Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award


The Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award recognizes postdoctoral fellows at the University of Michigan who have demonstrated a breadth of excellence in all areas of research, teaching, mentoring, service, and leadership. This year, three postdoctoral fellows will be named Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellows and awarded $1,000 (post-tax), to be spent as the awardees see fit.

The awards are administered by the U-M Postdoctoral Association (UMPDA) with support from Rackham Graduate School and the University of Michigan Medical School Postdoc Office. Funding for the award is provided by the University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR), Rackham Graduate School, and the University of Michigan Medical School Postdoc Office.

Apply for the Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award

The application for the 2022 Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award will be open from Monday, June 28, 2022 through Sunday, August 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.


  • Applicants must have completed at least six months of service at U-M as a postdoctoral fellow by the award deadline to be eligible for the award.
  • Applicants must be currently affiliated with U-M as a postdoctoral fellow at the time of the award (appointments through November 1, 2022).
  • While applicants may be involved with patients (for research purposes), their primary pursuit must be additional training, not service such as a clinical fellowship.
  • The award is open to domestic and international postdoctoral fellows.
  • Postdoctoral fellows who have previously been awarded the Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award are not eligible for a second award.

Selection Criteria

Nominees are expected to demonstrate excellence in the following areas (as applicable):

  • Research
  • Mentoring and Teaching
  • Professional Leadership and Service
  • Community Service and Outreach

Nominees will be evaluated on the significance of their contributions. Examples include:

  • Peer review publication, such as in a top tier journal
  • Grant submission
  • Securing funding
  • Fellowships and other awards
  • Patents
  • Editorial and peer review experience
  • Volunteer experience
  • Service associated with professional organizations
  • Teaching experience at the college level and/or K-12
  • Exemplary mentoring of graduate and/or undergraduate students

Reviewers will be encouraged to recognize outstanding achievements in a variety of disciplinary areas.

Application Process and Requirements

Application Form

  • Basic Personal Information: Name, Unit or Department, Degree Type and Year, and a Brief Description of Research
  • Statement of Purpose: Applicants must describe their achievements from the applicable categories. Place your achievements into perspective with respect to your field for a fellow postdoctoral fellow unfamiliar with your area of expertise. Please explain how your work meets or exceeds field benchmarks, and any restrictions imposed upon you in this area. It is important that you highlight only work done during your postdoc at University of Michigan as this will be the only criteria used for evaluation. Please provide an explanation if you are a postdoc, but your formal title is different. 1,000 word limit (~two pages).

Curriculum Vitae

The application materials must include a CV that documents the postdoctoral fellow’s achievements and contributions in each area of excellence identified above. Emphasis should be placed on achievements and contributions made while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan as only these will be used for judging. The CV cannot exceed three pages.

Letter of Recommendation

  • A letter of recommendation must be submitted by a postdoctoral fellow’s University of Michigan advisor, mentor, PI, or another community leader of their choosing. The letter of recommendation must outline how the postdoctoral fellow meets the various criteria for selection and should specify the applicant’s achievements in each area.
  • Please note: The letter of recommendation cannot exceed 1,000 words (~two pages).
  • No biosketch or CV is needed from the recommender.


The application for 2022 Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award will be open Monday, June 28, 2022 through Sunday, August 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.

Review Process

  • A review committee of postdoctoral fellow peers and previous awardees will make the award selection based on established criteria.
  • The review committee is looking for multi-dimensional candidates. Therefore, equal weight will be given to all areas described in the review guidelines (research, mentoring and teaching, professional leadership and service, and community service and outreach).
  • Awardees will be notified during the summer months and will be recognized at a lunch during Postdoc Appreciation Week in September.


If you have any questions about the award process, please contact OPFAapplications@umich.edu.