Please check the news section of this website for the latest postdoctoral fellow job postings. You are also encouraged to search the Carleton website for faculty members who share your research interests and then contact them directly to express your interest in becoming a postdoc.

Once you find a potential faculty member or research unit interested in hosting you as a postdoc, they will need to appoint you.

Please note that if you are an international postdoc candidate, you must relocate to Canada to complete a fellowship at Carleton University.

5 Tips on Applying for a Postdoctoral Fellowship

Bivens-RenaBanting Fellow Rena Bivens, who is now a faculty member in the School of Journalism and Communication, has been recognized nationally and internationally for her research. She is currently investigating the design of social media platforms to discover how and why non-profit organizations (NPOs) are using them. Bivens is particularly interested in the use of these technologies by NPOs to educate and advocate for strategies and policies that aim to end gender-based violence.

She has five tips for PhD students who are interested in obtaining a postdoctoral fellowship when they graduate:

  • Do your best to find a good match for your work, both in terms of supervisor and university/department
  • Ensure that you make the connections in your application (i.e. stress that the supervisor and university is a great fit because of Institute X and fellow colleagues Y and Z, etc)
  • Depart from your PhD research but choose something that you are very passionate about
  • Make many, many drafts of your proposal and ask WIDELY for feedback; send it around to people even when you are not entirely happy with it; also, talk casually to as many people as you can about your ideas so that you are forced to keep reformulating your thoughts
  • Figure out what gap you are hoping to fill and make the case for why it is vital that your work is funded

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded to top-tier Canadian and international postdoctoral researchers at an internationally competitive level of funding. They are named after Dr. Frederick Banting who discovered insulin, enabling people with diabetes to live long and healthy lives. Learn more on  on the Government of Canada Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship website.

10 More Tips on Applying for a Postdoctoral Fellowship

Sophie TamasSophie Tamas is one of three Carleton recipients of the prestigious 2013 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. She is now a Carleton faculty member.

Tamas, who is with the School of Canadian Studies and Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, has been recognized by her peers for her desire to push the boundaries of autoethnographic research. She has written an acclaimed book that examines the very private world of spousal abuse and is currently researching emotional geography, sites of memory and managing loss. Dr. Tamas is committed to interdisciplinary research in a variety of fields, including human geography, social work, sociology, women’s studies and Canadian studies.

She has the following 10 tips for PhD students interested in pursuing a Postdoctoral Fellowship:

  1. Browse faculty webpages in potentially suitable departments in universities located in places where you’d be willing to move. I got my first PDF by emailing a total stranger based on her online bio and pitching my research project. I had no training in her discipline but my project was a good fit.
  2. Have a clear sense of what you want to do with your PDF – something other than writing up your dissertation as a book. It can build on your doctoral research but ought to move things forward – ideally, as part of a longer term, say, five year plan. Make sure your project is something you care about deeply – that you’re pursuing your passion – otherwise it will be really hard to persuade others to get on board.
  3. Be sure you can explain your proposed research project clearly, briefly, and simply – what you want to do, how, and to what end.
  4. Let your little light shine – don’t squirm too much while stating your accomplishments and capacities. You have to believe you and your project deserve support – but you also have to remember that you’re one star among many. Coming across as arrogant is not going to make others want to work with you. A PDF is a huge privilege and there’s probably thousands of smarter, harder working folks who never get one.
  5. Be academically productive. The thing that sells you is your track record. Get through your PhD efficiently, apply for PDFs immediately afterwards, and publish regularly. There are all kinds of academic journals out there – find one within reach. A few articles based on your doctoral work and published quickly will serve you better than a book that languishes for years. If you are finding it hard to get things written, do some honest self-assessment. What are you spending your time on? What’s holding you back?
  6. Have a high tolerance for working alone; PDF supervision can be very hands-off. You have to be self-structuring and self-motivated, and not expect much from a sponsoring supervisor. Working with you ought to be value-added for them.
  7. Have a solid backup plan. In addition to my academic life, I work and volunteer in small-town non-profit social services, pursue hobbies, renovate my house, raise three kids, and do outdoor activities. Stay connected to the world outside school so that you don’t feel like your life depends on winning the PDF lottery.
  8. Plan on being broke. Most PDFs pay poorly. The income is taxable but no deductions are taken, so you’ll have a big bill every April.
  9. Try not to spend your entire PDF working on applications for ‘real’ academic jobs. It is a necessary but soul-crushing process that needs to take up a limited part of your life.
  10. Don’t rely on anyone to get the PDF for you. Do all the leg work. Offer to “help” (ie, ghost write) letters of support or other materials that you need from other busy people. Make sure everything you send out is technically perfect – if you can’t do your own proofreading, hire a pro, but don’t rely on others to find your typos and fix your grammar.

The Banting program is designed to attract and develop top-tier researchers from Canada and around the world. Each year, 70 fellowships are awarded, with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Canadian Institute for Health Research. Each fellow will receive $140,000 in research funding over two years.