Post-doctoral fellows (PDFs)

What's new!

These processes have been updated in response to COVID-19:

Post-doctoral fellows (PDFs) at UVic make a vital impact by contributing to research while gaining hands-on training in Canada’s most extraordinary academic environment.

A PDF will have completed a PhD prior to commencing appointment, normally awarded in the four years immediately prior to the start of the first post-doctoral fellowship at the university. A PDF, whether grant-funded or externally-funded (bringing their own funding), must be supervised by a faculty member.

The information below is for PDFs, faculty members supervising PDFs, and host departments and research centres.

Policy and appointment procedures

UVic adopted an updated University Policy HR6310 Post-Doctoral Fellows Policy and Appointment Procedures in August 2010. The purpose of the policy is to:

  • define the eligibility requirements for a PDF appointment at the university;
  • establish the responsibilities of the faculty member as the supervisor and/or employer of a PDF;
  • establish the responsibilities of the PDF; and
  • outline the support provided by the university.

University Policy HR6305 - Employment under Externally Funded Grants and Contracts is also relevant to grant-funded PDFs, as it sets out some of their conditions of employment.

Faculty members who supervise PDFs and individuals interested in becoming post-doctoral fellows are advised to familiarise themselves with the policy and appointment procedures. Please also refer to the information for prospective post-doctoral fellows.

Policy reviews

For information on the review of the previous PDF policy that was completed in mid-2010, please see the policy review page.

Appointment process summary (including links to appointment documents)

The following is a summary of the appointment process. Supervisor and departments must also review University Policy HR6310 Post-Doctoral Fellows Policy and Appointment Procedures.

Note: Although PDF supervisors are responsible for the appointment process, they may receive assistance from their unit’s Administrative Officer (AO) who should be kept updated on all PDF appointments.

Essentially, there are four steps in the appointment process:

Step 1: Space and Facilities Form

PDF Supervisor: Complete and obtain necessary approvals on the  Confirmation of Space and Facilities Form (signatories include faculty member/PDF supervisor; chair or director; and dean of faculty).

Step 2: Letter of Offer

PDF Supervisor: Once Space and Facilities Form is signed, prepare the Letter of Offer using the appropriate template below based upon the employee funding (grant or external) and eligibility to work in Canada (Canadian or International).

  • Customize the letter as necessary being as explicit as possible, clarifying the terms of the offer
  • Sign the letter and send to the PDF for PDF’s signature
  • Copy of the letter should be retained and sent to Payroll with the recommendation for appointment form
Letter of Offer Templates

Step 3: Recommendation for appointment form

PDF Supervisor: Complete the appropriate Recommendation for Appointment form from the Accounting Services website. Depending on how the PDF is funded, it may be necessary to complete both forms.

Select from the links below to access the appropriate form:

If you any assistance with the Appointment Forms, please contact the Payroll Office at (250) 721-7034 or .

Step 4: PDF Supervisor and hiring department/research centre responsibilities

Mail or submit to the Payroll Office using the payroll sign and submit forms page:
  • A copy of the signed Letter of Offer
  • The original signed Appointment Form(s)

For more information about remotely submitting Payroll documents, please see the Accounting Services website

Mail or ORS:
  • A copy of the signed Space and Facilities Form
  • A copy of the signed Letter of Offer
  • A copy of the signed Appointment Form(s)

For more information about remotely submitting these documents to ORS, please see "Electronic documents submission" below. 

Hiring department/research centre must retain the following records:
  • Original of the signed Space and Facilities Form
  • Original of the signed Letter of Offer
  • Copy of the signed Appointment Form(s)
PDF Supervisor responsibilities:
  • obtain documented proof of the PDF having completed their PhD, and that the PhD was completed within the four-year period immediately prior to the start of the appointment
  • once the letter of offer is signed, ensure the PDF has:

Electronic document submission

As part of the university’s response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, staff are working remotely and in order to ensure the safety of staff and faculty, we are accepting emailed/scanned documents with electronic signatures and/or signatures authorized by email.

