Prestigious postdoc program to launch for research disciplines

A new Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows Program will see its first six fellows appointed during the 2017-18 academic year. The prestigious program encompasses all research-based disciplines on Cornell’s Ithaca campus, at Cornell Tech in New York City, and at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

“The objective of this program is to further demonstrate Cornell’s commitment to excellence and leadership in research, and to institute a well-proven means of attracting some of the world’s best young talent to Cornell to interact deeply with faculty and students,” Provost Michael Kotlikoff said.

The first call for nominations will be announced in early fall 2017. Six new appointments will be made each year, and beginning in 2019-20 the program will maintain 18 active postdoctoral fellows.

“By celebrating research excellence through these new fellowships, we strengthen a community of thought leadership that is distinctly Cornell’s,” said President Martha E. Pollack. “I look forward to recognizing the inaugural group of presidential postdoctoral fellows next year.”

The program will initially be funded jointly and equally by the Office of the Provost and the offices of the deans of participating Cornell schools and colleges. The long-term goal is to endow the program indefinitely through fundraising by the university.

Postdoctoral appointments will be for three years, subject to a positive annual evaluation by faculty mentors of scholarly progress, and could include a teaching component depending on the interests and career goals of the appointee. Successful candidates will be encouraged, but are not required, to associate with more than one Cornell faculty member or research group.

To review applications and nominations and determine fellowship recipients each year, the provost will appoint tenured research faculty to form a broadly representative selection committee, to be chaired by the senior vice provost for research.

Annual stipends for program participants will be augmented by an allowance for discretionary research expenses including travel, and each fellow will receive full endowed-employee benefits.

A Society of Cornell Fellows also will be established, with lifetime enrollment for all Cornell presidential postdoctoral fellows. Postdoctoral researchers at Cornell who are participating in other named, competitively awarded programs as designated by the provost (such as Atkinson fellows, Kavli fellows, Mong fellows and Taylor fellows) also will be offered enrollment in this society and invited to its campus events, including an annual reception. Events will be supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

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John Carberry