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Application Instructions—SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

Documents to read before applying

We suggest that you print and consult this web document and Help with Online Forms for reference while you are completing your online application. You can also refer to this document by clicking “Instructions” at any time within a screen.

Application process and deadline


If you need help completing online application forms due to circumstances arising from a disability, contact your institution (scholarship liaison officer, research grant office or other applicant support office) as early in the application process as possible to investigate available supports. If your institution cannot provide help, or needs SSHRC to collaborate on a solution, contact SSHRC at You can also contact SSHRC if you have questions or are seeking specific adaptation arrangements. You do not need to share your medical or sensitive personal information, and, to protect your privacy, should avoid doing so.

Frequently requested accommodations include, but are not limited to:

Applicant responsibilities

Applicants must complete and verify the online SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships application form and their SSHRC web-based curriculum vitae (SSHRC web CV).

Applicants must click “Preview” and “Verify” for each page of their application as they complete it, and well ahead of the deadline. SSHRC’s online system will not accept applications that contain unverified sections. If applicants make changes to a page, they must click “Verify” again for that page to confirm that SSHRC’s online system will accept the new information when they submit their application. The criteria for final verification of the application as a whole can be stricter than for individual modules. Applicants might, therefore, need to adjust previously validated sections of the application. Note that validation confirms only that mandatory sections (including uploads and letters) have been completed; it does not validate application content.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to:

SSHRC’s online system will not accept incomplete applications.

The complete application, including the PDF attachments (uploads) and the SSHRC web CV, can be viewed and printed, but must be submitted electronically to SSHRC before 8 p.m. eastern, September 15, 2021. If a deadline falls on a weekend or a Canadian public holiday, the online application system will remain open until 8 p.m. (eastern) on the next business day.

After 8 p.m., the “Submit” button will disappear from an applicant’s portfolio, and no further changes or submissions will be possible.


  • SSHRC strongly encourages applicants to submit applications ahead of the deadline date. Typically, the online system handles a very high volume of users on the last day, which could create delays and put timely submission at risk.
  • Applicants requiring assistance while preparing their application are encouraged to communicate with SSHRC’s Research Training Portfolio at well in advance of the application deadline.
  • Under no circumstances will applications be accepted after the deadline.

Follow these steps:

  1. Complete the application and SSHRC online CV.
  2. Upload all mandatory PDF documents required for your application.
  3. Provide application contributors with your program of work and related documents well in advance of the application deadline.
  4. Ensure that all referees have completed the referee form (i.e., two Letter of Appraisal forms and Research Appraisal form), so that the status for the Referee module reads “Referee form completed.”
  5. Ensure the department head has read SSHRC’s Guidelines for Effective Research Training and completed the Institutional Nomination and Commitment form (status on Referee module reads “Referee form completed”).
  6. Verify and correct the data until the Verification Report indicates successful verification.
  7. Click “Submit.”

Note: Once the application has been submitted, its status will first be updated to “Received,” before being set to “Forwarded.” Both statuses confirm that the application has been properly submitted.

Attaching a document

Many modules in your application will require you to attach, or upload, a PDF document. You must follow the specified requirements for margins and for font and font size (Times New Roman 12-point) or your application will be deemed ineligible. Modules that exceed the stated maximum page counts will not be accepted. They will be removed from the application and will not be submitted to the selection committee for review.

Save the document as a PDF file (.pdf extension) or, if necessary, scan the document and save it as a PDF file. Locate the file on your computer by clicking “Browse,” and attach it to the application by clicking “Attach.” An error message will appear if the file you are trying to attach does not meet the required specifications for page length and page size. Once you have successfully attached the PDF file, we recommend you click “View attached file” to ensure you have attached the proper file and that it is not corrupted.

Acknowledgement of receipt of applications

After SSHRC receives your verified and completed application form, the data provided in your application and CVs are then transferred to SSHRC’s corporate database. SSHRC will acknowledge receipt of your electronic application form once it has been processed, and will assign you an application number. Cite this number in all correspondence with us.

