SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

September 2017 Competition

Value $40,500 per year
Duration 12 or 24 months
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
September 20, 2017
Results announced February 2018
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 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 Fellowship proposals are expected to respond to the objectives of the Talent program.

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 grant 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. Summary reports related to the Knowledge Synthesis Grants for each future challenge area have identified possible gaps in current knowledge, which applicants may wish to further explore. While this is not an evaluation criterion for merit review, SSHRC monitors research capacity in these areas, and develops and implements strategies and knowledge mobilization activities, 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 12 or 24 months. The award may begin on the first of any month between May 2018 and January 2019.



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 in a book or manuscript, 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);
  • not hold a permanent faculty position, or a faculty position leading to permanency;
  • 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 2017-18 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.

Eligibility Window

Date of Completion of Doctorate* Eligibility Status

In progress


September 2015 or later


Between September 2012 and September 2015


Only with declaration of relevant career interruptions and/or delays in Allowable Inclusions

Prior to September 2012

Not eligible

* Date all degree requirements were completed, not the date of graduation.

Career Interruptions and/or Delays

SSHRC asks its adjudication committees to take into consideration special circumstances that may have affected candidates’ research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances might include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, or health-related family responsibilities.

Applicants who completed their doctorate between September 2012 and September 2015 must describe the career interruptions and/or delays experienced since completion of their doctorate, in the Allowable Inclusions section of the Application.

Applicants who completed their doctorate after September 2015 may also describe relevant career interruptions or delays should they wish to do so.

Dates of delays and interruptions should be provided.

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.

Foreign Tenure

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;
  • have completed all requirements for their doctoral degree before taking up the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship; and
  • not hold a permanent faculty position, or a faculty position leading to permanency.

Applicants who do not complete all requirements for their doctoral degree by December 31, 2018, 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 require prior approval from SSHRC to be eligible to hold a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. Supporting documentation from the employer may be required. For other requirements, please consult the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.


Application Process

Before submitting their application, applicants must ensure that they meet the requirements specified under Eligibility. 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 (two letters of appraisal, Research Appraisal form, Institutional Nomination and Commitment form, and all attachments) have been submitted.
  • Under no circumstances will any applications be accepted after the deadline.


Evaluation and Adjudication

Applications are adjudicated, and available funds are awarded, through a merit review process. SSHRC makes funding decisions based on the recommendations of the adjudication committees and on the funds available.

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 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. Concerted efforts will be made by SSHRC to include experts in Aboriginal research in the doctoral and postdoctoral adjudication committees. 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



Below 3

Not considered for funding


Regulations, Policies and Related Information

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications, 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 Tri-Agency Research Training 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 has implemented 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, Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarships, SSHRC Doctoral 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