SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships
September 2023 Competition
|$45,000 per year
|1 or 2 years
|Application deadlineFootnote *
|September 13, 2023 (8 p.m. eastern)
|Web CV, application and instructions
On this page
- Future Challenge Areas
- Value and duration
- Application process
- Merit review
- Regulations, policies and related information
- Contact information
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships are expected to respond to the objectives of the Research Training and Talent Development.
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.
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship awards are tenable at Canadian or foreign universities and research institutions.
Joint initiatives and supplements
SSHRC offers supplementary funding to support scholarship and fellowship award holders, some of which is offered through joint initiatives. SSHRC collaborates with organizations from across the not-for-profit, private and public sectors to support and promote training, research and connection activities in the social sciences and humanities. SSHRC’s joint initiatives are designed to reflect SSHRC’s strategic objectives and mandate, inform decision-makers, and, in certain cases, address specific needs of its partners.
Learn more about joint initiatives.
For a complete list of available supplements and joint initiatives, see SSHRC’s funding search tool.
Unless otherwise indicated, there is no separate application process for most initiatives and supplements. However, candidates must indicate they wish to be considered for an initiative or a supplement, and explain why, in their application form.
Future Challenge Areas
SSHRC invites all applicants to review Imagining Canada’s Future’s 16 future global challenges 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.
Value and duration
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 can begin on the first of any month between May 2024 and January 2025.
Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. Proposals can involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. See subject matter eligibility for more information.
Projects whose primary objective is adapting a doctoral thesis for publication in a book or manuscript, editing textbooks, translation, or acquiring 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 to the Canada Graduate Scholarships—Doctoral Program, SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships or SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships.
To apply to this funding opportunity, applicants must:
- be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or a “protected person” under subsection 95(2) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 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;
- not have applied more than twice before to the SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships funding opportunity;
- not have already received a postdoctoral award (including a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship) from SSHRC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); and
- not be applying in the 2023-24 academic year to the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships Program or the CIHR Fellowship funding opportunity.
|Date of completion of doctorateFootnote *
|September 2020 or later
|Between September 2017 and September 2020
only with declaration of relevant career interruptions and/or delays in Allowable inclusions
|Prior to September 2017
Career interruptions and/or delays
SSHRC asks its merit review committees to take into consideration special circumstances that could 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, health-related family responsibilities, trauma and loss, or the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applicants who completed their doctorate between September 2017 and September 2020 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 2020 can also describe relevant career interruptions or delays should they wish to do so.
Dates of delays and interruptions should be provided.
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;
- not hold a permanent faculty position or a faculty position leading to permanency; and
- if they are full-time Government of Canada employees, be on an approved leave of absence for the period of the award.
Applicants who do not complete all requirements for their doctoral degree by December 31, 2024, could have their offer of an award withdrawn. Note that withdrawn or declined awards will be included in the calculation for the three-application limit for this funding opportunity.
For other requirements, see the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.
Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with the accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically directly to SSHRC. Requests to submit late applications will not be accepted.
Before submitting their application, applicants must ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements. All referees and institutional nominators must use SSHRC’s online application system to submit their supporting letters before the deadline.
The applicant is responsible for ensuring 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.
Black postdoctoral researchers
The Government of Canada has deployed additional funds to increase direct support for Black student researchers. SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships applicants who self-identify as Black and provide consent in their application to be considered for funds designated to specific groups may be eligible to receive an award as part of this initiative. Consult the Frequently asked questions about the new Black scholars funding page for more information.
Applications are reviewed, and available funds awarded, through a competitive merit review process. SSHRC bases funding decisions on the recommendations of the merit review committee and on the funds available.
Merit review process
Step 1: In the application form, applicants will be asked to select the multidisciplinary merit review committees they consider most appropriate for the review of their proposal.
Step 2: Once applicants submit their completed application and supporting documents (see Application process), SSHRC staff review all applications and forward eligible applications to the multidisciplinary merit review committees.
Step 3: The multidisciplinary merit review committees review an entire cohort of applications and make recommendations about funding that are subject to SSHRC approval. 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. SSHRC makes concerted efforts to include experts in Indigenous research in doctoral and postdoctoral merit review 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 according to the Guidelines for Effective Research Training.
- 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.
Merit review 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 would consider in scoring the corresponding criteria.
|Very good to excellent
|Good to very good
|Satisfactory to good
|Not considered for funding
Communication of results
SSHRC makes competition results available to applicants via the SSHRC Extranet for Applicants.
Institutions eligible to administer SSHRC funding are notified of successful applications to be hosted by their institution via the Grants and Scholarships Administration Portal.
Results are not provided by telephone or email.
Regulations, policies and related information
SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information included. 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.
San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment
In 2019, CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, along with other national research funders, signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). As such, the agencies are committed to excellence in research funding and to ensuring that a wide range of research results and outcomes are considered and valued as part of the assessment process.
Guidelines and related support material
All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their application:
- SSHRC’s Definitions of Terms for terms used in the application process;
- the Guidelines for Effective Research Training, which can also be useful to reviewers and postsecondary institutions;
- SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research for applications involving Indigenous research; and
- SSHRC’s definition of knowledge mobilization and its Guidelines for Effective Knowledge Mobilization for guidance on connecting with research users to create impact; and
- SSHRC’s definition of research-creation and its Guidelines for Research-Creation Support Materials for information about how members evaluate samples of research-creation provided in website links.
For more information:
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