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NIH Stipend Freeze Background
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Background

 


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) training stipends support more than 17,000 training positions and are used as a benchmark by research institutions across the country for compensation of postdoctoral scholars. In 2001, the NIH pledged to raise the entry-level postdoctoral stipend for the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) to $45,000. Due to a lack of funding, the NIH has been delayed in keeping its pledge. In 2008, the NIH announced that it would hold the NRSA fellowship stipend levels for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 at the FY2007 levels, continuing a stipend freeze from 2006. In 2009 and 2010, the NRSA stipends were increased by 1% each year, and in 2011, by 2 percent (the NPA applauded this increase). The stipends increased another 2% for FY 2012. FY2013 levels remained at FY2012 levels. NIH annouced FY2014 baseline stipend to rise to $42,000 for postdocs on NRSA grants.This resulted from the NIH Biomedical Workforce Report which the NPA had submitted testimony advocating for an increase in Postdoc stipend (see Past NPA actions below). FY2015 were increased further to $ 42,840.

 


The need for higher stipends continues. The 2011 National Academies study, Research Training in the Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Sciences, called for, among other recommendations, increased funding to support more NRSA positions and to fulfill the NIH's 2001 commitment to increase predoctoral and postdoctoral stipends.


View NIH Statement Issued in 2001


Excerpts from the NIH 2001 Statement:


The NIH supports higher stipends for NRSA recipients and therefore announces tentative targets of $45,000 for entry-level postdoctoral stipends. Future budget requests will incorporate 10 to 12 percent stipend increases until this target is reached. After attainment of this target, the real value of stipends will be maintained with annual cost-of-living adjustments.


Recommendation 5-4. Stipends and other forms of compensation for those in training should be based on education and experience and should be regularly adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living.


The NIH concurs with the committee’s observation that NRSA stipends are unduly low in view of the high level of education and professional skills involved in biomedical research. NRSA stipend targets have been identified for both predoctoral and postdoctoral recipients. NIH plans to develop budget requests that will permit an increase in stipends by 10 to 12 percent per year for the next few years in order to reach those targets. Once the targets have been attained, annual cost-of-living adjustments will be instituted so that stipend levels remain relatively constant in real value. The appropriateness of stipend levels will be examined in future years to maintain comparability to levels of income available to students and postdoctorates from other sources.


View 2015 stipend schedule

View 2014 stipend schedule

View 2013 stipend schedule (same as 2012)

View 2012 stipend schedule

View 2011 stipend schedule

View 2010 stipend schedule

View 2009 stipend schedule

View 2007-2008 stipend schedule

 

NRSA Stipends Trends

Postdoctoral Stipend 2015
    Postdoctoral Stipend 2014
    Postdoctoral Stipend 2013     Postdoctoral Stipend 2012  
Years of Experience:
    Years of Experience:
    Years of Experience:     Years of Experience:  
0
$42,840   0
$42,000   0 $39,264   0 $39,264
1
$44,556   1 $43,680   1
$41,364   1
$41,364
2
$46,344   2
$45,432
  2
$44,340
  2
$44,340
3
$48,192   3
$47,244   3
$46,092
  3
$46,092
4
$50,112   4
$49,128   4
$47,820   4
$47,820
5
$52,116   5
$51,096   5
$49,884   5
$49,884
6
$54,216   6
$53,148   6
$51,582   6
$51,582
7 or more
$56,376   7 or more
$55,272   7 or more
$54,180   7 or more
$54,180


Postdoctoral Stipend 2011     Postdoctoral Stipend 2010     Postdoctoral Stipend 2009
    Postdoctoral Stipend 2008
 
Years of Experience:     Years of Experience:     Years of Experience     Years of Experience  
0 $38,496    0 $37,740   0
$37,368    0 $36,996 
1 $40,548    1 $39,756   1
$39,360   1
$38,976 
2 $43,476    2 $42,624   2
$42,204    2
$41,796 
3 $45,192    3 $44,304   3 $43,860    3
$43,428 
4 $46,884    4 $45,960   4
$45,504    4
$45,048 
5 $48,900    5 $47,940   5
$47,460    5
$46,992 
6 $50,832    6 $49,836   6
$49,344    6
$48,852 
7 or more $53,112    7 or more $52,068   7 or more
$51,552    7 or more
$51,036 

 

Postdoctoral Stipend 2007     Postdoctoral Stipend 2006
    Postdoctoral Stipend 2005     Postdoctoral Stipend 2004
 
Years of
Experience

  Years of
Experience
   
Years of
Experience
    Years of
Experience
 
0 $36,996   0
$36,996   0
$35,568   0
$35,568
1 $38,976   1 $38,976   1
$37,474   1
$37,474
2 $41,796   2 $41,796
2 $41,796   2
$41,796
3 $43,428   3 $43,428   3
$43,428   3
$43,428
4 $45,048   4 $45,048   4 $45,048   4
$45,048
5 $46,992   5 $46,992   5
$46,992   5
$46,992
6 $48,852   6 $48,852   6
$48,852   6
$48,852
7 or more $51,036    7 or more
$51,036   7 or more
$51,036   7 or more

$51,036


 

Postdoctoral Stipend 2003   Postdoctoral Stipend 2002
 
Years of
Experience

  Years of
Experience 
 
0 $34,200   0 $31,092
1
$36,108   1 $32,820
2 $40,920   2 $38,712
3 $42,640   3 $40,692
4
$44,364   4 $42,648
5
$46,404   5 $44,618
6
$48,444   6 $46,584
7 or more $50,808   7 or more
$48,852
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