Welcome to the University of California in Riverside! The campus has a lively community of over 200 postdocs working in diverse disciplines. Postdoctoral Scholars are automatically members of the Riverside Postdoc Association (RPA), which is an active community that seeks to engage with postdocs to improve and promote their welfare and interests living in Riverside and working at UCR. Upon arrival, every postdoc is invited to contact the RPA to meet new contacts, receive tips for living in Riverside, and participate in cultural and recreational activities organized by the association. Be sure to visit their website.
The Graduate Division, together with the Riverside Postdoctoral Association, provides numerous resources and services for the professional and academic development of their postdocs. One is the section within the Graduate Division called GradSuccess, which is open to all postdocs. GradSuccess offers workshops, seminars, and consultations on advanced pedagogical training, writing, and job applications, in addition to a program called GradQuant, which helps students develop their quantitative research skills. In the Fall of 2014, the Association held its first symposium featuring poster and paper presentations and a keynote speech by Nobel Laureate in Medicine Randy Schekman. The Association now has an important advisory role giving the Graduate Division input on the needs of the Riverside postdoc community.
The University of California and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) have agreed to a new four-year agreement, effective October 17, 2016 through September 30, 2020.
As of September 2010, Postdoctoral Scholars working within California at the University of California are represented by the UAW union. Postdoctoral Scholars not working in California are governed by the Academic Personnel Guidelines 390. The full UAW contract is available online and UCR Postdoctoral Scholars can contact their union at http://uaw5810.org/about-your-union/. All Postdoctoral Scholars should be given a UAW Deduction Authorization Form upon hiring which is then forwarded to Labor Relations.
Salary Scale (as of December 1, 2018)
All new Postdoctoral Scholars must be appointed using the salary scale below based upon months of experience as a Postdoctoral Scholar and must receive an increase annually on their anniversary date. They may be paid more than the minimum. If they are already being paid above the appropriate step, then they receive an annual 2% salary increase.
Experience Level Annual Monthly
Level 0 (0-11 months) $50,760 $4,230
Level 1 (12-23 months) $52,896 $4,408
Level 2 (24-35 months) $54,756 $4,563
Level 3 (36-47 months) $56,880 $4,740
Level 4 (48-59 months) $59,100 $4,925
Level 5 (60 months plus) $61,308 $5,109 by exception only
Postdoctoral Scholars working in California are eligible to participate in the Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plans, which include medical, dental, vision, life, AD&D, short term disability, and voluntary long term disability. In addition, Postdoctoral Scholars are required to contribute to the University of California Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) as Safe Harbor participants, and may make voluntary contributions to any of the University of California Retirement Savings Program plans. In addition, the University shall pay the Workers Compensation Assessment and the Benefit Broker Fee for all Postdoctoral Scholars. All Postdoctoral Scholars are provided with repatriation and evacuation insurance. There is information on benefits with regard to domestic partnerships.
The health plan rates with the monthly premiums for 2018 and 2019 are available for faculty and departments to view to prepare for grants at https://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/uc/ . Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. is a broker who administers the medical insurance for the University. If there are any questions about the insurance itself, the broker should be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-254-1758.
Postdoctoral Scholars are obligated to contribute to the monthly health benefits plan for both the HMO and PPO. Postdoctoral Paid Directs who do not have an on-campus source paying their salary will be billed the monthly premium by Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. Postdoctoral Fellows will have their monthly premium taken out of their salary unless they elect to be billed. Postdoctoral Paid Directs will be invoiced by Garnet-Powers and Associates.
All UCR Postdocs must sign-up or opt-out of benefits by visiting Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. at https://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/uc/. Once they have made their choices, they will be directed to the UCPATH Portal to officially sign-up for their benefits.
Initial eligibility requires an appointment at 100% time for at least 3 months or 50-99% time for at least 12 months. To retain eligibility, a Postdoc is required to maintain an average regular paid time of at least 17.5 hours per week (43.75%).
Sick Leave and Time Off
In general, Postdoctoral Scholar-Employees are eligible for paid sick leave of up to 12 days per 12-month appointment period. The University shall carry forward unused sick leave to subsequent eligible appointments at the University of California. See Article 23 of the Contract.
Postdoctoral Scholars do not accrue vacation but are eligible for 24 days of paid personal time-off per one-year appointment period. These days do not carry over upon reappointment nor require payout when the appointment ends. See Article 17 of the Contract.
Appointment Letters and Forms
All Postdoctoral Scholars MUST have an appointment letter with a copy of the 2018 benefit contribution rates table or the 2019 benefit contribution rates table attached to the letter and a completed Graduate Division Postdoctoral Scholar Form. Copies of both must be filed in the Graduate Division once the Postdoctoral Scholar has signed. College Deans must approve before the letter is sent and the appointment is made.
All Postdoctoral Scholars MUST have a reappointment letter with the 2018 benefits contribution rates table or the 2019 benefit contribution rates table attached to the letter. A Progress Assessment must be done annually. This is an evaluation of the Postdoctoral Scholar's progress and accomplishment in research and professional development. There is a sample Postdoc Performance Appraisal Form that may be used.
