networking site and connect with the OPA:

Become a Fan of The OPA on Facebook Follow The OPA on Twitter Join The OPA Group on LinkedIn

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.

Visit the PennKey Administration intranet site

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.

View the CHOP Research Training Wizard

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:

All upcoming events can be found on the Events of Interest tab of the CHOP Research Trainee Web Portal.

View all events of interest for CHOP research trainees

Join the University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Postdoctoral Program (BPP)

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.

Learn more about the UPenn BPP

Learn about UPenn Career Services

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Getting Funded

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 Awards

NIH F32 - Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Individual Fellowships
The F32 is a funding mechanism for early- to mid-level postdoctoral fellows

Learn about individual NIH Fellowships

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

Learn about NIH research career development awards

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

Learn about other NIH Awards and funding mechanisms

Institutional Training Grants (NIH T32 Awards)

View a full list of CHOP-held training grants and search for UPenn training grants
Children’s Hospital holds multiple institutional training grants. Depending on your research area, you may be eligible for support by a T32 Training Grant.

Additional Funding Resources

Albert Einstein College of Medicine Funding Search Engine (Non-NIH)
This search tool allows you to customize your search for non-federal funding opportunities.

Sponsored Projects Office Funding Finds
The CHOP Sponsored Projects Office intranet site contains a listing of a number of funding opportunities.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Funding Finds
Links to select funding-related resources can be found on the CHOP Research Trainee Web Portal.

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Postdoc Policies and Responsibilities

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.

Download the CHOP policy regarding postdoctoral fellows

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.

Learn more about your responsibilities as a postdoctoral fellow at the CHOP Research Institute

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Additional Resources

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.

Complete your free online Individual Development Plan, myIDP, presented by Science Careers

Download the Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors

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.

Learn more and join as a free affiliate member of the National Postdoc Association

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Contact Information

Your contacts for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs are:

David Taylor, PhD - Assistant Director - Contact for all questions related to CHOP Research Trainees

Colleen Ambron, MBA - Training Coordinator - Contact for questions related to Annual Postdoc Reviews and Trainee Profiles

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

Paulette McRae, PhD - Academic Programs Officer - Contact for questions related to new postdoc orientation, diversity initiatives, CHOP Entrepreneurial Science Fellowship, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity at CHOP

You may look up our direct E-mail addresses using the Outlook directory or contact our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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