Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

What is a Postdoctoral Scholar?

The University defines a Postdoctoral Scholar as an individual who meets the following criteria:

Length of Term

The appointment of a PDF or PDA is time-limited and not ongoing. Generally, PDFs and PDAs are appointed for a term of one to four years, with the possibility of a one year renewal.

Postdoctoral Fellow or Postdoctoral Associate?

There are two types of relationships that a Faculty Supervisor and a Postdoctoral Scholar may enter into –  Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF) or Postdoctoral Associate (PDA).

Postdoctoral Scholars who receive more than 10% of their funding from "internal" sources (i.e. from a supervisor's research grants or contracts, or from a research unit of the university), are considered employees of Western. In these circumstances, the Postdoctoral Scholar is a Postdoctoral Associate (PDA) and he or she will be in an employment relationship with the University.  The terms and conditions of his or her working relationship with the faculty supervisor will be governed by the collective agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).

Postdoctoral Scholars who receive more than 90% of their funding from an external source (awarded to the postdoc, not to the supervisor) are not eligible for the employment status and are viewed as independents contractors. These postdoctoral scholars are designated as Postdoctoral Fellows (PDF).

Before seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Scholar, faculty researchers must assess the source of funding, which will determine whether the prospective Postdoctoral Scholar is a Fellow (PDF) or an Associate (PDA).

Please note, however, that Postdoctoral Scholars who are funded directly by a granting agency and do not receive payment through the Western Human Resources system are not eligible for the PDA employment status.

Postdoctoral Fellows:

Postdoctoral Associates: