Whitehead Institute unveils innovative salary and benefits plan for postdoctoral scientists

January 17, 2008

Tags: Awards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has unveiled an innovative plan that significantly improves salary and benefits for its postdoctoral scientists–a crucial step in addressing the needs of these promising young researchers.

“Over the years, the postdoctoral position has evolved to become integral to a research career in biology, and it serves as a time when young scientists hone their skills to develop an independent research program,” said Whitehead Institute Director David C. Page.

“The duration of postdoc training, which is typically designed for three to five years, strongly affects the career trajectory and personal lives of postdocs compared to prior generations of scientists,” Page noted. “Scientists are now starting their careers at an older age, which puts pressure on family responsibilities and retirement planning. Furthermore, we and others find that the salary and benefits packages provided to postdocs have not changed to reflect this reality.”

Working with its Postdoctoral Association, the Institute now has put together a plan that includes a first-year salary of $47,000, with an annual adjustment that accounts for the rise in cost of living. The plan also provides basic dental and health benefits as well as group term life insurance.

Additionally, Whitehead is launching an innovative solution to provide all of its postdocs, including those funded by external fellowships, with comparable retirement benefits. The retirement benefit to be paid will be calculated as 8% of salary. Because these retirement contributions will be provided at an early point in their careers, the power of compounded interest will magnify the bottom line for postdocs.

“Our scientific achievements would not have been possible without our dedicated and talented postdocs,” said Page. “The updated Whitehead postdoc benefits package will support the postdoc endeavor and maintain this vital human resource. As a backbone of the scientific community, discoveries made by postdocs are, and will continue to be, an important resource for our nation and the world.”

Written by Cristin Carr

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Whitehead Institute is a world-renowned non-profit research institution dedicated to improving human health through basic biomedical research.
Wholly independent in its governance, finances, and research programs, Whitehead shares a close affiliation with Massachusetts Institute of Technology
through its faculty, who hold joint MIT appointments.

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