2023-2024 NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships
Award amount and duration:
To be considered eligible for support, as of the application deadline date of the year in which you apply, you must
- be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a protected person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada)
- hold or expect to hold a doctorate in one of the fields of research that NSERC supports
- You can submit a maximum of one scholarship (master’s or doctoral) or fellowship application per academic year to either NSERC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Applications to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program do not count toward this limit (other exceptions may apply to CIHR internships).
- You must not have already received a postdoctoral award (including a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship) from NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC.
- You must have completed all requirements of your doctoral degree no more than two years before September 1 of the year in which you apply.
Proposed location(s) of tenure
You can hold your PDF at
- academic research institutions in Canada or abroad
- provincial research institutions in Canada
- other research institutions with a strong training mandate in Canada or abroad
You cannot hold a PDF in Canadian federal government institutions.
NSERC encourages you to undertake research that involves collaboration with other Canadian organizations. The nature of the proposed collaboration must be acceptable to the host institution.
The Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDF) program provides support to a core of the most promising researchers at a pivotal time in their careers. The fellowships are intended to secure a supply of highly qualified Canadians with leading-edge scientific and research skills for Canadian industry, government and academic institutions.
Review process and selection criteria
NSERC scholarships and fellowships selection committees review all eligible PDF applications. Each application is evaluated according to the selection criteria described below. The Selection committee guide for Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships programs provides additional details on the review process.
The research subject code (refer to the List of research subject codes for scholarships and fellowships web page) entered in your application determines its assigned selection committee. NSERC may assign your application to a different selection committee if it determines that the subject matter is more appropriate for another selection committee. Should this occur, you will be contacted by email.
The selection committees are organized into broad discipline categories:
- cellular and molecular biology
- chemical, biomedical and materials science engineering
- civil and industrial engineering
- computing sciences
- electrical engineering
- evolution and ecology
- mathematical sciences
- mechanical engineering
- physics and astronomy
- plant and animal biology
NSERC expects selection committee members to consistently guard against the possibility of unconscious bias influencing the decision-making process, whether these biases are based on a school of thought, fundamental versus applied research, certain sub-disciplines, areas of research or approaches (including emerging ones), size or reputation of an institution, age, gender and/or other personal factors.
In preparing your application, you should consult the Selection criteria and indicators section and appendix B of the Selection committee guide for Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships programs, which provide useful information on what selection committee members look for in assessing applications. You should also read the Instructions for completing an application – form 201 web page.
Applications are evaluated and selected according to how well you demonstrate the following:
Research ability and potential - 70%
1. Significance, feasibility, clarity and merit of research proposal
- Contributions to research and development (publications, conference presentations and/or proceedings, poster presentations, technical reports or patents)
- Academic training and relevant work experience (complementarity of experience/expertise and proposed research)
- Scholarships and awards
- Researcher attributes (critical thinking, application of knowledge, judgment, originality, initiative, autonomy and enthusiasm for research)
- Justification for location of tenure (appropriateness, access to resources and equipment)
- Ability to complete projects within an appropriate time period (if applicable, special circumstances explained in the application must be taken into consideration)
2. Communication, interpersonal and leadership abilities - 30%
- Professional, academic and extracurricular interactions and collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community (teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching; managing projects; participating in science promotion, science/community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement; chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings; participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs; industrial work experience; showing leadership in environmental health & safety, like laboratory safety)
- Awards for papers, reports, posters, oral presentations, teaching and/or volunteer/outreach work
- Participation in publication writing
- Quality of presentation of application (adherence to NSERC’s standards, grantsmanship, spelling and grammar)
RSO detailed review deadline
RSO final internal review deadline
Program application deadline
NOTE: Consult your Faculty Associate Dean (Research) (ADR) regarding Faculty-specific deadlines and submission processes.
Principal Investigators: Complete a Research Management System (RMS) record, including a copy of your complete application, and submit this for approvals in RMS.
Postdocs, students, and trainees: For fellowships and externally-sponsored research training awards or opportunities, you must complete the Research Funding Application Approval (RFAA) Trainee PDF form, and submit it, along with a complete copy of the application, to Research Services at email@example.com. Trainees should not use RMS at this time.
Approvals: The University of Calgary requires that all funding applications be approved prior to submission. Approval requires signatures via either RMS or the RFAA Trainee form, in the following order:
- Principal Investigator
- Department Head
- Faculty ADR/Dean
- Research Services (on behalf of the Vice-President Research)
Read the Meaning of Grant Signatures policy to understand what your approval means. Please see the agency guidelines for details about which signatures are required on your application, as it may differ from internal requirements.
Late submissions: Late submissions will only be accepted in cases of medical or family emergencies, or other exceptional circumstances. If you submit your RMS record to Research Services after the internal deadline has passed, you must secure additional approvals. Please read: Late Applications Process.
Equity, diversity and inclusion
In order to address systemic barriers that limit the full participation of all talented individuals, NSERC aims for the proportion of short-listed and funded applications from those who self-identify as members of underrepresented groups to be at least similar to the proportion of applications received from these groups.
NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and is aligned with the objectives of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan.
For more information consult the Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations at each stage of the research process section of the NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research web page.
Black postdoctoral researchers
The Government of Canada has deployed additional funds to increase direct support for Black postdoctoral researchers. PDF applicants who self-identify as Black and provide consent in their application to be considered for funds designated for specific groups may be able to receive this funding through a fellowship as part of this initiative. NSERC has a limited number of additional awards reserved for this initiative.
For more information, consult the Frequently asked questions about the new Black scholars funding web page.