Authorization and Approval

Authorization: Board of Governors / University Council
Approval Date: Dec 16, 2004; University Council April 15, 2021; Board of Governors June 22, 2021

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Collective Agreement between the University of Saskatchewan and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Local 40004 (Post Doctoral Fellows) ( 

1.0 Guiding Principles

1.1  Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs) are valuable members of the University of Saskatchewan community. As trained researchers, they have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the vitality of the university’s research environment.

The PDFs’ primary objectives include developing the skills and knowledge necessary to become independent investigators and make scholarly contributions to the conception, development and completion of research projects.

2.0 Purpose

2.1  The purpose of this policy is to define the status and the role of a person holding an appointment as a PDF (see “appointment categories for PDFs” below) and, in support of this purpose, to establish the requirements for such appointments and to outline the scope of a PDF’s intended activities.

3.0 Scope

3.1  This policy applies to PDFs (whether in-scope or externally funded), faculty members, and administrators at the University of Saskatchewan.

4.0 Definitions

4.1  Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF): An individual who holds a Postdoctoral Fellowship appointment.

4.1.1 There are two appointment categories for PDFs:

a)  A PDF who receives full or partial funding from university sources (e.g., from a research grant or contract obtained by their supervisor, from a research unit of the University, etc.) is considered an employee of the University of Saskatchewan and will be appointed in-scope of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Local 40004 (referred to as an in-scope PDF). The terms and conditions of their working relationship with the faculty supervisor will be governed by the Collective Agreement between the University of Saskatchewan and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Local 40004 (Post Doctoral Fellows).

b)  A PDF who has secured 100% of their own transferrable funding from an external source (e.g., NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, SHRF Research Fellowship, etc. awarded directly to the PDF, not to the supervisor) is not an employee of the university and will be appointed as an external PDF. In some cases, funding derived from external sources may be administered through the university payroll system as a “paymaster,” but it does not constitute an employment relationship.

c)  Unless otherwise required by the context, both in-scope and external PDFs will be referred to in this policy simply as PDF's.

4.2  Faculty member: Any professional position at or through the University of Saskatchewan, excluding PDFs, that confers the right to hold a research grant. For purposes of this definition, a “faculty member” includes a person holding an appointment at the university in one of the following ranks: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Adjunct Professor, and Professor Emeritus.

4.3  Supervisor: The individual to whom the PDF reports directly in the performance of their research (and sometimes teaching) duties, and with whom the PDF carries out research projects. The supervisor shall be a member of the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS).

4.4  University: University of Saskatchewan

5.0 Policy

The following applies to all PDFs, regardless of whether they are in-scope or externally funded.

5.1  Appointment Requirements and Eligibility

5.1.1  CGPS is the college responsible for the academic and administrative needs of PDFs at the University of Saskatchewan. All PDFs shall be appointed through and registered with CGPS. Guidelines regarding these appointment and registration processes are available on the CGPS website. The information gathered from these processes may be used to provide information for both strategic and research planning.

5.1.2  The PDF must normally have been awarded a PhD or equivalent within five (5) years immediately preceding the appointment.

5.1.3  Appointments are normally one-to-two years and may be renewable to a maximum of five years from the year of PhD conferral.

5.1.4  An exception to the requirements set out in section 5.1.3 may be made by the Associate Dean, CGPS, on request by the supervisor, but only when such an application is made in advance, in writing.

5.1.5  All PDFs must have a supervisor.

5.1.6  All PDFs are required to adhere to all university policies, the respective collective agreement and relevant legislation as applicable.

5.1.7  At all times, both the offer and the continuation of an appointment as a PDF will be subject to the availability of sufficient funding.

5.1.8  PDFs may be appointed full-time or part-time.

5.2 Research Responsibilities

5.2.1  The supervisor is required to provide a research environment suitable for the completion of the research project(s) that the PDF will undertake. The nature of this research should be appropriate to the PDF’s desire to gain additional skills, knowledge, and expertise relevant to future career goals.

5.2.2  The supervisor is required to manage the research space and activity to ensure compliance with university policies including certificates for Animal Care, and Human Ethics.

5.2.3  The PDF must acknowledge the role of the supervisor in the general direction of the research and provide all research results and conclusions to the supervisor in a timely and cooperative manner.

5.2.4  The supervisor and PDF must comply with the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy, other university policies, the respective collective agreement and relevant legislation as applicable.

6.0 Additional Items

Additional information for appointments of external PDFs is outlined here.

Additional employment information for in-scope PDFs is outlined in the USask/PSAC Collective Agreement (Post Doctoral Fellows), including hours of work, vacation, leaves of absence, postings and appointments, etc.