Policy on postdoctoral appointments

The University of Ottawa considers that postdoctoral fellows (PDF) are 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 meeting their needs. The University expects in return that postdoctoral fellows will comply with university policies, and will recognize their affiliation with the University in their publications and in their participation in scholarly meetings and endeavours.

Registering a postdoctoral appointment at the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies, is mandatory prior to undertaking any research work on campus. It provides an appointee with official status and access to a testimonial of completion, a conference travel grant and some of the activities offered through the Altitude and MyGradSkills professional skills-development program.

University of Ottawa postdoctoral appointments are based on the following:

  • Appointments are viewed as preparatory training to gain experience for a full-time academic or research career and not as a source of continuing employment.
  • Appointees work under the supervision of a faculty member at the University or one of its affiliated institutes.
  • Appointees are funded through a postdoctoral fellowship.
  • Appointees have the freedom to, and are expected to, publish the results of their research or scholarship during the period of their appointment.
  • The minimum length of an appointment is six months.
  • Registration to the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is mandatory for all postdoctoral fellows.
  • Registration in a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa should not exceed the fifth year of post-PhD training (including previous postdoctoral appointments at the University of Ottawa or elsewhere).
  • Initial registration for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa should take place within four years of completing a PhD (this period may be extended for recipients of postdoctoral fellowships from recognized external agencies if the agency’s eligibility period differs from that of the University of Ottawa).
  • Appointments involve substantial full-time research or scholarship; valid reasons for part-time work or reduced financial support include only maternity, parental and sick leaves.
  • For postdoctoral appointments, a minimum level of funding (stipend or fellowship) is required. This funding level is approved by the UO Research Commission and is currently set at $34,000 per year. The funding received from part-time teaching appointments at the University can also be considered in order to reach the minimal level of funding.

We recommend postdoctoral appointees and their supervisors complete a non-binding Individual Development Plan (IDP) in order to define their respective expectations for the postdoctoral appointment. Each academic unit is free to develop its own version of such a plan. An 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 postdoctoral fellow to check the regulations of the granting agency.

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Contact us

Do you have questions about postdoctoral fellowships? Do not hesitate to contact an officer at postdoc@uOttawa.ca

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