SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

September 2016 Competition

Value $40,500 per year
Duration 12 to 24 months
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
September 21, 2016
Results announced February 2017
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 of 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 2017 and January 2018.



Subject matter

Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. 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 2014 (date all degree requirements were completed, not the date of graduation), or have completed a first doctorate no earlier than September 2011, but have since 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 2016-17 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 with a 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:

  • engage in full-time postdoctoral research for the period of the award; and
  • have completed all requirements for their doctoral degree before taking up the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Applicants who do not complete all requirements for their doctoral degree by December 31, 2017, 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).

For other requirements, please consult the Award Holder’s Guide.


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.


  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure all required application components (including all attachments and letters) have been submitted.
  • Under no circumstances will any applications be accepted after the deadline.


Evaluation and Adjudication

SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Aboriginal Research are relevant for researchers (applicants and project directors) and students preparing SSHRC applications related to Aboriginal research. SSHRC provides these guidelines to merit reviewers to help build general understanding of Aboriginal research and research-related activities, and to assist committee members in interpreting SSHRC’s specific Challenge, Feasibility and Capability evaluation criteria in the context of Aboriginal research. SSHRC relies on a community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Aboriginal research to judge the extent to which the guidelines may be applied to a particular research proposal. The guidelines may also be of use to external assessors, postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Aboriginal research.

Competition Process

Step 1: On or before the deadline, 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 weighted score for each of the three criteria listed above, based on the following scoring table, and rank the applications within a given committee. To be considered for funding, applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria. The scores assigned to each application indicate the relative standing of an application within a given committee.

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 considered for funding


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

All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their applications:

Aboriginal applicants and Aboriginal research

SSHRC is implementing several pilot measures intended to support research by and with Aboriginal Peoples. These are aimed at supporting graduate students or postdoctoral researchers applying for, respectively, SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships, Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarships or SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships. The pilot measures include:

  • an opportunity for applicants to self-identify as Aboriginal, allowing SSHRC to track and assess participation and success rates for First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other Indigenous doctoral and postdoctoral applicants (note: this information is not used in the adjudication process);
  • an opportunity to identify a proposed program of study as Aboriginal research, such that SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Aboriginal Research will apply; and
  • an opportunity to identify and detail additional special circumstances that might impact the academic careers of some Aboriginal applicants.

To learn more, please consult Aboriginal Talent Measures.

SSHRC welcomes feedback and questions on any or all of these pilot measures.

For more information about the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships funding opportunity, please visit the Resource Centre.


Contact Information

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