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Postdoctoral Fellowship Application Program (PFAP)

The JPA/OPA has designed a series of seminars to assist postdocs in preparing fellowship applications. The pilot program ran from September-November 2006 and the course is offered each fall to a limited number of postdoctoral fellows.

Goal

To assist Jefferson Postdocs with preparation of postdoctoral fellowship applications with a view to increasing their chances of success.

Background

Postdoctoral fellowships are funding sources exclusively for postdocs. Generally these fellowships will cover salary (partial or full) and may also include funding for benefits, travel expenses and in some cases, experimental work. There are a wide range of fellowships including those that facilitate the transition to independent positions.

Our Program

The JPA and OPA have devised a program of seminars that will provide useful information and guidance to participants. We encourage the involvement of PIs as much as possible in this process. PIs of enrolled postdocs are welcome to attend any of the PFAP sessions. We ran a pilot program in Fall 2006 and the course is now run every fall.

Components

Introductory Session

This session gives an overview of the program. Topics for discussion include:

  • what types of funding are available
  • what factors contribute to a successful application
  • how the PFAP is structured
  • how postdoctoral fellowships can help postdocs get the most out of the
    postdoctoral training period

'Finding Funding' Workshops

These workshops are run by the OPA/AISR. Experts assist with online searches for funding sources on a one-to-one basis.

Managing the Application Process

This is the 'planning' session of the program which provides an overview of timeline management from the Office of Research Administration.

Grant Writing Workshop

At the basis of all these applications is the writing of the grant itself. TJU already runs a faculty development grant writing program in which postdocs can enroll. However this program runs over a number of months. While we encourage PFAP participants to enroll in this program, we also run a 'crash course' in grant writing specifically for the PFAP which is delivered by faculty currently involved in the longer course. The aim of this element of the PFAP is to equip postdocs with actual grant writing skills in preparation for their fellowship application.

Bioethics & Animal Protocols (if necessary)

We anticipate that at least some postdocs will have animal and human subjects involved in their proposals. For this reason we host sessions from representatives of IACUC and the Office of Human Research to advise postdocs on the preparation of the necessary protocols and requests for approval that may be required for their application.

Expert Advisory Panel Session

What makes a basic application become a GREAT application and most importantly, a FUNDABLE application??? We convene a panel of experts to discuss this topic with participants. These experts include representatives from funding agencies, people that have served on study sections specifically assessing postdoctoral fellowships and members of TJU faculty.

Peer-Review & Editing Session (if necessary)

These sessions are informal sessions consisting of postdocs and faculty. The basic idea is peer-review i.e. postdocs review each others’ grants and give comments/suggestions however we encourage the PI of each postdoc to assist in this review process.

Interviewing Skills (if necessary)

Some postdoctoral fellowship applications require that the applicant be interviewed, either in person or by phone. This session provides guidance on how to prepare for this interview.

If you are interested in participating or would like more information please contact the
Jefferson Postdoctoral Association, or Dr. Lisa Kozlowski.