Please note: Information and dates may be revised depending on further information from the agency and resources available.

The information contained on this web page pertains to the 2021 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships competition and the internal administration and evaluation process at the University of Waterloo.

What is the Banting PDF?

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDF) Program was created to attract and retain top-tier national and international postdoctoral talent, to develop their leadership potential and to position them for success as research leaders of tomorrow, positively contributing to Canada's economic, social and research-based growth through a research-intensive career.  

With only 70 available annually, this fellowship is the most prestigious and competitive of those offered by the Federal Government. The Fellowship program is administered by and distributed equally among Canada’s three federal granting agencies:

The Banting PDF is valued at $70,000 per year (taxable) for two years. It is open to eligible Canadian and international applicants.

How do applicants get considered?

Interested applicants must complete the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program application, available in ResearchNet, in collaboration with the proposed host institution. Without exception, Banting PDFs are tenable ONLY at the institution that supported the original application.

In an effort to support researchers in broadening their research horizons and seeking new challenges and opportunities, the Banting program strongly encourages candidates to pursue this fellowship at an institution where they have not been previously or are currently affiliated (e.g., previous or current PhD student or postdoctoral fellow).

An institution is not provided with a quota on the number of fellowships it can host. However, institutions are required to be strategic in determining the number of applicants they endorse, given the limited number of fellowships that are awarded. The selection process within institutions is a rigorous one. To provide guidance on potential candidates’ likelihood of success, the following summarizes the qualifications of recent Banting recipients at the University of Waterloo:

  • Applicant has held a number of meritorious institutional awards;
  • Applicant has an exceptional publication record in the candidate's discipline, typically with evidence of an emerging, independently-defined research program;
  • Applicant actively engaged in community and scholarly activities, with an emphasis on research and knowledge dissemination;
  • Applicant’s proposed research aligns with Waterloo’s strategic priorities.

What are the critical steps in the application process?

1. Confirm eligibility

Canadian citizens, permanent residents and international students are eligible to apply for the Banting PDF.

Interested applicants must review the official eligibility criteria and selection criteria on the official Banting PDF website before beginning their application.

Applicants can apply for both the Banting PDF and other agency-specific postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at the same time. An application for the Banting does not automatically mean an application is submitted to the agency-specific postdoctoral fellowship opportunity – applicants must submit a separate application if eligibility requirements are met.

2. Applicants contact a proposed University of Waterloo faculty member to be a supervisor

Critical components of the Banting assessment include the research interests shared by the candidate and the proposed supervisor, and the expected benefits produced by their collaboration.

The first component of the application includes obtaining endorsement from a University of Waterloo faculty member. Applicants should consider the proposed faculty member’s research and the alignment with their own research expertise and background prior to contacting the prospective faculty member. 

When contacting a Waterloo faculty member to obtain endorsement for the Banting PDF, applicants are encouraged to include a link to this Banting web page to provide contextual details of the opportunity. Applicants are encouraged to share their up-to-date curriculum vitae and a proposed outline of research that can be accomplished as part of the Banting Fellowship with the Waterloo faculty member. 

As part of the application, proposed supervisors will be required to provide a Supervisor’s Statement that emphasizes the academic and professional opportunities that are expected to emerge. The Supervisor’s Statement will be due to GSPA by July 9, 2021.

3. University of Waterloo faculty member submits an endorsement form; applicant informed

Once a partnership has been arranged between the applicant and the faculty member, the proposed supervisor who is in support of the candidate’s application will complete and submit a Banting endorsement form (Graduate Studies forms website) by June 11, 2021.

Following receipt of the form, staff in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) will send an email to the applicant inviting them to complete the next steps in the application process (as below).

4. Applicant creates a ResearchNet and a Canadian Common CV account

All applicants must have a ResearchNet account in order to complete the Banting application. Additionally, a specific Vanier-Banting academic CCV completed on the Canadian Common CV website is required. The CV will get linked to the Banting application within ResearchNet. Further details about this can be found under Task 4 in the Banting application guide.

5. Applicants select and contact referees

Three referees, one of whom must be at arm’s length, are required. Referees must be able to provide relevant evidence, perspectives and insight to support the review of the application based on the selection criteria. The assessments contribute to a major part of the evaluation of the application and its potential success. Applicants should direct their referees to the official agency website for additional information and instructions.

Referees must email a pdf copy of the actual assessment they complete within ResearchNet OR a letter* that addresses the criteria outlined on the agency website to Heidi Mussar by 12:00 p.m. EDT on July 9, 2021.*

Since the agency does NOT provide institutions with administrative access to referee assessments submitted via ResearchNet, the University of Waterloo must receive the referee’s appraisal prior to endorsement in order to make a fully informed evaluation of the applicant’s candidacy. Failure to provide the assessment may result in the applicant being disadvantaged during the institutional adjudication process.

*If the applicant is endorsed to go forward to the national level competition, the referee will be required to complete an assessment within ResearchNet, if not already submitted.

6. Fulfillment of degree requirements form

Applicants must obtain a completed Fulfillment of Degree Requirements Form from the institution that conferred (or will be conferring) the PhD, PhD-equivalent or health professional degree that confirms the date of fulfillment of all degree requirements. For applicants who have not yet completed their PhD degree requirements, Section 2 on the form should be completed by the Department Head (Chair) who should also then sign the form.

