SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

Value $45,000 per year
Duration 1 or 2 years
Application deadlineFootnote * September 18, 2019 (8 p.m. eastern)
Results announced February 2020
Apply Web CV, application and instructions

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships are expected to respond to the objectives of the Talent program.

These 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.

The purpose of these fellowships is to 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 the one that awarded the PhD. SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship awards are tenable at Canadian or foreign universities and research institutions.

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

Related initiatives

SSHRC and its partner organizations offer initiatives that complement this funding opportunity:

Please consult the Related initiatives section in the Talent program description and SSHRC’s Funding search tool to learn more about supplements and specific joint initiatives, as well as other SSHRC funding opportunities that may be of interest to postdoctoral researchers.

SSHRC invites all applicants to review Imagining Canada’s Future’s 16 future global challenges areas and to consider addressing one or more of these areas in their research proposal. This is not an evaluation criterion for merit review and does not offer additional or dedicated research funds for this funding opportunity.

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships are valued at $45,000 per year over one or two years, up to a total of $90,000.

These are taxable, non-renewable fellowships that may begin on the first of any month between May 2020 and January 2021.

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.

Projects whose primary objective is the adaptation of a doctoral thesis for publication in a book or manuscript, the editing of textbooks, translation, or the acquisition of a foreign language are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity.

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.

Indigenous talent measures

Among its measures intended to support research by and with Indigenous peoples, SSHRC’s Indigenous Talent Measures are aimed at supporting graduate students and postdoctoral researchers applying for Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program—Doctoral Scholarships, SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships or SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships. To learn more, please consult Indigenous Talent Measures.


Eligibility to apply

To apply to this funding opportunity, the applicant must:

Eligibility window

Date of completion of doctorateFootnote * Eligibility status
In progress Eligible
September 2017 or later Eligible
Between September 2014 and September 2017


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

Prior to September 2014 Not eligible

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 2014 and September 2017 must describe the career interruptions and/or delays experienced since completion of their doctorate, in the Allowable Inclusions section of their application.

Applicants who completed their doctorate after September 2017 may also describe relevant career interruptions or delays should they wish to do so.

Dates of delays and interruptions should be provided.

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.

Applicants with a PhD from a foreign university are eligible to apply only if they wish to hold their award 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, 2020, 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.

Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically directly to SSHRC, and under no circumstances will any applications be accepted after the deadline.

Before submitting their application, applicants must ensure that they meet the requirements specified under Eligibility. All referees and institutional nominators must use SSHRC’s online application system to submit their supporting letters in advance of the deadline.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure all required application components (CV, two letters of appraisal, Research Appraisal form, Institutional Nomination and Commitment form, and all attachments) have been submitted ahead of the deadline.

Applicants needing help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.

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

Merit review process

Step 1: In the application form, applicants will be asked to select the multidisciplinary selection committees they consider most appropriate for the review of their proposal.

Step 2: Once applicants submit to SSHRC their completed application and supporting documents (see Application process), SSHRC staff review all applications and forward eligible applications to the multidisciplinary selection committees.

Step 3: The multidisciplinary selection committees review an entire cohort of applications and make recommendations regarding funding that are subject to approval by SSHRC. The scores assigned to each application indicate the relative standing of an application within a given committee.

SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research are relevant for researchers (applicants and project directors) and students preparing SSHRC applications related to Indigenous research. SSHRC provides these guidelines to merit reviewers to help build understanding of Indigenous research and research-related activities, and to assist committee members in interpreting SSHRC’s specific evaluation criteria in the context of Indigenous research. Concerted efforts are made by SSHRC to include experts in Indigenous research in doctoral and postdoctoral adjudication committees. The guidelines may also be of use to external assessors, postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Indigenous research.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to evaluate the applications:

  • Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (20%):
    • originality and potential significance of the proposed program of work.
  • 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.
  • 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

Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria above, based on the following scoring table. The appropriate weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score. Applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria to be recommended for funding.

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

Score Descriptor
5-6 Very good-excellent
4-4.9 Good-very good
3-3.9 Satisfactory-good
Below 3 Not considered for funding

Communication of results

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

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information therein. SSHRC also reserves the right to interpret the regulations and policies governing its funding opportunities.

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:

For more information, contact:

Tel.: 613-943-7777

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