Apply for Grants

How to apply for select grants as a postdoctoral scholar

UCalgary postdoctoral scholars who have an appointment at the university are now eligible to apply for research grants, as permitted by the funding agency. All types of postdoc appointments (Postdoctoral Fellow, Postdoctoral Associate, or Postdoctoral Guest) are potentially eligible.

Postdocs will also be able to hold grants they receive, and research allowances from their fellowships, as permitted by the funding agency and subject to their supervisor’s approval.

Questions? Please contact the Research Services Office Grants and Awards team at

Applicable grants

The following grant programs are recommended for postdocs, but is not an exclusive list. Postdocs can find more funding opportunities on the Funding Calendar, while ensuring that “Eligibility” sections state that postdocs can apply.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Natural Sciences and Humanities Research Council

NOTE: Postdocs are not eligible to hold a NSERC grant, but may apply to some programs (e.g., Discovery Grant) if they will take up an eligible appointment before the start date of the grant.

Detailed eligibility requirements

The University of Calgary permits postdocs (with a UCalgary appointment as a postdoctoral fellow, postdoctoral associate, or postdoctoral guest) to apply for and hold research grants and research allowances, if they are eligible to do so under the policies of the funding agency.

Tri-Council Grant Programs

Under Tri-Council guidelines, postdoctoral fellows are generally not considered independent researchers and are therefore ineligible to apply for most grant programs. Where the guidelines for a specific grant program explicitly name postdoctoral fellows as eligible to apply, however, that specific program literature is given precedence. Examples of these programs are listed below.


  • Postdocs paid out of a Tri-Council grant are not eligible to simultaneously hold a Tri-Council research grant.
  • NSERC does not allow postdoctoral fellows to apply for or hold research grants.

How to Apply

If you would like to apply for a grant you meet the eligibility requirements for, you must follow the application instructions outlined for that grant in the Funding Opportunities calendar.

Internal Approvals

All grant applicants must complete a Research Funding Application Approvals (RFAA) form for each grant application, which requires that the applicant validate key information related to the proposed research and collects authorizing signatures from various responsible offices. Postdocs must obtain the approval and signature of their supervisor on this form. Postdocs must discuss any grant applications with their supervisor, agreeing on the time commitment and use of any of the supervisor’s or department’s resources to carry out the proposed research activities. Review “What Grant Applications Signatures Mean” to understand the acknowledgements and attestations provided by each signatory on a RFAA.

Note that the RFAA is only used for applications for research grants. Applications for postdoctoral fellowships (e.g., CIHR Fellowships, Mitacs Elevate) should use the RFAA for Training Awards form.

Submit to Research Services

Submit a complete and signed RFAA, along with a final version of your application, to the Research Services Office (RSO) by the posted internal deadline (at least 3 business days in advance of the agency deadline). RSO will review your application for eligibility, completeness, and any institutional risks before providing approval for submission. Unless otherwise noted, applicants are responsible for making the final submission to the funding agency.

Note that postdocs cannot use the Research Management System (RMS) at this time. If the grant program you are applying to requires submission through RMS, please contact the responsible RSO Grants Officer to make alternate arrangements.

Detailed Application Review

With at least two weeks notice in advance of the funding agency’s deadline, RSO can provide a detailed review of your application, reviewing the application against program guidelines and best practices to improve the quality and competitiveness of your application.

If the grant program is being managed through the Research Management System (RMS), please contact the RSO Grants Officer managing the grant for information on how to apply.

Application checklist

Confirm eligibility

Review the grant information to confirm that you are eligible to apply as a postdoc. Detailed funding opportunity information is on the Funding Opportunities calendar. 

Visit Funding Opportunities calendar

Complete RFAA form

Complete a Research Funding Application Approvals (RFAA) form, including required signatures. 

Download RFAA form

Submit final application

Submit your completed and signed RFAA and final version of application to the Research Services Office by the posted internal deadline (at least 3 business days in advance of the agency deadline). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can postdocs apply for eligible grants without their supervisor knowing?

A: No, supervisor approval is required to apply and hold grants. All grant applicants must submit a completed RFAA, along with the final version of the application, to RSO in order to obtain the University’s approval to submit a grant application. Postdocs must obtain their supervisor’s signature on the RFAA.

Q: I am a postdoc paid from my supervisor’s research grant. Am I eligible to apply for and hold a research grant?

A: Maybe, depending on the terms and your supervisor’s research grant.

  • Paid from a Tri-Council research grant: If you are paid from a Tri-Council research grant, you cannot apply for or hold a Tri-Council research grant, except for those grants that are explicitly for trainees (e.g., some CIHR Travel Awards), but you may be eligible to hold research grants from other funding agencies.

Q: I am a postdoc paid from a Tri-Council fellowship (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC). Am I eligible to apply for and hold a research grant?

A: Yes, if you meet the granting agency’s program eligibility guidelines or policy.

Q: Can a non-Tri-Council postdoc apply for and hold a SSHRC grant?

A: Yes.

Q: I don’t currently have a postdoc appointment at the University of Calgary. Can I still apply for a research grant through the University?

A: No. You may be able to apply through your current institution or as an independent researcher – please contact the funding agency.

Q: Will postdocs use the Research Management System (RMS)?

A: Not at this time. We will provide an update when RMS functionality has been updated to accommodate this change.

Q: I received a research grant before starting my University of Calgary postdoc appointment. Can I hold the grant here?

A: Yes. Please contact RSO ( for assistance transferring your grant to UCalgary and setting up your project account.

Q: Can postdocs hold their fellowship stipend accounts?

A: No. It is university practice that salary projects are held by the individual’s immediate supervisor. RSO will notify the Postdoc Office when the project is set up so the postdoc’s appointment may be created and salary charged to the project.

Q: Can postdocs act as Principal Investigator on human ethics or animal care applications?

A: No, Postdocs will continue to follow current practice of submitting ethics applications under their supervisor. See the Ethics & Compliance website for more information.

Q: Are postdocs able to sign legal approval forms?

A: No, your supervisor must still sign as Principal Investigator on legal approval forms, particularly to provide assurance that the resources, including laboratory space and resources, are available to carry out the research.

Q: If my postdoc appointment ends in the middle of my grant, what will happen to my grant?

A: You must maintain an eligible postdoc or academic appointment at the University of Calgary to continue holding a research grant. If you are moving to another eligible institution, the University of Calgary will transfer your grant to your new institution (contact for assistance). If you are not moving to another eligible institution, your grant will be terminated and any remaining funds returned to the funding agency.