| 1. Appointment / Reappointment Process
- Appointment/ Reappointment Process: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship appointments will be for a period of one year or less. The appointment may be renewed for a subsequent year by the LRI Department Chair and LRI Director of Research Education, upon recommendation by the Faculty Mentor. The Fellow will receive frequent and constructive feedback on performance from the Faculty Mentor during the first year of training. The Fellow will be informed whether or not there will be a reappointment by the end of the ninth month of the current appointment / reappointment period. The Postdoctoral Fellow Individual Development Plan (IDP) will be used by both the Fellow and the Faculty Mentor to discuss development and performance and must accompany the reappointment request submitted to the LRI Research Education Office (REO). The IDP will be completed by both parties by the ninth month of the yearly appointment / reappointment period.
- Unsatisfactory Performance: If, at any time during the appointment / reappointment period, the Faculty Mentor considers the performance of the Fellow unsatisfactory, the Faculty Mentor will provide the Fellow with a written summary of the deficiencies and a time line within which the deficiencies should be corrected. Reappointment may be made contingent upon correction of deficiencies in performance. Disagreements between the Faculty Mentor and the Postdoctoral Research Fellow regarding evaluation can be discussed in a meeting initiated by the Fellow with the Department Chair. Requests for such a meeting with the Department Chair must be made in writing and delivered by the Fellow within 15 days of receipt of the relevant written summary of the Fellow’s performance by the Faculty Mentor. Decisions to not reappoint may not be appealed.
- Transfer of Appointment: Postdoctoral Research Fellows have the status of research trainee and must first consult with the Director of Research Education before requesting a transfer to another laboratory within the first year of appointment. At the time of transfer, and for the subsequent year, the new Fellow will not be eligible for promotion or salary increase. After the initial appointment year, a Fellow must notify the Faculty Mentor, the Department Administrator and the
Director of Research Education 4 weeks prior to transferring to another laboratory within the LRI. The Research Education Office will be notified by the Department Administrator of the transfer through the on-line system. The new Faculty Mentor will contact the former Faculty Mentor for an Internal Reference Check prior to the submission of the reappointment request. Exceptions to these policies may be made when both former and new Faculty Mentors are in agreement.
| 2. Termination and Appeal Process
- Noteworthy Unsatisfactory, Disruptive or Inappropriate Conduct: Whenever a Postdoctoral Research Fellow’s conduct, with respect to any element of his/her skills, duties or responsibilities, is determined by the Faculty Mentor to be significantly unsatisfactory, disruptive or inappropriate, the Faculty Mentor, Department Administrator or Director of Research Education will meet with the Fellow to discuss the noteworthy conduct and immediate correction. If the Fellow’s conduct does not improve immediately, the Faculty Mentor will provide a written description of the conduct and warning for immediate correction. If the Fellow’s conduct does not improve immediately following the written warning, the Fellow can be terminated from the Cleveland Clinic as described in Section III B. The conduct referred to in this section includes behavior that is considered adverse to the general philosophy of Cleveland Clinic, including but not limited to sexual harassment, smoking, noncompliance with federal regulations and Cleveland Clinic policies applicable to all employees, and noncompliance with state and local laws.
- Termination of Appointment: It is important to note that a Postdoctoral Research Fellow can be terminated from the Cleveland Clinic without prior warning for serious violations of ethical or legal standards of conduct such as unsafe laboratory practices, scientific and credential fraud, misconduct as described in Section III A. and/or noncompliance with department, division, Cleveland Clinic employee or government requirements. The Director of Research Education will be notified and may be present in the event that the decision has been made to dismiss a Fellow during an appointment period as a result of such violations. The Faculty Mentor and Department Chair or his/her designate will inform the Fellow of the dismissal and the general nature of the grounds for dismissal.
