An exceptionally broad, integrative and collaborative program for biological research
We value a diversity of people and approaches to solve the most important problems in Biology. Accordingly, the Department of Biology has an unusual breadth of top-notch faculty, postdocs, and students who study topics at spatial scales ranging from molecules to the entire planet. Many work at the intersections of fields, developing new technologies and forging interdisciplinary collaborations. These efforts are facilitated by Seattle’s position as a major intellectual hub for biology. Indeed, the University of Washington has been the leading recipient of federal research funding—now more than $1 billion per year—among public universities for more than 20 years.
Our trainees are valued colleagues
Our trainees receive an extraordinary number of fellowships and awards, publish high impact papers and participate regularly in national and international meetings. Our postdocs also go on to do great things. Contributing to this success, our postdocs receive additional training by participating in seminars and journal clubs within the Department, across the UW campus, and at our partner institutions in the Seattle metro area. To provide additional preparation for our postdocs' future independent careers, the Department also sponsors professional skills seminars and workshops and offers valuable opportunities to participate in departmental governance and teaching.
Initial Appointment Process
Postdoctoral Scholar Hire Process. Our postdoc hire overview diagram (PDF) is a simple tool designed to help PIs and prospective postdocs understand the process of hiring postdocs in the Department of Biology and at the University of Washington. This is a two- to three-step process: recruitment (either competitve or non-competitive), hiring, and--if an employment visa is needed--visa application. Review the postdoc hire overview diagram linked above for details.
Sarah Morrow, Human Resources Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org), will receive the hire request from the PI and contact the candidate for documentation required for hire.
Postdoctoral Scholar Titles. Funding, pay type, and PhD conferral status generally determine a postdoc's formal title and benefits eligibility at the University of Washington. Review the postdoc appointment information sheet (PDF) for details and determinations. This document provides a detailed review of the title types, documentation required to approve and hire, limitations on appointments, UAW union representation, timelines (particularly for those coming in on employment visas), hiring process, and compensation for postdocs represented by the union.
Compensation. For complete details on Postdoctoral Scholar compensation requirement, review Section 32.2 of the UAW Postdoctoral Scholar Contract. Details on Individual Postdoctoral Scholar Salary Increases are found in Section 32.3; upon each annual anniversary, the postdoc is required to receive a min. of a 2% increase.
Postdoctoral Scholar experience-based salary scale (07/01/2019 – 01/31/2021):
|Postdoc experience level||Minimum annual full-time salary equivalent|
|0 (0 – 11 months)||$ 50,004|
|1 (12 – 23 months)||$ 51,004|
|2 (24 – 35 months)||$ 52,024|
|3 (36 – 47 months)||$ 53,065|
|4 (48 – 59 months)||$ 54,126|
|5 (60 – 71 months)*||$ 55,208*|
International Postdoc Visa Process
Incoming international Postdoctoral Scholars generally are sponsored on a J-1 visa. If a postdoc is currently on a J-1 visa with another institution, the UW will sponsor the transfer of the J-1 and any subsequent extensions. Any employee on a J-1 visa must exhaust their five years of J-1 eligibility before changing status to H-1B. If a postdoc is currently on an H-1B visa with another institution, the UW will sponsor the transfer of the H-1B and any subsequent extensions.
Upon receipt of the signed offer letter, Sarah will submit a request to the College of Arts and Sciences visa team requesting a visa process. The CAS team will reach out directly to the Postdoctoral Scholar for all required documents. Click the link below to view the document requirements for J-1 and H-1B visa and dependent applications. If you have questions about the E-3, TN, or OPT, please contact Sarah Morrow (email@example.com). Please also review the Employment Visa Timelines (below).
Housing. The UW Faculty Auxiliary provides some assistance and information about housing options in the Seattle area. You can also find information on the housing and home loan program at the UW. Check out the priority access rentals and affordable housing near UW campuses. You can also look for rentals in a variety of neighborhoods near the University of Washington by searching on an online real estate and rental marketplace like Zillow or Airbnb, apps like PadMapper and HotPads, or local classifieds and forums for housing and other services, like Craigslist. Other options include City of Seattle MFTE (lowincome housing) and UW Visiting Faculty Housing Service.
Obtaining a Driver's License. The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) issues driver licenses and identification (ID) cards for people residing in Washington State. A driver license provides permission to drive in Washington and serves as official identification. The ID card does not authorize driving, but serves as official identification. It can be useful to have legal identification from Washington for activities such as banking, domestic travel, proving your age (such as at 21-and-over venues), etc. Review the instructions for obtaining a state driver license or ID card.
