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Postdoc Fringe Rate FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions about the Research Foundation of SUNY's upcoming establishment of a new fringe rate for RF Postdoctoral Associates and the ensuing improvements to postdoc benefits. 

See the OVPR Memo to PIs on the change (4/18/19).

When will this change take place?
July 1, 2019, but grant PIs should start budgeting at the expected rate now for any new grants that include Postdoctoral Associates.

What will the new postdoc fringe rate be?
The rate is expected to be 25%, but will not be finalized until closer to the implementation date, July 1, 2019. In the meantime, grant PIs should use the provisional 25% rate for their grant budgeting for Postdoctoral Associates.

Who will be eligible for this new, lower fringe rate?
Only RF Postdoctoral Associates, which are employees appointed in the Postdoctoral Associate and Senior Postdoctoral Associate titles.

Does the new fringe rate apply to Research Scientists who are basically working as postdocs?
The Research Scientist title is intended for researchers who are no longer in a period of temporary, mentored research training, and therefore are not considered postdocs under this policy. As regular staff, Research Scientists must be budgeted at the staff fringe rate.

How does this change affect State-funded postdocs?
It doesn’t. These changes only apply to Research Foundation Postdoctoral Associates, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Postdoctoral Fellow Paid-Directs.

How does a lower fringe rate impact postdoc benefits?
Because postdocs rarely, if ever, retire out of their postdoc position, retiree health (health insurance during retirement) was an unutilized benefit. This new fringe rate realizes this savings. All other current RF employee benefits will remain available, plus postdocs will gain an additional health insurance option from UMI (the plan for grad student RAs). The net result is an increase in benefits, giving all RF postdocs additional health insurance options and the opportunity to stay with one plan even if they switch between RF grant funding and a prestigious fellowship.

What has changed for postdocs who are not employees, but have fellowships?
This change establishes a new category of postdoctoral fellows who receive their fellowship or traineeship directly instead of through the Research Foundation: Postdoctoral Fellow Paid-Direct. Both our existing category of RF Fellow and this new category of Fellow will now have the option to join either the employee or the UMR health plans, allowing for seamless benefits in the event of a funding change.

What do we mean by “seamless benefits”?
Postdocs who switch between Postdoctoral Associate, Postdoctoral Fellow and Postdoctoral Fellow Paid-Direct appointment categories due to a change in funding now have the option of staying with the same health insurance plan, because both the employee plans and the UMR plan will be available to all three categories of postdoc.

Will current postdocs have the option to switch their benefits, or only postdocs newly hired after July 1, 2019?
Current RF postdocs will have the option to change their benefits options during an open enrollment period coming later this Spring.

What are the new postdoc classifications?
Postdoctoral Associate – (Employee) An individual holding a doctoral degree who is engaged in a defined temporary period of mentored research and/or scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue a career path of his or her choosing. Postdoctoral Associates train under the direction and supervision of faculty mentors in preparation for academic or research careers. Postdoctoral Associate and Senior Postdoctoral Associate are titles that can be used for this classification.

Postdoctoral Fellow – (Non-Employee) An appointment is made as a fellow when the Postdoc has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the fellowship or traineeship is paid through a Research Foundation account.

Postdoctoral Fellow Paid Direct – (Non-Employee) An appointment is made as a fellow paid direct when the Postdoc has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the agency pays the fellowship or traineeship directly to the Postdoc, rather than through the RF.

Where can I ask more questions?
For questions on post-award expenditures and encumbrances
, please contact Sheila Routh in Grants Management at
For questions on pre-award budgeting and planning, contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at
For questions on benefits, please contact Kristen Blandi or Paulene Toussaint in HR at or
For questions on appointments, please contact Dianne Supovitz in HR at

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