How to apply for post-doctoral top-up funding

The VPAC office makes a top-up fund available annually to attract outstanding post-doctoral fellows (PDFs) to the university. The fund supports faculties and departments in recruiting PDFs.


To qualify, the PDF must apply for and be awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Funds distribution

The funds will be distributed equitably across the Faculties.


The award of the top-up fund is premised on the assumption that the PDF will teach two courses, which increases the teaching capacity of the unit (i.e. this is not simply a substitution for existing resources).  As such, the PDF should receive sessional appointments for the two courses or may be appointed as a .33 Limited Term faculty member at Assistant rank.  If a Limited Term appointment exceeds one year (initially or through renewal), it is subject to the collective agreement, including the salary floor requirements.

The funding arrangement normally works out to be as follows:

Funding a SSHRC PDF

SSHRC stipend to the PDF: $38,000
Top up:

  • Department/faculty commitment: $10,604
  • VPAC commitment: $10,604

Application process

  • Before making any commitments to the PDF, the department should apply to the top-up fund by notifying their dean.
  • The dean should then send an email to to request the top-up funding.
  • The department will receive a FAST account number from the office of the VPAC once the request for the funding has been approved. The account number provided and any other accounts from which the department will cover their funding commitment should be entered in the "account(s) to be charged" section on the appointment form.
  • Departments may make any further financial commitment to the PDF if they are able to find the necessary resources outside of the top-up fund.

Please note: The stipend paid to the PDF is in the form of a monthly salary, and not based on a per-course rate. Therefore, if the PDF receives the salary for several months but for some reason departs (or accepts an academic position thus terminating their fellowship) before commencing their teaching, they retain the stipend paid to that point. Conversely, where they teach their course and then depart, the university's commitment comes to an end at that time. However, if the monthly salary paid to that point is, in total, less than the appropriate salary for a sessional, the university may pay the difference.