- Appeal Process: Decisions to not reappoint may not be appealed, but other matters that cannot be resolved with the Faculty Mentor may be appealed by the Fellow and can be discussed in a meeting initiated by the Fellow with the Department Chair. Requests for such a meeting with the Department Chair must be made in writing and delivered by the Fellow within 15 days of receipt of the relevant performance or conduct notice from the Faculty Mentor. Matters that cannot be resolved at the Department level may be appealed by the Fellow in writing within 7 days of the meeting with the Department Chair to the Chair of the Lerner Research Institute or his/her designate, who will form a committee consisting of at least two Faculty Mentors and one Postdoctoral Research Fellow to make a recommendation to the Chair of the LRI. At any stage in this process, the Fellow may be represented by a member of the Research Faculty and have the right of direct appeal to the Chair of the LRI. The decision of the Chair of the LRI will be final.
These Policies and Procedures are intended to provide general guidelines and procedures for the appointment, promotion, and termination of Postdoctoral Research Fellows. Notwithstanding, the Cleveland Clinic reserves the right to discipline, demote, or discharge without regard to these Policies and Procedures.
| 3. Ethical Conduct of Research
- General Statement: It is the desire of the Cleveland Clinic to uphold the highest principles of scientific integrity and to protect against scientific fraud or misconduct. Guidelines for the ethical conduct of research and the publication of experimental results are provided for Postdoctoral Research Fellows in a mandatory Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) course taken on-line www.citiprogram.org through Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program to be taken within 3 months of the Fellow’s start date. Additionally, Fellows supported by NIH T32 or F32 grants must also participate in Responsible Conduct in Research Workshops conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Compliance Office. Guidelines for investigating scientific misconduct and the guidelines for manuscripts and books are set forth in the Major Policies for the Professional Staff http://portals.ccf.org/opsa/. Postdoctoral Research Fellows will follow these guidelines during postdoctoral training.
- Scientific Misconduct: Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting or reporting research. Misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretation or judgments of data. Inherent in these procedures is the recognition by the Clinic that all individuals will receive the protection of due process and the avoidance of conflict of interest. It is recognized that allegations concerning misconduct vary from the trivial to the serious and that evidence may also vary from weak to compelling. For these reasons, the exercise of discretion and good judgment by individuals concerned with this process is of paramount importance and these considerations should have a bearing on the degree to which steps described in the Major Policies for the Professional Staff might be applied.
| 4. Professional Development
- Guidance by the Faculty Mentor: Postdoctoral Research Fellows are typically in training for potential independent research careers. Faculty Mentors should facilitate this training by actively mentoring Fellows in the design and interpretation of experiments and in the development of long-range experimental strategies. Fellows should be challenged to critically evaluate the current literature in their fields and to continuously consider new ideas and discoveries that relate to their work. Skill in effective scientific communication, both written and oral, should be fostered. In particular, Fellows should be encouraged to present their findings at external scientific meetings. Departments should facilitate achievement of these training goals through departmental seminars and journal clubs in which Fellows receive timely and constructive feedback on their presentations.
- Programs of the Research Education Office: The Research Education Office (REO) (216-445-6690) provides each new Postdoctoral Research Fellow with access to the â€œPolicies and Procedures for Postdoctoral Fellowsâ€ to use as a manual for professional development. Upon arrival, each new Fellow must attend a mandatory Research Orientation in the REO and is given an orientation handbook developed by the REO with useful information about the Cleveland Clinic, the Lerner Research Institute and the LRI Postdoctoral Fellow Research Training Program. The REO schedules the appointment in GME for pay and benefits processing following the Research Orientation. The REO provides a monthly Career Development Seminar Series to help Fellows prepare for the next professional level in addition to individualized guidance with respect to developing curriculum vitae and the interview process. Upon completion of the postdoctoral fellowship, each Fellow is provided with guidance during the exit process where forwarding information is collected. All Fellows are given the opportunity to evaluate the training program and are encouraged to maintain contact with the REO as they progress in their careers after leaving the LRI.
- English Proficiency: English is the most commonly used language in Science. Proficiency in oral and written English is, therefore, important in career advancement. In addition, effective communication is essential to laboratory safety and daily scientific exchange. On-going improvement in English communication is expected. Oral and written communication in the laboratory and written entries into the laboratory notebook should always be in English.
- Promotion Criteria: The following criteria are guidelines for promotion of the
Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the LRI to the Junior Faculty position, Research Associate.
- Endorsement by Faculty Mentor for promotion to Research Associate.