Signatories may use any of the following options to approve Post-doctoral Fellow documents:

  1. Affix your electronic signature using Adobe Acrobat (Fill and Sign, or other method)
  2. Print the document’s signature page, sign at the designated signature space, and email a scanned copy of the signature page
  3. Email their approval from their authorized UVic email address

Please email the saved/scanned documents with either a signatory’s electronic signature or email response to . Original forms with signatures should be retained by the unit/supervisor.

For COVID-19 research specific FAQs and FAQs for grant-funded employees and their supervisors, please refer to the UVic COVID-19 website.

Process for hiring international PDFs who are not physically present in Canada

In order to address payment challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the following processes have been developed to facilitate payment to individuals not physically present in Canada, who do not have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Canadian study / work permit or are providing services from outside Canada. Please ensure that when the payee arrives in Canada, they are transitioned quickly back to the usual process.

As we receive new information, our practice and processes may change and the information below will be updated to reflect any changes. We thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

Payments for services provided as a Post-Doctoral Fellow (PDF) who is retained by the faculty member and paid by their supervisor's grant(s) through a research account

Some departments may require the services of PDFs working remotely from the countries where they currently reside.  As these PDFs may not have a valid SIN or work permit and cannot travel to Canada, they will be paid via wire transfer as a contractor for their services. 

The department and the contractor need to complete and sign the International Services Agreement - Externally Funded form found on the Accounting Services International Student payments webpage in the Forms and resources section. The department needs to submit the completed form to .

Approval by a UVic email address will be accepted in cases where the contractor or approver is not able to physically sign the document. Electronic signatures will not be accepted. Contractors must include their uvic.ca email address as a part of the agreement. 

A monthly scheduled amount is included as a part of the agreement for one specific semester only. It is common for agreements to be longer than one semester and in this case, departments will need to complete a form for upcoming semesters. Forms for upcoming semesters will be available approximately one month before the term starts if travel restrictions remain in place. For links to forms from previous semesters, refer to the Accounting Services International Student payments website, Forms and resources section.

In February of each year, contractors/PDFs will receive a T4A slip for the previous tax year from the Accounts Payable office for any award amounts paid.

Contractors will not be covered by UVic insurance, have WorkSafeBC coverage or have any CPP, EI or tax remittances made on their behalf, but may be subject to withholding tax.

To request this type of payment, please complete the following:

  1. Department– Complete and approve the International Services Agreement - Externally Funded and send to Contractor
  2. Contractor– Complete and sign the International Services Agreement - Externally Funded and return to the Department
  3. Department – Ensure that the form includes the PDF’s UVic email address and submit to  for PDF services
  4. Department – Ensure that the PDF is aware of the implications of receiving a wire payment before agreeing to this payment method (see quick guide on accepting a wire payment)
  5. Contractor – Using the link provided from Western Union, complete the information to submit banking details (this will be provided directly from Western Union to the contractor)
  6. Accounts Payable – Process payments on a monthly basis as per form received

Please note that this process may be updated to reflect any changes for Summer 2021 and onward on the Accounting Services website.

Please ensure that when the payee arrives in Canada, they are transitioned quickly back to the usual PDF appointment process which will remove them from receiving business income to employment income and the payroll forms must be completed, with a notification to Accounts Payable to stop wire transfers. Please see Summary of appointment process (above) for more information. 

For more information, please contact .

Frequently asked questions

Read the Frequently asked questions about appointing post-doctoral fellows and answers to those questions.

Prospective PDF information

Learn more about becoming a PDF at UVic.

International PDFs

If you are a faculty supervisor wishing to recruit an international PDF or if you are a prospective international post-doctoral scholar, consider that getting the proper documentation can take time. International PDFs who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, will need to apply for a work permit and/or visa in order to come to Canada for their fellowship. Obtaining these documents is the PDF's responsibility and the process can take up to several months or more depending on where they are from.

