Introduction – Overview of NSERC’s programs and eligibility requirements for postdoctoral fellows
Summary of the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships program
Summary of the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program
Summary of the Industrial R&D Fellowships program
Summary of the Visiting Fellowships in Government Laboratories program
Summary of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowships program
Postdoctoral Programs Summary
August 25, 2011
This video summarizes NSERC funding opportunities for postdoctoral fellows.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council supports students at all stages of their post-secondary education. This video will provide information about NSERC's programs for postdoctoral fellows. Keep in mind that this is intended as an overview only. For more details, you should read the complete program description and instructions for completing an application.
NSERC offers a variety of postdoctoral fellowships to support a core of the most promising researchers at a pivotal time in their careers. Fellowships are also intended to secure a supply of highly qualified researchers with leading-edge scientific and research skills for industry, government and universities.
Most NSERC postdoctoral fellowship programs require you to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to be eligible for support. The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Visiting Fellowships in Canadian Government Laboratories allow foreign candidates to apply. For awards that require you to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, NSERC will require that you provide proof of your status at the time of taking up the award. Acceptable documents include a Canadian birth certificate or citizenship card, an official document indicating your landing date in Canada, or a permanent resident card.
To make sure your research fits within NSERC's mandate for support, consult the Eligibility Criteria page of the Web site. NSERC encourages interdisciplinary research, but your proposed work must contribute to advancing a field in the natural sciences and engineering. You should be aware that NSERC will reject proposals that fall mainly within the mandates of other federal funding agencies.
The value of NSERC postdoctoral fellowships ranges from $40,000 to $70,000 per year. Eligible applicants can hold more than one fellowship during the course of their career, but not concurrently. Program details are discussed later in this video.
NSERC postdoctoral fellowship holders may also be eligible to apply for supplementary funding programs. The Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering program seeks to help Aboriginal students promote interest and participation in science and engineering in Canada's Aboriginal communities. The Canada-United Kingdom Millennium Research Awards encourage collaboration between Canadian and United Kingdom researchers by providing supplementary support to fellows who hold their awards in the U.K. For deadlines and application information for these supplements, check the NSERC Web site.
For the Postdoctoral Fellowships program, NSERC must receive your application electronically by October 15 by 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. In addition to the general eligibility criteria, the PDF program requires that you have met all the requirements of your first doctoral degree within two years before the application deadline. You must hold your fellowship at a different university from where you completed your PhD. If there are family or scientific reasons that make it extremely difficult to move, the selection committee may allow you to remain at the same university. Regardless of where the award is held, you must be supervised by a different person than the one who supervised your PhD. PDFs may be held in Canada or at eligible universities or research centres abroad. You must have completed your PhD at a Canadian university in order to take up your award abroad. Your application will be assessed based on your research ability and potential, as well as your communication, interpersonal and leadership abilities. These two broad criteria are broken down in more detail in the Program Guide. NSERC will notify you of the results of your application by March 31.
The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program is a prestigious program intended to attract and retain top-tier postdoctoral talent, both nationally and internationally, to develop their leadership potential and to position them for success as research leaders of tomorrow, positively contributing to Canada's economic, social and research-based growth through a research-intensive career.
The fellowships are distributed equally across the three federal granting agencies. They are valued at $70,000 per year for two years.
There are no citizenship restrictions for this program. Applicants must have completed all degree requirements for a PhD or a PhD equivalent within three years before the application deadline, or expect to finish by December 31st of the year they apply.
Eligible institutions include universities, affiliated research hospitals, colleges and not-for-profit organizations with a research mandate, in Canada and abroad. Only applicants who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and who completed their PhD or PhD equivalent in Canada are eligible to hold this award outside Canada.
Successful applicants for the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program will be selected on the basis of three criteria. First, the demonstrated capacity for research excellence and leadership of the applicants will be evaluated based on the quality of their research contributions and the degree of their influence in the research domain. Second, the research program executed in the proposed institutional environment will be examined in terms of its potential to position the applicant for significant impact through a research intensive career. Finally, the degree of institutional commitment to the development of the applicant's research and leadership capacity and the degree of synergy between the research program and the institution's priorities will be assessed.
The complete application must be submitted via ResearchNet. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered. The agencies will notify applicants of the competition results by March 31. Fellowships must be taken up between April 1 and October 1, following the announcement.
Industrial R&D Fellowships support the most promising recent doctoral graduates by helping them gain research experience in an industrial setting. IRDFs also help build valuable connections between university and industry, and facilitate knowledge transfer. To be eligible, you may not have been employed for more than six months in Canadian industry after your PhD, and you may not have received a non-conditional offer of employment from the host organization. The fellowship must be held at an eligible Canadian organization. A list of approved organizations is posted on the NSERC Web site, but new organizations may also apply for eligibility at the same time as they submit IRDF applications. Fellowships are valued at $30,000 per year for two years from NSERC, with the host organization adding a minimum of $10,000 per year plus benefits. Applications are reviewed based on the nominee's research ability or potential, and communication, interpersonal and leadership abilities. The proposed research activities are also evaluated to assess the industrial R&D environment, significance and feasibility, organization commitment, scientific and technical merit, and incrementality.
The Visiting Fellowships in Canadian Government Laboratories program is administered by NSERC on behalf of participating government departments. Applications will be evaluated by the appropriate department based on academic excellence, the candidate's research ability or potential, oral and written communication skills, interpersonal and leadership abilities, and the justification for location and benefits to the department. You should be aware that successful applicants are not guaranteed a fellowship. They are placed on an inventory list from which the participating departments may choose.
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowships program offers an opportunity to conduct research in Japanese universities, research institutions or national laboratories. To apply for one of these fellowships, you must find a host organization in Japan and contact NSERC for an application form and guidelines.
In addition to receiving direct support through scholarships, applicants may have an opportunity to receive indirect support from NSERC through research grants held by university faculty. A significant part of most NSERC grants is devoted to supporting highly qualified personnel who help conduct the grantee's research. The grant programs available to university professors also include the Collaborative Research and Training Experience program. CREATE is designed specifically to provide students with training opportunities that complement their academic training by developing their professional skills, interacting with different universities and sectors, and increasing their exposure to interdisciplinary research. To find out more about these opportunities, contact your university.