7. Refer to the application guide

Applicants must refer to the Application Guide for complete instructions for how to complete the application in ResearchNet and the Common CV. The guide provides essential details for each section of the application.

8. Applicants submit pdf copy of completed application to GSPA

Applicants, who receive approval to proceed with their formal application at the University of Waterloo (see step 3 above), must email a pdf of their Banting PDF application and CCV to Heidi Mussar in GSPA no later than the NON-NEGOTIABLE deadline of 12:00 p.m. EDT on July 9, 2021. The following parts of the application are required by this firm deadline:

  • CCV - using the Vanier-Banting academic template
  • Banting application details - a pdf of the actual application that is completed in ResearchNet (a pdf of the preview version is required, NOT a print screen; normally 5-6 pages)
  • Significance of Research Contributions - max. 1 page
  • Significance of Leadership Contributions - max. 1 page
  • Fulfillment of degree requirements form - even if PhD has not yet been completed
  • Special Circumstances, if applicable - max. 1 page
  • Research Proposal - max. 4 pages
  • Bibliography - max. 4 pages

Note: the institutional endorsement letter is NOT required at this time. It will only be provided to applicants selected for institutional endorsement.

Waterloo's administrative review process

GSPA will compile application packages (including letters of assessment from the three referees and the preliminary “supervisor’s statement”) for access by Faculty Associate Deans, Graduate Studies.

Faculty Associate Deans, Graduate Studies will select and notify GSPA and Department Chairs in August of their top 3 highly competitive candidates who should be brought forward for institutional consideration.

There will be an institutional adjudication of Faculty-selected applications in September by a committee comprised of the Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, Assistant Vice-Presidents, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs and each of the six Faculty Associate Deans, Graduate Studies. Feedback is then provided to the applicants selected for institutional endorsement and their proposed supervisor. Any outstanding documentation (i.e., institutional letter of endorsement and finalized supervisor statement) is provided to the endorsed applicants prior to the agency deadline of 8:00 p.m. EDT on September 22, 2021. Applicants who receive institutional endorsement are responsible for submitting ALL material into ResearchNet by this deadline.

For a complete timeline regarding Waterloo’s process, please visit the link below.

Waterloo’s timeline

Visit Waterloo’s Banting PDF timeline for details.


  • I am already receiving funding from my proposed supervisor. Why should I apply?
    • If successful with the Banting, this is funding that you can call your own and add to your CV. It also adds prestige to your portfolio and helps you look competitive if you apply for other opportunities
  • I am already in a postdoctoral position at the University of Waterloo. Can I apply for the Banting to be held here anyway?
    • If you have been affiliated for more than six months with Waterloo in a postdoctoral position, and meet the rest of the eligibility criteria, you may apply but must justify why you need to continue to remain here. Refer to the application guide for examples of valid justifications.
  • I have previously applied for a Banting but was not successful. Can I apply again?
    • Yes – providing you are still within the eligibility window to do so.
  • Do my referees have to be from Waterloo, or can I pick a referee from a foreign institution?
    • The referees do not have to be from Waterloo. Yes, you can select a referee from a foreign institution. It is also permitted for all referees to be from international institutions. The only stipulation is that at least one referee must be at arm’s length as indicated in the Application Guide.
    • For more information about referees, review the "Identify Referees" section of the Application Guide and the Information for Referees webpage. 
  • I haven’t yet completed the degree requirements for my PhD. So, who signs the “fulfillment of degree completion form” at the institution?
    • Section 2 should be filled out by the Chair (or Head) of the Department in which you are registered as they would be best suited to advise when they expect the degree requirements to be met. They would then also sign as the “Authorized Official”.
  • ​​​​How do I provide Waterloo with a copy of the “application details” from ResearchNet?
    • Within ResearchNet, you can save your application as a pdf document. To do this, select “Preview” from the main Tasks menu; once the new page opens, select the “Preview” option from the Actions column. From there you can save the document as a pdf.
  • How do referees provide Waterloo with a copy of their assessment that they completed within ResearchNet?
    • In the automated ResearchNet message to referees, they are provided with the following instructions: “Once your assessment has been submitted, you can view it by using the link below. However, no further edits can be made. Click on the link below to access the referee form. If this does not work, copy and paste the link into your browser.” The submitted assessment opens up automatically as a pdf document. If the assessment has only been completed but NOT submitted yet, there is a “Save as PDF” button.
  • Will I receive feedback about my application from the institutional committee?
    • Applicants selected for endorsement will be given the opportunity to update their application based on feedback relayed to them after the institutional selection meeting.
    • Applicants who are not sent forward to the national competition and who would like feedback are encouraged to reach out to the Faculty Associate Dean Graduate Studies of the Faculty where they were proposing to hold the fellowship.
  • Do I need the institutional endorsement letter to apply to Waterloo?
    • No – this letter will only be provided to applicants selected for institutional endorsement to the national level competition; it will be provided by GSPA to the selected applicants for them to upload to their application prior to the agency deadline.

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Updated April 21, 2021