The email acknowledging receipt will be sent to your primary email address as entered in the CV, and will arrive four-six weeks after the deadline date. If you do not receive an email from the Research Training Portfolio six weeks after the deadline date, contact us at

Application profile

Application title
Provide a short, descriptive title for your program of work in non-technical terms. Restrict use of acronyms (e.g., UN, NATO, etc.). Use upper case only for the first word of the title, proper nouns and acronyms. Your application title will automatically be included in the “Activity details” screen.

Preferred selection committee
Based on the subject and discipline(s) of your program of work, choose a committee using the “List…” button.

The disciplines represented by each committee are as follows:

Committee 1 (7561)

Fine arts, literature (all types)

Committee 2 (7562)

Classical archaeology, classics, classical and dead languages, history, mediaeval studies, philosophy, religious studies

Committee 3 (7563)

Anthropology, archaeology (except classical archaeology), criminology, folklore, sociology

Committee 4 (7564)

Education, linguistics, psychology, social work

Committee 5 (7565)

Economics, industrial relations, law, management, business, administrative studies, political science

Committee 6 (7566)

Archival science, communications and media studies, demography, environmental studies, geography, library and information science, urban and regional studies

If your main discipline is women’s studies, choose the committee based on the aspect of women’s studies you are working in. For example, if your research involves women’s literature, you should choose Committee 1.

If your main discipline is interdisciplinary studies, choose the committee based on the most prevalent discipline among those related to your research. Committee membership is composed of experts in the disciplines listed for each committee; however, SSHRC cannot guarantee expertise in each discipline listed. When selecting a committee, therefore, select the committee that lists areas most relevant to your research proposal and career trajectory. All decisions regarding committee selection rest with the applicant.

If you wish to be considered for a supplemental award and meet the eligibility criteria, select the supplement from the drop-down menu. For each supplement selected, provide a maximum one-page justification. Successful candidates will be notified.

Joint or special initiative
If you wish to be considered for a joint or special initiative, and meet the eligibility criteria, select the initiative from the drop-down menu. For each initiative selected, provide a maximum one-page justification or other required information or form, as applicable. Successful candidates will be notified.

Note: By indicating you wish to be considered for a supplement and/or a joint or special initiative, you are agreeing to have SSHRC share information with the partner organization.

Does your proposal involve Indigenous research, as defined by SSHRC?
The community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Indigenous research will judge the extent to which the guidelines can be applied to a particular research proposal or program of study or program of work. For more information, consult the Indigenous Talent Measures page.

Select “Yes” if you wish to signal to the selection committee that your application should be reviewed in the context of SSHRC’s definition of Indigenous research and its Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research. Selection committee members will be instructed to consult and follow these guidelines during the evaluation of your application.

Do you hold a teaching appointment?
Indicate whether or not you hold a teaching appointment of any kind. If “Yes,” you must attach a PDF copy of a letter from a university official confirming that you do not hold a tenure or tenure-track position (see the Teaching appointment letter section of the application form).

The information listed in this section has been automatically transferred from your SSHRC web CV. Use the “Current position” screen in the SSHRC web CV to make any necessary changes to your current place of employment or institutional affiliation. If you wish to have a different affiliation on record for this application, use this section to enter it.

Teaching appointment letter (if applicable)

If you hold a teaching appointment of any kind, you must attach a PDF of a letter from a university official confirming that you do not hold a tenure or tenure-track position.

Program of work

Maximum four pages

Attach a PDF copy of your program of work. Write your proposal in clear, plain language. Avoid discipline-specific jargon, acronyms and highly technical terms when writing your program of work. Your application will be reviewed by members of a multidisciplinary selection committee, not all of whom will be familiar with your area of research.

