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NPA ADVANCE Clearinghouse - Funding and Grants
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About NPA ADVANCE Summit on Gender and the Postdoctorate Presentations and Articles
Data on Postdocs and Gender Clearinghouse on Promising Practices Contact Us

Potential Interventions to Aid in Retaining Postdoc Women

A clearinghouse of promising practices

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F. PROGRAMS: Funding and Grants

1. Grants for travel to conferences



2. Grants to subsidize childcare expenses at conferences


  • Harvard University’s Dependent Care Fund provides funding to support dependent care for faculty who must travel to professional events that will advance their careers (e.g. conferences). Such a program could be adapted for postdocs.


3. Establish mechanisms for continuing research during a postdoc's parental leave, such as hiring an extra technician for postdoc supervisor.


  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health’s Primary Caregiver Technical Assistance Supplements provides funding to principal investigators to hire a technician to fill in for postdoctoral researchers who must take family leave to care for a child or sick family member. The supplements provide up to two years of salary and fringe benefits for the technician, with salaries in the range of $40,000 to $50,000.

  • The National Science Foundation's Career-Life Balance Initiative has established grant supplements to PIs to hire technical assistance during a PI's family leave. This includes most postdoctoral fellows.


4. Financial support for postdoctoral two-body problems – such as grant supplements to support trailing partners, perhaps.

[Know of a great example of this? Let us know!]


5. Fellowships


  • Transition hiring programs, where a postdoc is hired with the intention of transitioning them to the tenure-track. In addition to the conversion to a “permanent” position, such programs also can provide a number of benefits to the postdoc that advance them on the path to independence, such as independent funding, the ability to establish an independent research program, and the ability to apply for grants. The added benefits are that the longer-term stability of the position (compared with a regular postdoc position) makes it easier for partnered postdocs to find a “two-body” solution.



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[1] Riskin, E.A., Lange, S.E., Quinn, K., Yen, J.W., and Brainard, S.G. 2007. Transforming Science and Engineering: Advancing Academic Women. Eds. A.J. Stewart, J. E. Malley and D. LeVaque-Manty. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0819994. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.