SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

September 2015 Competition

Value $40,500 per year
Duration 12 to 24 months
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
September 23, 2015
Results announced February 2016
Apply Web CV, application and instructions

* Note: If a deadline falls on a weekend or a Canadian public holiday, the online application system will remain open until 8 p.m. (eastern time) on the next business day.

Future Challenge Areas
Value and Duration
Application Process
Evaluation and Adjudication
Regulations Policies and Related Information
Contact Information



SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships proposals are expected to respond to the objectives put forward in the call for proposals for the  Talent program.

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships support the most promising Canadian new scholars in the social sciences and humanities and assist them in establishing a research base at an important time in their research careers.

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships provide stipendiary support to recent PhD graduates who are:

  • undertaking original research;
  • publishing research findings;
  • developing and expanding personal research networks;
  • broadening their teaching experience;
  • preparing for research-intensive careers within and beyond academia; and
  • preparing to become competitive in national research grants competitions.

Fellowships will normally be awarded to candidates affiliated with a university other than that which awarded the PhD. SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship awards are tenable at Canadian or foreign universities and research institutions.

SSHRC welcomes applications involving Aboriginal research, as well as those involving research-creation.

For a complete list of other SSHRC funding opportunities that may be of interest to postdoctoral researchers, please use the Funding search tool and select “Postdoctoral researchers” as the type of applicant.


Future Challenge Areas

SSHRC invites all applicants to review Imagining Canada’s Future’s six future challenge areas and subquestions, and to consider addressing one or more of these areas in their research proposal. While this is not an evaluation criterion for merit review, research that addresses one or more of the future challenge areas further positions the value of the social sciences and humanities to meet Canada’s future, long-term societal challenges and opportunities.

SSHRC monitors research capacity in these areas, and develops and implements strategies and knowledge mobilization activities, including a series of Knowledge Synthesis Grants funding opportunities, to enhance the contribution of humanities and social sciences research across the six challenge areas.


Value and Duration

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships are valued at $40,500 per year. These are taxable, non-renewable fellowships, tenable for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 24 months. The award may begin on the first of any month between May 2016 and January 2017.



Subject matter

Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. Postdoctoral Fellowship proposals may involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. Please see Subject Matter Eligibility for more information.

Proposed research

The research proposed in a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship application must be significantly different and distinct from, or add significantly to, that related to the applicant’s doctoral thesis. Research programs proposing only the adaptation of doctoral theses for publication, the editing of textbooks, translation, or the acquisition of a foreign language are ineligible.


Eligibility to apply

To apply to this funding opportunity, the applicant must:

  • be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada (by the application deadline);
  • be a current doctoral student, or have earned a first doctorate from a recognized university no earlier than September 2013 (date all degree requirements were completed, not the date of graduation), or have completed a first doctorate no earlier than September 2010, but have had their career interrupted or delayed for the purpose of maternity, childrearing, illness, or health-related family responsibilities;
  • not hold a tenure or tenure-track faculty position;
  • have finalized arrangements for affiliation with a recognized university or research institution;
  • have applied not more than twice before to the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships funding opportunity;
  • not be applying in the 2015-16 academic year to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships Program or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellowship funding opportunity; and
  • not have already received a postdoctoral award (including a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship) from SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR.

Applicants who obtain their PhD from a foreign university are eligible to apply only if they wish to hold their award at a Canadian university.

Applicants are eligible to apply to hold their award at a foreign university only if their PhD was earned at a Canadian university.

Eligibility to hold a fellowship

To hold the award, applicants must:

  • have completed all requirements for their doctoral degree before taking up the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship;
  • engage in full-time postdoctoral research for the period of the award; and
  • not hold or have held a tenure or a tenure-track position or hold any other employment, with the exception of teaching the equivalent of one full course per year.

Applicants who do not complete all requirements for their doctoral degree by December 31, 2016, may have their offer of an award withdrawn. Note that withdrawn or declined awards will be included in the calculation of the three-application limit for this funding opportunity.

Federal government employees are eligible to hold a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship award only if they are on an unpaid leave of absence (no salary or special allowances permitted).


Application Process

Before submitting their application, applicants must ensure that they meet the requirements specified under Eligibility (above). Applicants must complete and submit only one application form, together with the CV and the required attachments. Instructions for filling out the application form and CV are available within the form used by applicants to create their online submission.


Evaluation and Adjudication

Competition Process

Step 1: On or before the deadline date, the applicant submits to SSHRC his or her completed application and supporting documents. Using SSHRC’s online application system, all referees and institutional nominators must also submit their supporting letters in advance of the deadline.

Step 2: SSHRC staff review all applications and forward eligible applications to the multidisciplinary selection committees.

Step 3: The multidisciplinary selection committees evaluate all eligible applications and make recommendations regarding funding. Committee recommendations are subject to approval by SSHRC.

Step 4: SSHRC informs all applicants of the outcome of their applications in February of each year, in writing. Results are not provided by telephone or email.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used by the multidisciplinary committees to evaluate SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (20%):

    • originality and potential significance of the proposed program of work.
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (30%):

    • feasibility of the proposed program of work;
    • appropriateness of the intended place of tenure; and
    • effectiveness of the overall support provided by the host institution for research training and career development.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (50%):

    • fellowships, scholarships or other awards obtained;   
    • previous research experience and/or publications; and
    • timely completion of doctoral studies, taking into account the nature of the program and any related personal circumstances that may have delayed the applicant’s academic career.

Scoring table

Committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria listed above, based on the following scoring table. The corresponding weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score. To be considered for funding, applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria.

Note: The subcriteria listed above are themselves not weighted, and, instead, represent factors that reviewers should consider in scoring the corresponding criteria.

Score Descriptor


Very good - excellent


Good - very good


Satisfactory - good

Below 3

Not recommended


Regulations, Policies and Related Information

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications it receives, based on the information therein. SSHRC also reserves the right to interpret the regulations governing its funding opportunities set out in its published materials.

All applicants and fellowship holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Fellowship and Scholarship Applications and with the regulations set out in the Award Holder's Guide.

Guidelines and related support material


Contact Information

For more information about the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships funding opportunity, please visit the Resource Centre. If you have additional questions, please contact:

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships
Research Training Portfolio
Tel.: 613-943-7777