Prepare your program of work as follows:

Bibliography and citations

Maximum 10 pages

Attach a PDF file of:

SSHRC recognizes and allows the use of different referencing styles.

Diversity considerations in research design module

Once you’ve answered the question “Do diversity considerations apply to your proposed research design?”, use the text box provided (maximum 1,700 characters) to indicate how diversity considerations are applicable or not to your research proposal.

Before completing this module, make sure to carefully read the Guide to Including Diversity Considerations in Research Design for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Award Applicants.

Note: Although mandatory, this module is not subject to merit review and is not shared with committee members.

Program information

Support requested

Number of months of support requested
Indicate the number of months of support sought through this application. Fellowship tenures can be requested for 12 or 24 months. Early terminations are permitted. Extensions are not available.

Expected start date of the award
Indicate when you expect to start your award. The award can begin on the first of any month between May 2022 and January 2023.

Note: You cannot start your award until after you have successfully completed all the degree requirements for your doctoral degree, including the successful defence and submission of the corrected copy of your doctoral dissertation. These requirements must be completed by December 31, 2022, at the latest.


Specify the language(s) required to carry out your proposed program of work. Indicate your current proficiency in each.

Tenure location

Identify the organization and department/division where you plan to hold the award by clicking the “List…” button. If your organization and department/division are not listed, select “Other/Unknown” from the list and type the information into the box provided.

You can propose to affiliate with more than one organization. If applicable, identify the secondary location of tenure by clicking the “List…” button in the section “Secondary tenure location” and selecting the appropriate organization and department/division. If your organization and department/division are not listed, select “Other/Unknown” from the list and type the information in the box provided. Secondary locations of tenure can include, for example, academic, not-for-profit or community/cultural organizations, as well as organizations from the private sector.

In the “Tenure location” and the “Secondary tenure location” sections of the application form, you can list up to two places of affiliation. If you propose to affiliate with more than one organization, indicate it in your program of work and justify your choice for each host institution.

Note: If you earned your PhD at a foreign university, you can only hold the award at a Canadian university. If you earned your PhD at a Canadian university, you can hold the award at either a Canadian or a foreign university.

Areas of study

The information provided in this section refers to your research/study.

State whether or not your proposed research/study involves human beings as research subjects. If it does, select “Yes” and consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and submit your proposal to the research ethics board of the institution where you will undertake your graduate or postdoctoral studies. Note that you need not submit your proposal to the research ethics board prior to submitting your application.

List keywords, separated by semicolons, that best describe your proposed research/study.

Select appropriate entries under each of the sections below using the “List…” button. Duplicate entries are not permitted.

Indicate and rank up to three disciplines relevant to your research/study, with Entry 1 the most relevant and Entry 3 as the least relevant.

For entries 2 and 3, if an applicable discipline is not listed, you can select an entry such as “Other (relevant discipline)” (e.g., Other Psychology, Other Anthropology, Other Sociology) from the list, and provide the information in the box provided.

You can choose “Other (relevant discipline)” only once. For instance, you cannot choose “Other Psychology” in Entry 2 and choose it again in Entry 3. Also, you can choose “Other” (with an explanation) only once.


Entry 1


Entry 2

Other Psychology

Entry 3


Areas of research
Indicate and rank up to two areas of research related to your research/study, with Entry 1 the most important and Entry 2 the least important.

Temporal period
If applicable, indicate the historical period covered by your research/study.

Geographical regions
If applicable, indicate and rank up to two geographical regions covered by or related to your research/study, with Entry 1 the most important and Entry 2 the least important.

If applicable, indicate and rank up to five countries covered by or related to your research/study, with Entry 1 the most important and Entry 5 the least important.


Instructions for requesting support letters

Enter the family name, given name and email address of each referee. After the data are saved, the system will automatically generate an email to each person, inviting them to verify and complete a referee form. Inform your referees that they will receive an email with the subject line “Invitation to evaluate an application—Invitation à évaluer une demande.” It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that each invited person verifies and completes the form in advance of the application deadline.

