By Suna Gulay, PhD
As the current NICHD Basic Sciences Representative, I represent NICHD postdoctoral fellows at the FelCom meeting every month and share the latest news with you here. Do you have a concern or question that you want brought up at the next meeting? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In the February meeting, FelCom discussed the development of a social media hub for postdocs (similar to Club PCR for postbacs and GS-Underground for graduate students). This will be used to disseminate helpful information for new postdocs and to bring the NIH postdoctoral community together. While Fellow-L is a useful listserv, and all postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to continue subscribing to it (all FelCom openings get advertised there!), the new non-NIH associated social platform will provide a place to share resources, as well as news of local social activities and career development opportunities, without the reagent requests. An ad hoc committee will be formed this month to create relevant accounts, add content, and reach out to all current postdocs to join the new platform.
New HHS rules have been established regarding research fellow positions. The cap that has been in place for about a year for these fellowships has been removed. However, these positions are considered FTE (Full-Time Equivalent Employment), and as such, they are now subject to the overall cap regarding all NIH employment. Postdoctoral IRTA, CRTA and visiting fellow positions are considered non-FTE, and hence, they are not affected by these new rules. Institutes and centers will make individual decisions on how many research fellows to employ based on the total number of government employees that can be hired. They may also choose to employ new research fellows as contractors, which increases IRTA and CRTA fellows’ chances to be hired. Unfortunately, visiting fellows may not be hired as research fellows through this mechanism. Research fellows hired as contractors will still be subject to the 5-Year / 8-Year Duration Rule. I will keep you up-to-date on this issue in the upcoming months.
The Visiting Fellows Committee has launched their new website. They are also in the process of recruiting volunteers to organize this year’s International Opportunities Expo. Anyone interested in finding a job overseas, and adding organizational skills to your CV, is welcome to join their meetings. Please contact the co-chairs Ulrike Boehm and Daphnée Villoing for more information.
Last but not least, The Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES), with the help of NIH Korean Scientists Association, has established a memorial fund in honor of Dr. Sang-A Park, who lost her life in a traffic accident on January 22, 2018 at the NIH campus. If you wish to donate, please visit https://faes.org/content/donate-faes and choose “Park Memorial Fund.”