NRSA Postdoctoral Stipend Guidelines for FY2017

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This month, NIH published the projected fiscal year 2017 stipend guidelines for postdoctoral trainees and fellows supported by National Research Service Awards (NRSAs).  For NRSA-supported postdocs with less than one year’s experience, the stipend level will increase to $47,484. In keeping with the recommendation of the Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director, stipend levels then increase dependent on years of postdoctoral experience.

The 9% increase for the starting level stipend reflects the Department of Labor’s revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which are effective as of December 1, 2016. Under the FLSA, US workers are entitled to overtime pay unless they are exempted because they are paid on fixed, preset levels at or above the FLSA defined threshold, and are engaged in executive, administrative, or professional duties. In May, NIH announced its intent to increase postdoctoral NRSA stipends to levels above the new FLSA threshold, to align with the spirit of the FLSA revision and recognizing that postdoctoral research activities – like most biomedical research careers – often exceed forty hours a week and do not neatly fall into hourly shifts. Institutions that employ postdocs through non-NRSA support can choose how to follow the new rule. They may choose to carefully track their postdocs’ hours and pay overtime, or, they may choose to provide postdoctoral stipends at or above the new FLSA salary threshold.

Because the stipend levels announced in the NIH Guide notice are dependent on NIH’s budget appropriations, there are a number of key questions we need to still work through. NIH will be posting more guidance and FAQs about this in the coming months.

7 Comments

  1. I am completely in agreement with postdoc salaries being increased.
    When was the last time the modular grant budget was increased? What is the cost of scientific research inflation since then?

  2. How does this impact existing NRSA and T32 awards that will not receive new NGAs until after December 1? Are institutions expected to make up the shortfall in the stipend to meet the new FLSA minimum?

  3. This is a great initiative and institutions that receive Federal Support should be mandated to follow these salary directives, regardless of whether the postdoc is on a T32. The vast majority of postdocs are not on T32s (NRSA) and are being taken advantage of. There is wide discrepancy in how much postdocs of equivalent experience levels get paid. For example, just in PA, University of Pennsylvania and Penn State have set the right precedent and require that all postdocs (T32 and non-T32 supported) be paid according to NRSA guidelines, while University of Pittsburgh refuses to mandate this. Postdocs at Pitt see this and are very unhappy.

  4. Its a lollypop. Please compare present and proposed salary for 4 or more years. For fresher its a significant benefit but for experienced person its nuts. There is no benefit of having 3 year experience as compared to zero years in salary. Its just a mind game played with postdoc.

  5. With the new changes to the FLSA injunction being issued November 2016, does the NIH anticipate any changes to the 2017 NRSA salaries or will they be remaining as previously suggested?

  6. Is there someplace I can find the FY17 pre-doctoral stipend level all I see is Post doc numbers.

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