If the referee declines the invitation, you will be notified by email. The status will also change to “Referee unable to complete the form.” You can then remove the person from the application by clicking “Clear entry.” You can then add a new referee.

If the referee deletes the system-generated email by error, the applicant can click “Resend email” to send the invitation again.

If the referee accepts the invitation to evaluate the application, the status will change to “Email sent—Referee form not yet created.” Referees who have accepted will be able to view an electronic version of your application form to inform their reference. Once the referee has completed the form (and the status, therefore, becomes “Referee form completed”), it will be attached electronically to your application once your application has been submitted to SSHRC. However, your application will not be successfully verified until each referee’s form has been successfully verified and completed.

Note: You will not be able to view the appraisals at the time you complete and submit your application.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all required application components have been submitted (including all attachments and letters). The system does not accept incomplete applications.

Notify your referees in advance that they will be receiving an invitation, as firewalls and/or spam filters might limit their ability to receive the official system email inviting them to complete a referee form.

Make sure you give your referees enough time to complete and submit their support letter so that your application can be submitted in advance of the deadline date. Typically, the online system handles a very high volume of users on the last day, which could create delays and put timely submission at risk.

Letters of appraisal
Provide information about the two referees who will each complete a Letter of Appraisal form:

Arm’s-length referee
The purpose of the arm’s-length referee is to provide the selection committee with an impartial review of the application. The arm’s-length referee should be an expert in the field(s) of the proposed research and should be able to assess the research proposal and CV in that capacity. Examples of arm’s-length referees include, but are not limited to, the external examiner from the applicant’s doctoral defence, or a specialist that the applicant met at a conference. It is not necessary for the applicant to have met the arm’s-length referee.

The arm’s-length referee cannot be:

The absence of an arm’s-length assessment could adversely affect the review of the application.

Referees will be asked to provide the following information in their letter:

Track record: Comment on the applicant’s past and potential contributions to scholarly research. Explain the importance to the discipline of the journals in which the applicant has published and/or assess the candidate’s prospects for publication.

Program of work: Assess the originality, the significance and feasibility, and the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant’s proposed program of work, and the appropriateness of the proposed institutional affiliation(s). If applicable, comment on the applicant’s proficiency in the language(s) necessary to pursue the program of work.

Referee comments should focus on the proposal, its theoretical framework, the relation of the proposal to the field and the methodology.

Research appraisal
Provide information about the research supervisor at the organization where you plan to hold the award.

If you propose to affiliate with more than one institution, ask the supervisor at the primary location of tenure to complete the research appraisal. Research appraisals from supervisors at secondary host institutions are not required and will not be accepted.

Your research supervisor will be asked to provide the following information:

In writing the research appraisal, describe how the applicant’s project relates to the research interests and strengths of your department. Describe also how you will serve as mentor to this applicant and what the candidate will be able to offer as a research fellow. When writing your comments, bear in mind that applications are reviewed by members of a multidisciplinary selection committee, some members of which might not be familiar with the field or sub-field in which the candidate proposes to work.

Institutional nomination and commitment
Provide information about the department head or designate at the proposed institution of affiliation.

If you propose to affiliate with more than one institution, the department head or designate at the primary location of tenure should complete the Institutional Nomination and Commitment form. Secondary host institutions do not have to complete this form.

Note: If the department head and the research supervisor are the same person, they should provide the information requested for the Institutional Nomination and Commitment form as well as that requested for the Research Appraisal form.

The host institution will be asked to outline how it will support effective research training and career development for the applicant based on SSHRC’s Guidelines for Effective Research Training.

Allowable inclusions (if applicable)

Maximum one page

If applicable, attach a PDF document indicating your allowable inclusions.

SSHRC asks its selection committees to take into consideration special circumstances that could have affected applicants’ 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, health-related family responsibilities, trauma and loss, or the COVID-19 pandemic. Specify the dates for any delays or interruptions.