- At least three years in postdoctoral research training including one year within the
laboratory of the Faculty Mentor.
- At least two first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals from work done
during the postdoctoral research training period.
- A majority of Assistant, Associate and Full Faculty within the Department must
approve the performance of the candidate in the Departmental Promotion Seminar.
The seminar must be advertised as a promotion seminar in advance.
- Department-specific criteria may apply.
| 5. Approved Leaves of Absence
- Vacation Time: Each Postdoctoral Research Fellow is generally entitled to three weeks (15 working days) vacation prorated to the entire fellowship year exclusive of the seven scheduled Cleveland Clinic holidays. Thus, a Fellow in the eighth month of the appointment / reappointment period or appointed / reappointed for 8 months or would be entitled to 10 vacation days. Postdoctoral Research Fellows are not hourly employees. Therefore, working during weekend days does not result in the accrual of vacation time. However, vacation time is a matter between the Faculty Mentor and the Fellow and can be negotiated accordingly. Vacation time must be approved in advance by the Faculty Mentor and must be scheduled to avoid conflict with the research project. The Fellow should request vacation time at least 2 weeks in advance. Exceptions can be made for emergencies with approval of the Faculty Mentor. Vacation time of LRI Postdoctoral Research Fellows is recorded by some LRI Departments but is not recorded by the REO or GME.
- Maternity / Paternity Leave: Postdoctoral Research Fellows may take up to six weeks of paid maternity leave when a child is born or adopted and eight weeks when a child is born by caesarian section. Up to two weeks of paternity leave may be taken within the first three months following the birth or adoption of a child. The Fellow must notify the Department Administrator at the onset of maternity / paternity leave or as soon as possible after the birth of the baby to receive pay. The Faculty Mentor must be informed at least 90 days before maternity / paternity leave to make necessary arrangements for the laboratory.
- Family Leave: Pursuant to The Family Leave Act of 1993, the Cleveland Clinic offers individuals who have been employed for at least one year, having worked at least 1250 hours in the preceding 12 months, unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks per year. Family leave may be taken at the time of the birth of a child; the placement of a child for adoption or foster care; to care for a child, spouse or parent who has a serious health condition; or if the Fellow is unable to perform the functions of the position because of serious health condition. Family leave will be reduced by the number of weeks taken for maternity/paternity leave. All pertinent policies, procedures and forms must be completed. The Department Administrator will provide this information and / or assistance. The Faculty Mentor must be notified no less than 90 days prior to any planned leave of absence.
- Medical Illness/Injury: In the event that a Postdoctoral Research Fellow is unable to carry out duties and responsibilities in the laboratory due to serious illness or injury, salary and benefits will continue for the period the Fellow is unable to work or for 3 months, whichever is less, during the illness or immediately following the injury, in accordance with the Policy for Extended Medical Leave of Postdoctoral Research Fellows. The Fellow will be required to utilize all unused vacation days at the onset of the approved leave period. The treating physician must provide written verification to the Department Administrator within 1 week of onset of illness or accident as verification that the Fellow is temporarily unable to work. The Department Administrator will then notify the REO through the on-line appointment database. The REO will forward this information to GME.
All maternity, paternity and family or extended medical leave must be reported to the REO by the Department Administrator through the on-line appointment system. The REO will forward this information to GME.
- Outside Activities: Postdoctoral Research Fellows are expected to devote full attention to research duties in the laboratory during the normal workday. Outside employment or activities that would interfere with these duties are not permitted. However, the importance of professional development during the course of postdoctoral research training may be recognized and exceptions may be made. For example, a Fellow may request to participate in professional teaching opportunities during the normal workday. A description of the activity and time away during the normal workday must be submitted, in writing, and approved by the Faculty Mentor prior to beginning the professional development activity.
| 6. Health Care / Retirement Benefits
The Cleveland Clinic will provide Postdoctoral Research Fellows with the opportunity to elect coverage under a comprehensive health plan for themselves and their eligible dependents (spouse and / or children). A detailed description of these benefits is provided at this website: www.lerner.ccf.org/education/postdoc Fellows and eligible dependents are covered as of your actual start date. All appropriate forms must be completed on-line within 31 days from your actual start date. After 31 days, coverage will be denied. With proof of good health, the next available time to join the plan will be during the next annual enrollment period. If coverage is granted, it will be effective the date the health evaluation is approved. Similarly, all changes or additions to coverage (due, for example, to marriage, birth or adoption of a child, divorce etc. must be made within 31 days of the event. Contact the Benefits Customer Service Center (1-866-811-4352) for more information.
