Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Scholar Program Request for Proposals: Fall 2021


The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement is pleased to issue a Request for Proposals for the Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Scholar Program at Columbia University as part of the new Inclusive Faculty Pathways initiative. This program, designed to advance the Schools’ diversity plans, will support the recruitment of outstanding postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented groups to more closely reflect the composition of the national pool of qualified candidates. The purpose of the program is to develop postdoctoral candidates for possible faculty appointments at Columbia University and other universities.  Therefore, the focus will be on supporting fellows from disciplines where the majority of recent tenure-track hires have come to Columbia after a postdoctoral position.  It is expected that requests for proposals will occur once a year for three years: starting with this RFP and concluding in 2023. 

Please note that CUIMC schools are not eligible for this program. Please contact Mandy Lin, Manager of Operations at the CUIMC Office of Faculty Professional Development, Diversity & Inclusion, for more information about opportunities for CUIMC schools and departments. 

The selection of postdoctoral research scientists/scholars is a two-stage process. In the first stage, Schools are invited to submit brief proposals for a postdoctoral position in a specified unit of the School.  A committee will review these proposals and recommend to the Provost the units to receive a postdoctoral position.  In the second stage, each selected unit will conduct their own external search and recruit one (1) postdoctoral candidate.  They will evaluate candidates and submit a ranked list of their top candidates.  A review committee will evaluate the ranked candidates and make recommendations to the Provost.  Four (4) postdoctoral research scientists/scholars are expected to be recruited during this first year of the program. This document describes the application process for the first stage of the competition.

Each unit selected will receive funding of up to $150,000 total to support one postdoctoral research scientist/scholar for two or three years maximum.  In keeping with the philosophy of these diversity allocations, the Office of the Provost contribution shall not exceed 50% of the total cost of each scholar. Schools should specify their expected financial contributions as part of their proposals.  The Office of the Provost will provide postdoctoral University housing slots for Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scientist/Scholars.  Each Scientist/Scholar is entitled up to three years of housing during their postdoctoral period at Columbia.  The Office of the Provost will not provide housing after that three-year period.   

Given the limited amount of Office of the Provost funding, Schools are strongly encouraged to develop a process for determining which funding requests will be prioritized and put forward. Departments requesting support should coordinate closely with their Deans. Funding requests must be submitted with the support and sign-off by the School’s Dean. Please note that applications for funding support must be submitted and reviewed before a postdoctoral offer has been made to the research scientist/scholar.

Deadline for Stage I

Applications for a postdoctoral position are due on October 8, 2021.

Application for Stage I

The application should include the following components:

  • Cover Page
  • Proposal to justify position, including:
    • Criteria for selecting the postdoctoral scientist/scholar based on academic achievement and the potential to contribute to the diversity of the University. 
    • Brief description of the School’s three-year diversity goals, and how a postdoctoral scientist/scholar would enhance the School’s progress. 
    • The academic unit’s search plan, including a description for conducting a broad and inclusive search.
    • A mentorship plan outlining how the proposing unit will provide mentoring to the postdoctoral scientist/scholar, from their arrival to the search for their next position, to ensure the strongest career development and mentoring.
  • Separate statement on the proportion of 2016-2021 tenure-track hires in the School (or Department, if applicable) that completed a postdoctoral position prior to joining the faculty.
  • Preference will be given to departments or units that explicitly outline how the scholar may transition to a faculty role in their unit upon completion of post-doctoral training.  Please note scholars will be eligible for faculty diversity initiative recruitment funding in future years.
  • Budget Projection and Narrative: An itemized budget projecting the salary and professional development funds needed to generate a competitive recruitment package in the proposed field. We recognize that the proposed budget is based on your estimate of what it will cost to recruit the postdoctoral scientist/scholar. The actual budget, and Office of the Provost award, will be based on the accepted offer letter.


The entire application must be submitted via the online submission form by October 8, 2021. If you need to share the application-in-progress with others in your academic unit, please follow these steps:

1. Open the application
2. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page
3. Select “Get shareable link”
4. Paste and email the link to yourself and the corresponding colleague(s)

Program Details

In general, postdoctoral scientists/scholars will work full-time on the research programs proposed in their applications and will receive salaries and travel and research support competitive with comparable prestigious postdoctoral programs. Postdoctoral scientists/scholars will not be required to teach, but if interested, should be supported in doing so.  They will hold the rank of postdoctoral research scientist/scholar and be entitled to the benefits associated with Officers of Research. When possible, the Office of the Provost encourages the postdoctoral scientists/scholars to spend 10-25% of their time on activities intended to support the unit's diversity efforts. 

Also note that the postdoctoral scientist/scholars must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who will have completed their terminal degree not later than five (5) years before the start of the program in Fall 2022.  They must have received their terminal degree from an institution other than Columbia. Current Columbia University postdoctoral scholars are not eligible for this program.


Stage I

September 15, 2021: Call for proposals
October 8, 2021: Deadline for submission of proposals
October 10-October 22, 2021: Proposal review period
October 26, 2021: School awardees announced
Schools conduct external searches

Stage II

October 26 - December 15, 2021: Schools conduct external searches
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021: Deadline for postdoctoral applicants to apply
December 17, 2021-January 31, 2022: Schools review and prioritize applicants
February 1, 2022: Schools forward top applicants to the Provost’s Office
February 15, 2022:  Notification to Schools
July 1-September 1, 2022: Start date