I am pleased to announce that the Oregon State Legislature has passed Senate Bill 214, a law that will make it easier for us to recruit postdoctoral scholars and bring in more federal funding. The law, which goes into effect January 1, 2018, will exempt postdoctoral scholars from the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and provide them with an alternative retirement plan. The law will apply to research postdocs who are grant-funded and begin their employment on or after January 1. It creates an alternative retirement plan that will allow postdocs to receive up to a 4% university salary match on retirement contributions they make. In the coming months, we will provide details on program implementation, including a new blended other payroll expenses (OPE) rate for these positions and information on exactly what kinds of postdoc positions will be PERS-exempt.
The bill’s passage was a truly collaborative effort involving the UO, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and Oregon Health & Science University. Our UO team led the way for the rest of the state in the multi-year effort of passing this legislation. Cass Moseley, senior associate vice president for research and innovation, deserves a special note of thanks for her role in getting this initiative off the ground. I would particularly like to thank United Academics and the UO Postdoc Association, who worked actively to support this bill, providing letters of support and public testimony in favor of this bill. The passage of this bill would also not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Hans Bernard and Libby Batlan in our Office of Government & Community Relations. Their work serves the larger goals of the UO and supports President Schill’s priorities of increasing academic excellence and research productivity.
We know the passage of this bill will benefit our research enterprise in numerous ways — prompting everything from a reduction in fringe benefit rates to increased competitiveness in recruiting postdocs. Many of the specifics will be determined in the months ahead and we ask that you stay tuned for additional details. In the meantime, if you have questions about this new bill, please contact Cass Moseley at email@example.com or (541) 346-2090.
David O. Conover, PhD
Vice President for Research and Innovation
Professor of Biology
1266 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1266