Banking. Seattle offers a myriad of choices when it comes to financial institutions. The bank that lays claim to the honor of being the oldest in the area is Security State Bank (WA), which was established in 1903.
If you do not yet have a social security number, visit this U.S. Bank on campus, in the Husky Union Building. They are well-versed in setting up accounts for international students who do not yet have a SSN/card.
Obtaining a Social Security Card. International employees of the University of Washington must apply for a social security number. Salary may be withheld until the number is issued. The Social Security Office recommends that applicants wait at least 10 days after entering the U.S. before applying for the social security number. To obtain a social security number, the applicant must visit the local Social Security Office.
Childcare Resources. The University of Washington offers four childcare facilities on campus along with resources for childcare off campus. Enrollment priority and tuition costs for on-campus facilities vary for each location, and you must put your name on the wait list before enrolling (See details here.) The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows you to take a pre-tax deduction for eligible dependent care expenses from your pay.
In addition, effective January 1, 2020, the University will create a fund to assist in childcare expenses, making available thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) per year to a Postdoctoral Scholar childcare fund. (Read more about this in the UAW Postdoctoral Scholar contract.) Contact the University of Washington Postdoctoral Association (UWPA) or your union rep (firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-543-6236) for information on this benefit.
Biology Onboarding Packet (for all new Postdoctoral Scholars)
Welcome Day. All new employees are required to register for and attend Welcome Day, the formal UW orientation program. Welcome Day introduces the UW Employee Benefits package, including retirement plan options, and gives you the opportunity to receive guidance and ask questions about your benefits selections. Since most enrollment deadlines fall within 31 days of an employee’s eligibility date, you should attend Welcome Day during your first few weeks of employment. If you are eligible for the bargaining unit represented by UAW 4121 (the postdoc union), you have the opportunity to meet with representatives from this union.
Benefits. Benefits are provided to Postdoctoral Scholars who are paid a salary by the UW and meet other eligibility requirements. If you are or will be a member of the UAW union, you can review Article 9 of the contract for information on benefits. You can find information on medical, dental, and other plans online. Questions about eligibility may be directed to Sarah Morrow (email@example.com). Questions about specific plans can be directed to the ISC and the UW Benefits Office (firstname.lastname@example.org). More information can also be found in the Biology Onboarding Packet at the top of this section.
It is important to note that Postdoctoral Scholar - Fellows do not receive retirement benefits, and that Paid Direct postdoctoral scholars do not receive any fringe benefits.
ID Card and Bus Pass. Upon arriving to the UW, you will need to obtain a UW Husky Card, which is your employee ID. Visit the UW Husky Card Office during their operating business hours - no appointment is necessary. You must obtain a Husky Card before activating your U-PASS/bus pass. Transportation Services and the U-PASS (bus pass) program will help you get to the UW’s Seattle campus and better understand your commute options.
Training and Safety. UW Environmental Health and Safety promotes a culture of safety whereby all personnel are expected to take responsibility not only for themselves, but also those around them. For such a system to succeed it is imperative that training requirements are clear and all personnel have easy access to the necessary resources. Postdocs work with their PIs and lab managers on making sure they receive the training and have the safety resources they need.
How do I get hired as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Biology at the UW?
The first action to take is to contact the PI or faculty member of the lab in which you want to work. PI's do their own recruiting and hiring of postdocs.
Who do I contact if I want to discuss a Postdoctoral Scholar Competitive Recruitment?
Faculty and PIs should contact Patti Owens (email@example.com) for assistance with postdoc competitive recruitments.
Once I have conducted a recruitment and am ready to hire a Postdoctoral Scholar, who should I contact?
Sarah Morrow, Human Resources Manager, is the Biology contact for Postdoctoral Scholar visas and hiring. Please email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or information on the hiring process. You may also review the Postdoctoral Scholar Hiring Overview.
I am a postdoc who recently acquired a grant. How will this will influence my current contract/benefits?
If, as a current Postdoctoral Scholar, you recently received a grant, congratulations! The first step is to contact Hayato Kosai (email@example.com), Biology's Grants Manager. Hayato will help determine whether the grant affects your compensation and how it will be paid out.
What is the difference between a Postdoctoral Scholar and a Postdoctoral Scholar - Fellow?
In short, a Postdoctoral Scholar - Fellow receives a stipend from a training grant funding source. We have a really great graphic that explains the Postdoctoral Scholar titles and determinations for each. You can also review the overview sheet on Postdoctoral Scholars for more information. Note that Postdoctoral Scholar - Fellows do not receive retirement benefits due to their funding sources.
Who should I contact if my visa needs to be extended?
Contact Sarah Morrow. However, it's likely that you will be contacted far in advance of your visa end date to allow plenty of time for the extension process.