Postdoctoral Research Associates and their mentors are afforded up to three one-year appointments in order to complete the planned course of training. In the case that additional training beyond three years is necessary in order to achieve the trainee’s stated career goals, trainees and their mentors may request an extension of the appointment. Appointment extensions for Postdoctoral Research Associates are provided in one-year increments (or less) and must be approved in writing by the department/unit head and the appropriate dean/vice president (or designee). Such requests subsequently must be reviewed and approved by the Office of the Vice President for Research. Documentation must be provided to confirm that the nature of employment continues to be training-related and that such continuation is beneficial to the Postdoctoral Research Associate and the University. Under these circumstances, the maximum term of employment for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (including service as a postdoctoral fellow) at the University of Virginia is five years. In certain circumstances (for example, the illness of the employee or a family member or project-specific factors related to the Postdoctoral Research Associate’s career development, etc.), the University will consider extensions beyond five years. Such requests must have the written approval of the department/unit head and the appropriate dean/vice president (or designee) and must be approved by the vice president for research.
The intent of these limits on employment terms is to formalize the temporary nature and training aspects of the postdoctoral experience, while recognizing that career development varies across disciplines and, in select situations, may warrant extended periods of special training.