In addition, Postdoctoral Research Fellows may contribute to a non-matched retirement 403b plan. You will be automatically enrolled for this contribution unless you opt out within the first 30 days of your actual start date. More information regarding these benefits will be provided by Graduate Medical Education upon your arrival.
| 7. Professional Travel Support
All professional travel related to the research of the laboratory of the Faculty Mentor must be approved by the Faculty Mentor prior to registration for meeting attendance. The funding for professional travel must be provided by the Department, Faculty Mentor or Postdoctoral Research Fellow (example: travel awards from the organization sponsoring the scientific meeting).
| 8. Safety / Regulatory Training
- General Statement: The personal safety and health of all personnel and visitors is a primary concern of the Cleveland Clinic. It is the Cleveland Clinic policy to maintain a safety program conforming to all applicable local, state and federal safety and health standards, fire codes, and environmental regulations. Since these regulations only define minimum requirements, it is the position of the Clinic that every effort will be made to exceed them whenever practical. The Clinic has established a specific policy, which is described in detail in the Cleveland Clinic HR Enterprise-wide Polices and Main Campus Policies available from your Department Administrator or LRI HR Business Partner, to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard (29CFR 1910.1200) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the City of Cleveland’s Hazardous Chemical Right-to-Know Code.
- Safety Training: In order to achieve a safe workplace and meet regulatory requirements, initial training requirements exist for workers in the Lerner Research Institute. These currently include training in the use and disposal of radioactive materials, the safe handling and disposal of laboratory materials (including compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Administration guidelines, (OSHA), the proper care of laboratory animals and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance. This is not a comprehensive list and not all of these training sessions may apply to the Fellow. Radiation Safety training sessions are available weekly and the majority of the regulatory training and required annual retraining is available on-line and through COMET at http://intranet.cchs.net/onlinelearning/ Other training may be required as a result of the nature of the research. Prior to working in the laboratory, additional training requirements will be explained by the Faculty Mentor, Laboratory Manager or Department Laboratory Safety Officer.
- Laboratory Regulations and Inspections: Compliance with regulatory requirements regarding the handling of laboratory materials and reagents in the interest of safety is a vital part of the duties of all laboratory personnel. Failure to comply with regulations can create severe consequences for all research personnel and activity in the LRI and the Clinic. For example, serious violations of the regulations governing the use of radioactive materials including the presence of food and beverages in or near the laboratories using radioactive materials could result in the entire Cleveland Clinic losing the license to work with such materials. Cleveland Clinic Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) inspectors make unannounced visits to the LRI laboratories and have provided a check list for laboratory inspection available in each LRI lab and on-line http://intranet.lerner.ccf.org/compliance/labinfo that includes prohibiting food and beverages in or near the labs regardless of the presence of radioactive material. Thus, any failure to comply with laboratory safety practices and relevant regulatory requirements is considered a serious matter. Repeated or egregious violations are cause for immediate dismissal from the Cleveland Clinic.
- Patient Contact Requirements: Postdoctoral Research Fellows, even those with M.D. degrees, cannot have patient contact except in the following circumstances recognized and approved by Graduate Medical Education (GME):
(1) When conducting research interviews of patients or human subjects
(2) When conducting chart reviews of patient medical records
Postdoctoral Research Fellows, even those with M.D. degrees, cannot engage in the practice of medicine, unless they have a currently valid training certificate issued by the State of Ohio Medical Board and have approval from the GME Office.