Five Year Limitation
Postdoctoral Scholars may not work for more than five years at any university; time spent as a postdoc at other universities prior to coming to UCR counts against that time.
What’s the postdoc community like at UCR?
Over 200 postdocs make up the community at UCR. Every UCR postdoc is automatically a member of the Riverside Postdoctoral Association (RPA). The RPA organizes the monthly Science and Happy Hours, an informal talk from one of our postdoc members followed by snacks and drinks. The RPA also organizes a more formal postdoc symposium to showcase the research being done by postdocs at UCR.
Contact email@example.com for additional Information and to get involved with the RPA.
What’s Riverside like?
Riverside has many fun restaurants, bars, and museums within walking distance of the campus. Hiking trails are also a popular activity in the Box Spring Mountains and Sycamore Canyon. It can get pretty hot in the summer, but the temperature is mild for most of the rest of the year. From Riverside, you can get to LA, the beach, the mountains, or the desert in about an hour’s drive.
Where should I live?
There are many housing opportunities near UCR campus, both in apartment complexes and in houses. Just east of campus is a quiet and residential area. South of campus is near the Canyon Crest shopping center. North of campus has many apartment complexes and is popular with undergraduates. Downtown Riverside is to the west and is just a short drive or bus ride from campus.
Tip - Although most places are rented unfurnished, several companies will rent furniture (sometimes including the housing complex itself). Many landlords will ask for your Social Security Number (SSN).
Getting a Social Security Number (SSN)
In order to set up your computer accounts at UCR, you will likely need a SSN (the US identification number for tax and several other purposes). Acquiring one of these takes up to two weeks after filling out an application at the Social Security Office. There are two offices within short distance of UCR: 7880 Mission Grove Pkwy S., Riverside, CA and 22815 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley (be sure to check the locations as they may move offices). Generally, you only need the receipt to show proof of application for most UCR services, which can speed things up considerably.
Getting a bank account:
Opening a bank account in the US is relatively straightforward if you have a government issued ID (e.g. a passport), a US visa, and a contract (i.e. showing proof of income). Popular banks include:
-Bank of America (1680 University Ave)
-Chase (1299 University Ave)
Not all financial services will work the same way as in your home country. In particular, some services are still reliant upon checks and you may have to ask about getting a checkbook. The US is also quite reliant upon credit history, which for a foreigner may be absent (particularly if you are a resident of an EU country where data-protection laws prevent the sharing of your credit history with US banks). As such, you may be denied, or have an extremely low limit on your credit card.
Health Insurance / Which health insurance options should I choose?
The postdoc health insurance is provided by Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. You have 31 days from your date of hire to sign up for health insurance. Be sure to sign up on the Garnett-Powers web site as the atyourservice.ucop.edu does not work for UCR. More information about the health insurance plans can be found at: https://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/uc/. Services in the US require the user to possess some form of health insurance. Your choice of providers will depend on your needs: if you need a specific doctor or if you are okay with the doctors on the provider’s list and the amount of any deductible (contribution the user must pay for a treatment). We suggest you take advice from your colleagues. As a last resort, it may be worth showing your US visa, as in the case of a J-1 visa, it was a condition for your entry into the US that your employer (e.g. UCR) has arranged health coverage for you.
Getting a mobile/cell phone
US networks offer a fluctuating number of services involving calls, SMS, and data. In addition to main carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint), there are often local carriers which re-sell network space, often at significant discounts (although almost always with more restrictive terms), and sometimes with more restrictive regional coverage.
Tip - If you bring your own phone to the US you may be able to reduce your costs by purchasing a U.S. SIM card. You will likely need an unlocked GSM phone and will have to check that your carrier allows unlocked GSM phones on their networks (currently AT&T but not Verizon and Sprint).
Although a large fraction of residents of Southern California use cars, public transport options exist. The main UCR campus is passed by bus service 1 (to downtown, every 15 min.) and 16 (every 20 min.). With a UCR card (visit UCR card services), you can use these and other Riverside busses for free.
Rail services depart from the Riverside Metrolink station (near downtown), which is served by Amtrak and Metrolink services to many destinations, though the most popular is Los Angeles downtown (around 1 hour 40 minutes). See
Are there teaching opportunities for postdocs at UCR?
Postdocs can apply for teaching positions during UCR’s Summer Session. Keep an eye out for emails from your department if you’re interested in these teaching opportunities.
Is the Postdoc Association the same as the Union?
No, the Postdoc Association and the Union are separate organizations. Here’s a link for more information on the Union: http://uaw5810.org/.
How long after I separate from the University do I have access to my UCR email account?
Employees and non-Academic Senate Faculty who leave the university in good standing can access their e-mail for 30 days after their separation date.
Who do I contact about visa issues?
The International Scholars Office will help with any visa questions you may have. Contact information can be found on their web site at http://internationalscholars.ucr.edu/about/contact.html
Disclaimer: The advice presented here is solely the opinion of the authors and is intended only as a collection of tips. The RPA admits no responsibility for errors due to incorrect or out-of-date information and is in no-way responsible for services provided by any of the external parties mentioned above.
Fellowship Opportunities for Postdoctoral Scholars