If you are recruiting an international PDF, please read the new process for hiring international PDFs who are not physically present in Canada (in the Appointing a PDF section). 

Fellowship funding opportunities

There are several external Post-doctoral Fellowship opportunities available. All external funding applications must be approved internally before submission to the funding agency.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is the most prestigious, and competitive, postdoctoral award in Canada. The objective of the program is to attract top-tier postdoctoral trainees, at an internationally competitive level, to develop their leadership potential, positively contributing to Canada's economic, social and research-based growth.

A total of 70 fellowships are awarded each year, distributed equally between Canada's three Tri-Council Agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Fellowships are valued at $70,000 CAD (taxable income) per year for two years.

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Program distinguishes itself from other postdoctoral fellowships programs by its emphasis on the synergy between:

  • a top-tier candidate (their individual merit and potential to launch a successful research-intensive career); and
  • the host institution (its commitment to the research program and environment with which the applicant is to be affiliated).

Therefore, an applicant to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Program must complete their application in full collaboration with the proposed supervisor and host institution. The University of Victoria (UVic) will select and endorse only the highest-calibre postdoctoral candidates following an internal selection process.

Important dates:

  • UVic internal deadline (draft application): August 3, 2021; 11.59 pm PST (firm deadline)
  • Banting external deadline (full application): September 22, 2021; 5:00 pm PST

How to apply:

For more information on UVic's internal process for Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, contact igfacilitator@uvic.ca.

Hess Research Fellowship in Earth, Ocean, Astronomy and Environmental Sciences

The Dr. Margaret “Marmie” Perkins Hess Research Fellowship in Earth, Ocean, Astronomy and Environmental Sciences will support outstanding postdoctoral fellows in one or more of the following areas:

  • Earth sciences
  • Ocean sciences
  • Astronomy
  • Environmental sciences

Awards are valued at $55,000/year for up to two years to cover salary and benefits (10%) as well as an additional $2,000/year for research expenses. This is a one-time call for applications avaiable in 2021 only.

The application deadline is May 16, 2021 (11:59 pm PST). A total of five fellowships will be awarded.

Call for Proposals

Please direct any questions to igfacilitator@uvic.ca.

MITACS Elevate Post-doctoral Fellowships

  • Two-year fellowship valued at $55,000 per year (plus $7,500 per year non-cash value in training)
  • Customized training in professional and R&D management skills
  • Long-term research project with a partner organization in the private or non-profit sector
  • Open to all disciplines

For more information, please visit the MITACS website or contact .

Other major funding opportunities

For potential funding opportunities, see our list of major funding competitions for post-doctoral fellowships in Canada. Please refer to individual funder websites for full details on applicant eligibility, the application process and application forms.

How to apply for external funding

All external funding applications, except for the standard SSHRC and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships, must be approved internally before submission to the funding agency. Please submit a hard copy of your application together with a Research Summary Application Form (RASF) to the Office of Research Services at least one week prior to the external deadline.

The RASF requires the following signatures:

  • Academic Supervisor (must sign as PI for internal purposes)
  • Department Chair
  • Research Centre Director, if applicable
  • Dean of Faculty

For more information on UVic's external funding application process, please contact the or the .

Advertising PDF positions

Are you a faculty member seeking a PDF (either paid by your grant or who brings their own external funding)? Please contact the Office of Research Services for ideas on sharing PDF opportunities. Please email the following information to :  

  • faculty member/supervisor’s name
  • department/unit at which PDF will be held
  • a brief description in an email, electronic document (e.g., Word or Adobe PDF) or on a website (e.g., department, lab or personal research website) outlining the following:
    • description of the PDF position
    • salary/benefits offered
    • details on how to apply (what to submit, and how)
    • the application deadline

Please note that UVic does not have a central posting web page for advertising PDF positions. 

Contact us

If you are currently a post-doctoral fellow at UVic, your supervisor is always your first point of contact for any questions.


Office of Research Services