| 9. Reporting Occupational Injury / Illness
Prompt and accurate reporting of work-related accidents is imperative for the protection of all personnel at the Cleveland Clinic. A work-related accident is defined as an event that occurs during work-related activities and results in a work-related injury or illness. Any such accident should be
reported to your supervisor and Department Administrator and documented within the Safety Event Reporting System (SERS) as soon as practicable, however, no later than twenty-four hours from the time of the event. The SERS system can be found on-line at http://portals.ccf.org/sers/HospitalSelection/tabid/10428/Default.aspx. For individuals who sustain needle sticks, sharp injuries or exposures to blood/body fluids, contact the Exposure Hotline at 216-445-0742 and visit the Infection Control Website at http://portals.ccf.org/occupationalhealth/PostExposure/tabid/3985/Default.aspx, in addition to filing a SERS report.
| 10. Cleveland Clinic Policies and Procedures
- Ownership of Research Results and Materials
- Invention and Discovery
- Confidentiality and Information Security
- Sexual Harassment
- Controlled Substance and Alcohol
- Identification Badges
- Campus Safety and Security
Except as referenced in these Policies and Procedures for Postdoctoral Research Fellows (www.lerner.ccf.org/education/postdoc/policies/index.php), Postdoctoral Research Fellows within the Lerner Research Institute are governed by the Cleveland Clinic HR Enterprise-wide Polices and Main Campus Policies available from your Department Administrator or LRI HR Business Partner and the “Inventions and Discovery Policy”, the “Property and Funds Policy” and the “Conflict of Interest Policy” as described in the Major Policies for the Professional Staff (http://intranet.ccf.org/opsa/) These policies can be viewed on-line and are subject to change at any time without notice.
- Ownership of Research Results and Materials: Postdoctoral Research Fellows are reminded that all data and associated research materials that they generate (including, but not limited to, notebooks, computer records, microscope slides, etc.) during the LRI appointment / reappointment period are the sole property of the Cleveland Clinic. Therefore, these materials will be produced whenever requested by the Faculty Mentor or the Department Chair. Copies of the original research records may be taken with the prior written approval of the Faculty Mentor when a Fellow leaves the laboratory, the LRI or the Cleveland Clinic. Approval will not be arbitrarily withheld if such records do not contain any proprietary or confidential information of the Clinic. Any controversy over the holding or use of research records is to be resolved by the Department Chair.
- Invention and Discovery: As a condition of their affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic, Postdoctoral Research Fellows agree to: (a) assign to the Cleveland Clinic all rights, title and interest in improvements, discoveries, ideas and innovations arising out of their professional activities while affiliated with the Clinic; (b) communicate with the Cleveland Clinic Innovations Office http://innovations.clevelandclinic.org/ on matters relating to technology development, innovation and commercialization and cooperate with Innovations Office in all commercialization efforts. Complete descriptions of invention and discovery policies may be obtained on-line http://innovations.clevelandclinic.org/PDFs/ip_policy.aspx
- Confidentiality and Information Security:
As stated in the Cleveland Clinic HR Enterprise-wide Polices and Main Campus Policies available from your Department Administrator or LRI HR Business Partner and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Postdoctoral Research Fellows are expected to maintain the confidentiality of privileged information of the Cleveland Clinic to which they may have access during the course of their fellowships. In addition, Cleveland Clinic resources, including its computer systems, must be used solely for the conduct of Cleveland Clinic business.
- Sexual Harassment – Free Work Environment: The Cleveland Clinic is committed to providing an environment that is free from any form of harassment, including sexual harassment. As stated in the Cleveland Clinic HR Enterprise-wide Polices and Main Campus Policies available from your Department Administrator or LRI HR Business Partner, all managers are held accountable for the effective administration of this policy for maintaining an environment free from sexual harassment. Postdoctoral Research Fellows who have a concern regarding sexual harassment may discuss the
issue in guaranteed confidence with the Director of Research Education (216-444-4860). No employee will suffer any form of reprisal, nor will he/she be discriminated against or penalized for having reported sexual harassment.
- Smoke – Free Work Environment: The Cleveland Clinic has a strong commitment to promote good health for all of patients and personnel. To keep the environment smoke-free, there is no smoking in the buildings or on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic as stated in the Cleveland Clinic HR Enterprise-wide Polices and Main Campus Policies available from your Department Administrator or LRI HR Business Partner.
