Virginia Tech has created a new Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship program that will strengthen the university’s ability to recruit outstanding, diverse postdoctoral associates (postdocs) to Virginia Tech.

The program reflects Virginia Tech President Tim Sands’ commitment to advance opportunities for postdocs as part of the university’s strategic objective to be a top destination for talent. 

“Postdoctoral positions are part of the critical transition from student to professional,” Sands said. “Fellowships like our new Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship are key to connecting postdocs with specific mentors who can facilitate focused independent research experiences, skill development, professional training, and engagement with the university community.” 

Competitively awarded, the fellowship will prepare postdocs from various fields and disciplines for the next step in their careers, providing a two-year appointment with nationally competitive salaries and benefits, $10,000 for training- and professional development-related expenses to be used over the two-year fellowship, in addition to mentoring and professional development support.

Fellowships will be awarded in two tracks — one based on Virginia Tech’s Research Frontiers and the other on cybersecurity. Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation Dan Sui and his team are exploring ways to further improve the postdoctoral researcher experience and provide more assistance through a combination of building community, mentoring, and professional development.

“We are pleased to be able to create this new program in order to recruit top talent to Virginia Tech by providing the support needed to grow academically and professionally,” Sui said. “We look forward to bringing their energy and ideas into these exciting initiatives.” 

For the Research Frontiers track, research projects will be focused in Artificial Intelligence, Health, Security, and Quantum.

For the cybersecurity track, fellowships will be awarded in alignment with the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI). Fellows selected to work at the CCI Hub in Northern Virginia or at other campus locations through the CCI Southwest Virginia node will have projects that focus on cybersecurity at the intersection with intelligence and autonomy. 

Potential fellows should review the list of participating faculty and reach out to mentors whose research interests align with theirs. Faculty mentors will work with prospective postdocs to develop a short three-page proposal. Submitted to the Research and Innovation Office, proposals will be evaluated based on their potential to advance the independent research program of the postdoc, the potential to enhance the research program of the mentor, and alignment with university and sponsor research priorities.

Interested faculty should fill out this form to be added to the participating faculty list in order for interested fellows to identify and connect with them. Applications, submitted by the prospective mentor in collaboration with the associated fellow, will be accepted in three cycles over the calendar year: on May 15, July 15, and Nov. 15.

The Virginia Tech Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is sponsored by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) Hub, CCI Southwest Virginia Node, Fralin Life Sciences Institute, and the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

In January 2022, Chris Smith was named postdoctoral affairs program administrator, leading the establishment of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Virginia Tech. In his role, Smith partners with colleges, institutes, and administrative offices across Virginia Tech's campuses to provide a supportive, inclusive, and engaging environment for Virginia Tech’s postdoc scholars through professional development and community building programs specific to the needs of postdoctoral associates and their mentors.

Additionally, resources, professional development, and a dedicated Slack channel are available for the Virginia Tech postdoc community.

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