Office of Research and Ethics Services
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Policy on Postdoctoral Appointments

Saint Paul University (SPU) believes that postdoctoral fellows (PDFs) should be an integral part of the University community and contribute to its mission. It therefore wishes to offer postdoctoral fellows official status, enhance the value of their experiences, and offer services that meet their needs. The University expects in return that PDFs will comply with University policies and will recognize their affiliation with the University in their publications and in their participation in scholarly meetings and other activities.

Basic rules

  • Postdoctoral appointments are viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic or research career, and not as a source of continuing employment.
  • The key objective of a postdoctoral appointment is to facilitate full-time research.
  • Initial registration for a postdoctoral fellowship should take place within four years of completing a Ph.D.
  • Registration in a postdoctoral fellowship should not exceed the fifth year of post-Ph.D. training (including previous postdoctoral appointments at SPU or elsewhere).
  • Appointees work under the supervision of a faculty member at the University.
  • Appointees are encouraged to publish the results of their research during the period of their appointment.
  • Appointees are funded through either a stipend received from their supervisor or a fellowship.
  • The minimum length of an appointment is eight months; appointees must be remunerated.

Sources of funding

  • Candidates for postdoctoral appointments may apply for research funding from external agencies (e.g., SSHRC, CIHR).
  • Research supervisors may apply for research funding from external agencies (e.g., SSHRC, CIHR) and may allocate part of that funding to hiring a postdoctoral fellow.
  • PDFs may be assigned teaching duties, in accordance with the terms of the collective agreement governing SPU’s part-time faculty.

Roles and responsibilities of research supervisors

Research supervisors are responsible for:

  • Orienting PDFs to the program and providing guidance for the duration of the appointment.
  • Ensuring that the work environment is conducive to effective joint research, in accordance with the University’s policies and regulations.
  • Ensuring that PDFs have sufficient financial resources to complete their fellowship successfully.
  • Ensuring that PDFs complete and submit, no later than their date of arrival, the Postdoctoral Registration form.
  • Establishing an effective scientific partnership with PDFs to prepare them for a research career (academic or non-academic).
  • Helping to integrate PDFs into the University community and the local social and cultural environment.
  • Acknowledging PDFs’ research and achievements.
  • Conducting a performance review annually (or, for fellowships lasting less than a year, at the end of the appointment term).

Roles and responsibilities of postdoctoral fellows

PDFs are responsible for:

  • Conducting their research projects in accordance with established policies and standards of the research environment.
  • Understanding, respecting, and abiding by all of the administrative regulations, procedures, and policies of the University that apply to postdoctoral fellowships.
  • Submitting the completed Postdoctoral Registration form to the Office of Research and Ethics according to established procedures.
  • Undergoing a periodic performance review(s) required to maintain their status.

Individual Development Plan

  • PDFs and their supervisors may complete a non-binding Individual Development Plan (IDP) to define their respective expectations for the postdoctoral appointment. Each academic unit is free to develop its own version of such a plan. IDP template is available online (.doc).


  • Some external granting agencies approve only two- or three-year postdoctoral appointments. It is the responsibility of both the supervisor and the PDF to check the regulations of the granting agency.
  • Registering a postdoctoral appointment entitles the appointee to eligibility for conference travel grants, access to the University library, and a testimonial of completion.


Steps to becoming a postdoctoral fellow at Saint Paul UniversitY

Find a research supervisor

To initiate the process for a postdoctoral appointment, you must contact a professor in your area of interest to inquire about postdoctoral opportunities and the possibility of supervising your research.

To identify potential research supervisors whose research activities may be of interest to you:

  • Visit the websites of individual faculties, where you can usually find a list of faculty members and their research areas.
  • Consult the list of graduate programs offered at the University and select a program of interest. You’ll find a list of professors associated with the program under the “Teaching Personnel” tab.

In some cases, postdoctoral fellowships are funded directly by the research supervisor from the supervisor’s research funds. You may also consult the list of postdoctoral fellowships from external agencies. There is a minimum level of funding required for postdoctoral appointments.

Once you and a research supervisor have reached an agreement, your supervisor will send you a formal letter of offer outlining the nature of the planned research, confirming the nature and conditions of financial support and providing other relevant details.

For all postdoctoral fellows

Complete a Postdoctoral Registration Form and have your research supervisor sign the form.

Then submit the form and the required documents to the Office of Research and Ethics.

If all your documents are in order, the Vice Rector, Academic and Research will confirm the appointment.

For postdoctoral fellows who do not have Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status

You must complete all immigration procedures before travelling to Canada. If your immigration paperwork is not in order when you arrive, you will have problems entering the country and could even be turned away, in which case you will not be allowed to undertake your postdoctoral training at Saint Paul University. 

It is important that your immigration status remain valid for the duration of your stay. If your permits expire before the end of your study period or internship, you must renew them. You may apply for an extension while you are in Canada as long as you submit the application before your current permits expire.

Prior to your departure, submit the letter of offer from your research supervisor or the agency funding your postdoctoral fellowship to Canadian authorities, who will then issue a work permit reflecting your status as a postdoctoral fellow. You can apply for a work permit online through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website:

Once you have arrived in Canada, apply for a social insurance number (SIN) at Service Canada, located at 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, Ontario.

You must also register for the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) unless you provide proof of health insurance coverage that has been recognized as comparable through the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities' UHIP program (

Renewal of appointment

If you are eligible to renew your postdoctoral registration, and if your research supervisor agrees, please send a duly completed Postdoctoral Registration form to the Office of Research and Ethics.

End of final appointment

With the approval of your research supervisor, you can obtain a Postdoctoral Fellowship Testimonial confirming that you have successfully completed your postdoctoral appointment at Saint Paul University.