- Controlled Substance / Alcohol – Free Work Environment: The Cleveland Clinic is committed to providing a drug- and alcohol-free work environment. The Cleveland Clinic will not tolerate the unlawful or unauthorized use, manufacture, possession, sale or transfer of illegal or controlled substances or the abuse or unauthorized use of alcohol on or around Cleveland Clinic property. The substance abuse applies to all Cleveland Clinic personnel as stated in the Cleveland Clinic HR Enterprise-wide Polices and Main Campus Policies available from your Department Administrator or LRI HR Business Partner.
- Identification Badges: Each LRI Postdoctoral Research Fellow is provided with an identification (ID) badge to access secured LRI research areas. In addition, Cleveland Clinic policy requires that badges be worn at all times on the Cleveland Clinic campus. ID badges will be coded to provide access to the assigned parking facility and access to buildings and departments with proper authorization. In order to help provide a secure environment for the research community, you may be asked to present your ID badge at any time. ID badges must be worn to receive the employee discount in Cleveland Clinic dining facilities, the Gift Shop and Cleveland Clinic pharmacies. Lost ID badges must be reported to the ID Badge Department (216-444-1208) as soon as possible. A fee is required for the replacement badge (fee will be refunded if the lost badge is found).
- Campus Safety and Security: Fellows working late can contact the Cleveland Clinic Police (216-444-2250) to be escorted safely to the assigned parking location. Emergency intercoms are located throughout the campus and are easily identified by illuminated “blue lights”. Pushing the button once will connect directly to the Cleveland Clinic Police Department and alert them to the locations for an immediate response. Uses include reporting a crime, suspicious persons, property lost, found, or stolen and car trouble such as a dead battery, “free” jump-start or keys locked in the car.
| 11.Exit Process
- Mandatory Departure / Promotion Notification: The Fellow’s Department Administrator and the Research Education Office must be notified when a Postdoctoral Research Fellow completes a research training fellowship or leaves the Cleveland Clinic for any reason. The Fellow must provide a letter of resignation to the Faculty Mentor, Department Administrator and the Director of Research Education with at least 4 weeks notice prior to leaving the Clinic, or notify the Faculty Mentor during the ninth month evaluation, if possible. All intellectual property (original laboratory notebooks and experimental data, hard copy and electronic) generated by the Fellow must be returned to the Faculty Mentor prior to departure. The Fellow cannot remove copies of experimental material or data (hard copy or electronic) from the laboratory at the time of departure without written permission of the Faculty Mentor. The final exit / termination procedure includes scheduling a mandatory exit interview with the Director of Research Education (216-445-6690) at least 10 days prior to departure, return of all Clinic property including intellectual property and providing a valid forwarding address to the Research Education Office and Graduate Medical Education. The final paycheck will be mailed to the forwarding address provided all the requirements of the exit process
have been met. All LRI Postdoctoral Research Fellows who have been promoted to Research Associate must complete a promotion interview with the Director of Research Education.
- Faculty Mentor Termination: In the event that the Faculty Mentor decides to terminate his / her own appointment with the Cleveland Clinic, or the Faculty Mentor’s appointment is terminated by the Cleveland Clinic, all Postdoctoral Research Fellows in the laboratory of this Faculty Mentor will be given at least 4 weeks notice, in writing. Every effort will be made by the Faculty Mentor to give more notice, if possible. The Faculty Mentor will make every effort to inform all Fellows in his/her lab, in a timely manner, of the status of grant funding and the possibility of interim funding. While not guaranteed, the Department administration and the Research Education Office will aid in the search for another position within the institution, if available and desired by the Fellow.
- Withholding of Fellow’s Stipend: The Cleveland Clinic reserves the right to withhold part of a Postdoctoral Research Fellow’s stipend, as recompense for:
- Any loss of or destruction to Cleveland Clinic property including intellectual property
(hard copy or electronic data and/or lab notebooks), lab equipment, supplies and
reagents, library books, etc.
- As an inducement for the Fellow to complete any delinquent professional or
administrative responsibilities/requirements such as an inventory of intellectual
property, and useable reagents and completion of manuscript drafts in progress
provided that the required experiments have been completed.
- Debts incurred to the Cleveland Clinic or its subsidiaries.
- Violation of Cleveland Clinic parking regulations.