Funding Opportunities

Opportunity: Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships (U of Toronto; Contact relevant Faculty for internal deadline)

Award Overview

Value & Duration

Funding will be available to engage seven postdoctoral fellows per year for up to twenty-one postdoctoral fellows over the three-year pilot program.

Each award will provide $70,000 per year to Faculties to support up to two years of postdoctoral salary and benefits. This level of funding exceeds the median postdoctoral salary at the University of Toronto, and is in keeping with Canada’s most prestigious postdoctoral awards. The Fellowship may be used to fund both the PDF’s gross salary and employer costs (10% Standard Benefit Rate, and $50/month Green Shield contribution), or only the gross salary, in which case, the faculty/unit/department would be responsible for covering the additional employer costs. Units/departments have the option, and are encouraged, to augment the salary support from a variety of sources, including operating budget, faculty advisor funds such as research grants, other awards, etc. It is expected that successful postdoctoral fellows will also receive a start-up fund of $5,000 per year, funded through the Faculty Research Office or faculty advisor. (Please note that funding will continue during Year Four for those postdoctoral fellows who received their initial funding in year three of the pilot project.)


The University of Toronto Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program provides funding to Graduate Faculties to increase opportunities for hiring postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented groups, specifically Indigenous and Black researchers. These fellowships will enable postdoctoral researchers to grow their scholarly profiles, undertake academic work at the University of Toronto, and strengthen the research environment at the University with diverse perspectives.

This funding is designed to help the University compete with peer institutions for top-tier candidates, and to support the University in meeting its institutional goal of fostering increased diversity and representation at all levels of teaching, learning and research. The funding is being offered as a pilot program for three years which was inaugurated in March 2019.

Nominees must be nominated by their prospective Faculties/divisions following the timeline and processes outlined below. While the nomination/application process will normally begin with faculty advisors/mentors, funding for the successful nominees will be provided to their respective Faculty Research Office for administration.

Read about the Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 Fellows.


The award is open to both domestic and international post-graduates.

Nominees must:

  • Demonstrate academic excellence and high potential for success in their chosen fields;
  • Identify as Indigenous and/or Black;
  • Have obtained a doctoral degree, normally within the last five years from the start date of the funding, or will have obtained the degree at the time the fellowship commences; and
  • Not have held a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship previously.

Recipients must:

  • Begin the fellowship by December 31, 2020;
  • Submit proof of completion of degree no later than three months after the fellowship commences if they had not fulfilled all requirements for their degree at the time of nomination;
  • Be associated with a supervisor appointed to a graduate unit;
  • Be a postdoctoral employee of the University of Toronto;
  • Register and remain registered with the Postdoctoral Office at SGS;
  • Not hold concurrently another major fellowship;
  • Not hold a faculty position or be on leave from such a position; and
  • Establish an IDP within the first three months of the fellowship, which should be reviewed annually (a copy of the initial and revised IDP must be provided to the Postdoctoral Office at SGS).

At the University of Toronto, we strive to be an equitable and inclusive community, rich with diversity, protecting the human rights of all persons, and based upon understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of every person. We seek to ensure to the greatest extent possible that all students and employees enjoy the opportunity to participate as they see fit in the full range of activities that the University offers, and to achieve their full potential as members of the University community.

Selection Criteria

Applications received by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) will be evaluated based on the following selection criteria. Applicants, supervisors, graduate units/departments, and faculties are encouraged to consider these criteria when developing their applications and when selecting nominees to be forwarded:

  • Excellence of the research proposal and nominee’s CV;
  • Nomination letter from the supervisor, demonstrating the fit between the research interests/background of the supervisor and applicant, and the anticipated mutual benefits. Provide specifics about how the proposed research complements the supervisor’s ongoing projects and/or new research directions.
  • Support letter from the graduate unit/department Chair, addressing how the nominee meets the eligibility criteria and confirming that the nominee intends to accept the offer if funding is made available. The letter should illustrate the synergy between the research proposal and the research goals of the supervisor/unit/department, as well as the mission of the University. The letter should outline support of the nominee by demonstrating how the Faculty/unit/department and applicant will benefit from this engagement.

Application Process

Applicants must be nominated by their Faculty (e.g. Faculty of Arts and Science) to SGS. Potential nominees interested in the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program should contact the nominating supervisor. Supervisors wishing to support a candidate’s application must contact their graduate unit/department Chair and affiliated Faculty Research Office to inquire about the nomination process and Faculty’s internal deadline.

To request funding support for a fellowship, Faculty Research Offices are invited to submit a ranked nomination spreadsheet (template attached) and a nomination package for each nominee to the School of Graduate Studies at by the deadline date.  Faculty Research Offices may wish to establish an internal deadline, application and selection process before forwarding nominations to the School of Graduate Studies.

The nomination package for each nominee should be scanned as a single PDF file, containing all application materials in the order as listed below:

  • A support letter from the graduate unit/department Chair, as per the selection criteria above (maximum two pages). Be sure to clearly state in the letter, with which underrepresented group (Indigenous and/or Black) the nominee identifies;
  • A nomination letter from the faculty advisor/mentor, as per the selection criteria above;
  • Statement of research intent from the nominee (maximum two pages);
  • Nominee’s C.V. (no page restriction); and
  • A draft letter of offer (prepared by the Business Officer of the unit/department).

For the first award cycle of the pilot project, funding was made available to the first seven successful nominees. This approach enabled the University to rapidly recruit a cohort of top nominees while gathering information necessary to adjust the nomination/application process for subsequent award cycles of the pilot program. Possible adjustments may be made in these subsequent award cycles due to the University’s commitments as part of the criteria.


Results of the competition will be made available to Faculty Research Offices in June 2020.

Contacts & Resources

For information regarding the selection process, please see Faculty Research Office contact information (table below) or:

Sarah Pickering, Postdoctoral Administrative Officer

Postdoctoral Office, School of Graduate Studies


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