Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a postdoc?

A: A postdoc is an individual holding a doctoral degree who is engaged in a temporary period of full-time mentored research and/or scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring scientific and/or professional skills needed to pursue a career path of his or her choosing.

Q: What is the difference between the HMPA and the Office of Postdoctoral Fellows?

A: The Office of Postdoctoral Fellows is a professional office with full-time staff that is run and funded by the HMS administration. In contrast, the HMPA is a self-governing group of volunteers who are full-time postdocs in HMS basic science departments and/or affiliated hospitals. The HMPA and OPF work closely together to provide complementary programming for postdocs.

Q: What is a “quad-based postdoc”?

A: A postdoc whose primary appointment is in one of the 6 basic science departments at HMS: Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; Cell Biology; Genetics; Microbiology and Immunobiology; Neurobiology; and Systems Biology or at HSDM. Historically, these departments were located in the buildings surrounding the HMS quad – the lawn on Longwood Ave. opposite Ave. Louis Pasteur.

Q: What is an “affiliate postdoc”?

A: A postdoc whose primary appointment is in one of the HMS affiliated hospitals, such as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBoston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital,  Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteJoslin Diabetes CenterMassachusetts Eye and EarMassachusetts General HospitalMcLean HospitalMount Auburn HospitalSchepens Eye Research InstituteSpaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Q: How frequently does the HMPA meet and hold events?

A:The governing board of the HMPA  meets monthly to run the business of the association. The HMPA  hosts events open to all postdocs on a rolling basis, including monthly happy hours, monthly peer-to-peer forum events,  and frequent professional development events. You can access our calendar of events.

Q: What is the role of HMPA?

  • Advocate for the Harvard medical postdoc community
  • Provide a forum for discussion of Harvard medical postdocs’ shared interests and concerns
  • Support Harvard medical postdocs’ professional development
  • Foster community and communication within the Harvard medical postdoc population
  • Liaise with the HMS/HSDM Office of Postdoctoral Fellows

Q: What are the HMPA bylaws?

A: The HMPA bylaws are as defined in HMPA Bylaws (Word document).