New minimum salary/stipend for postdocs

November 02, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

The Institute’s 1,397 postdoctoral scholars are vital to MIT’s research enterprise. Yet today, financial pressures are a regular source of personal stress for a majority of our postdocs, especially given the increased cost of living in Greater Boston. In a February 2022 survey conducted by the MIT Postdoctoral Association, roughly 90% of MIT postdocs answered affirmatively to the question “Do you feel financial stress in your everyday life?”

It is with that context in mind that effective January 1, 2023, the new minimum salary/stipend for MIT’s postdoctoral scholars will be $65,000 per year. The Institute will fund the initial phase of this salary/stipend increase.

We made this decision following consultation with the deans of the schools and the college; the Faculty Postdoctoral Advisory Committee (FPAC); the Postdoctoral Association; and colleagues across the Institute.

Background

The Institute’s minimum postdoctoral salary/stipend has followed the minimum set by the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award (NRSA), which today is $54,840. The NRSA minimum is uniform nationwide; it is not adjusted to account for regional variations in the cost of living. We reviewed minimum postdoctoral salaries/stipends at a set of peer institutions located in areas with similar costs of living. We found that these institutions – which previously followed NRSA minimums – have also set higher minimum salaries/stipends.

What to Expect

The Institute will cover the shortfall between the new salary/stipend minimum of $65,000 and each postdoc’s current salary/stipend for the 12-month period from the start of the increase until December 31, 2023. After this date, principal investigators (PIs) will be expected to cover the additional costs without central support, either through applicable grant funding or with other local resources. Departmental administrators will receive additional information in the coming days.

The new minimum salary/stipend will apply to all postdocs, replacing the tiered minimums that applied based on postdocs’ years of experience since receiving their doctoral degrees. We encourage PIs to consider the competitive landscape and postdocs’ years of experience in providing salaries/stipends above the new minimum of $65,000. Institute support cannot be used for increases beyond the $65,000 minimum.

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If you have any questions about this new minimum level, please write to mitpostdocs-www@mit.edu.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Barnhart, Provost

Glen Shor, Executive Vice President and Treasurer

Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research