Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

Early Termination

During the postdoctoral term of appointment, the appointment is contingent upon programmatic need, satisfactory performance and the existence of funding. At the end of the term and subject to the limits set forth in university policy, the appointment may be subject to early termination or non-renewal. Although international postdocs may be eligible for up to five full years in duration under the J-1 visa program, there is no guarantee of appointment renewal up to five years.

An early termination process does not apply if the scholar is resigning from the appointment prior to the end of the appointment contract.  A Termination Web Form is still required in the case of Early Terminations.

In some occasions, ending the appointment of a postdoctoral scholar prior to the agreed-upon appointment end date may be necessary as a result of funding shortfall, change in programmatic need, or lack of sufficient research progress or inadequate performance.  Early termination may also be made following a determination that misconduct by the scholar has occurred. 

Where termination is based upon misconduct or cause (including for disclosure or misuse of confidential information, conflict of interest, misuse of University resources, or any other misconduct or acts detrimental to University operations or violating University policy) advance notice of termination may be waived with the approval of the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs.

In all cases of possible early termination, the faculty sponsor must contact the department’s postdoctoral administrator, who may also recommend discussion of the case with the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs.

Faculty sponsors should give the postdoc an early termination notice at least 30-60 days before the early termination date occurs, with a copy to the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs. In cases of funding shortfall 90 days is typical. The notice must follow the University’s template.  If the postdoc is on a visa, the faculty sponsor must also provide a written/e-mail notice of the early termination date to the Bechtel International Center.

Any terminations due to inadequate academic or research progress must follow a process by which progress discussions and written evaluation by the faculty mentor are made.  This process must note the specific steps to be taken in order to remedy any deficiencies, and the possibility of early termination if those deficiencies remain by a specific date. Such process takes place several weeks/months in advance of taking this early termination action.

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