As part of SSHRC’s Indigenous Talent Measures, Indigenous applicants are encouraged to use the “Allowable inclusions” section of their application form to describe special circumstances that could have had an impact on their academic or career paths.

All information provided to SSHRC is subject to the Privacy Act. Applicants are reminded that the information included in the “Allowable inclusions” section of their application will be shared with selection committee members for consideration as part of their application. SSHRC merit reviewers cannot share this information outside of the merit review process, which is subject to the Tri-Agency Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy. For more information, see the principles for SSHRC merit review.

Note: Applicants who completed their doctorate between September 2015 and September 2018 must describe in this section the career interruptions or delays experienced since completion of their doctorate.

Applicants who completed their doctorate after September 2018 can also choose to describe relevant career interruptions or delays should they wish to do so.

Research contributions (mandatory)

Maximum two pages

You must attach a PDF copy of your research contributions. For each contribution:

From this list, choose your three most significant contributions, and describe to the selection committee the significance in terms of influence on the direction of thought and activity within the target community and in terms of significance to, and use by, other researchers and knowledge users.

Note: Do not include your PhD dissertation unless it has been reworked for publication.

Group your contributions by category in the following order, as applicable, listing your most recent contributions first:

Refereed contributions
Examples include books (where applicable, subdivide according to those that are single-authored, co-authored and edited works), monographs, book chapters, articles in scholarly refereed journals and conference proceedings.

Other refereed contributions
Examples include papers presented at scholarly meetings or conferences and articles in professional or trade journals.

Non-refereed contributions
Examples include book reviews, published reviews of your work, research reports, policy papers and public lectures.

Forthcoming contributions
Indicate one of the following statuses: “revised and submitted,” “accepted” or “in press.” Provide the name of the journal or book publisher and the number of pages. Contributions not yet accepted for publication should not be listed.

Creative outputs
List your most significant achievements, starting with the most recent. Examples of creative outputs can include exhibitions, performances, publications, presentations, and film, video and audio recordings.

Note: Contributions in the context of Indigenous research can be listed within these or additional categories, in line with the Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research.

Supplement justification (if applicable)

Provide a maximum one-page justification per supplement selected in the “Application profile” section.

Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights Research

Jules and Gabrielle Léger Fellowship

Specific requirements for joint or special initiatives (if applicable)

Provide a maximum one-page justification per initiative selected in the “Application profile” section. Different requirements apply to the Mitacs Elevate Fellowships and Alice Wilson Award initiatives. Refer to the instructions specific to each initiative.

Department of National Defence MINDS Scholarship Initiative

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation-SSHRC Housing Research Training Awards Program

Initiative for Digital Citizen Research
Through the Initiative for Digital Citizen Research, Canadian Heritage and SSHRC are partnering to offer postdoctoral fellowship supplements, valued at $10,000, to individuals who are conducting research related to online disinformation and its impact in the Canadian context. Comparative approaches to these themes that are inclusive of, but extend beyond, the Canadian context are also eligible for supplementary funding.

To be considered for funding under this initiative, applicants must:

To be offered a postdoctoral fellowship supplement under this initiative, applicants must first be successful in the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships competition, and they must be affiliated with a SSHRC eligible Canadian postsecondary institution during their award tenure.

Sport Participation Research Initiative

Mitacs Elevate Research Management Training Initiative

Note: Candidates do not need to apply for the Mitacs Elevate fellowship to be considered for the Mitacs research management training initiative, as the initiative is separate and distinct from the fellowship.

Mitacs Elevate Fellowships

Alice Wilson Award

Contact information

Note: It is the intent of SSHRC staff to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible during normal business hours. In the weeks preceding application submission deadlines (peak periods), response times could be delayed.

For help with technical difficulties, contact the Helpdesk:

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

If you have additional questions, contact:
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships
Toll free: 1-855-275-2861

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