Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) frequently asked questions

I previously applied for an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF) but was not successful. Can I apply again?

  • Yes, you can! As of the 2021 competition (application deadline of October 19, 2020), NSERC changed this eligibility criterion. If you previously applied and were unsuccessful, you can now reapply, provided you still meet all other eligibility criteria.

I’m also applying for the Banting PDF. Do I need to submit a separate application for the NSERC PDF?

  • Yes, you do. 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 – a separate application must be submitted if eligibility requirements are met.

Should I apply for the NSERC PDF through the university or directly? What’s the university deadline to apply?

  • There is no institutional deadline; applicants must apply for this opportunity directly through the agency.

Is there somebody at Waterloo who can review my draft application and research proposal?

  • It is best to have your host supervisor review your application and research proposal as they are best suited to ensure your documents align with the proposed arrangements. We also recommend having your colleagues review your materials to ensure completeness and appropriate writing style.

I need to upload a copy of my Waterloo transcript to my application. How do I get an electronic copy of it?

  • Please email the Scholarships and Awards team in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs to request your Waterloo transcripts. Include your full name and Waterloo student identification number and we will email your electronic transcript to you as a pdf so that you can upload it to your NSERC PDF application.

If I am successful in receiving the NSERC PDF, can I hold it even if I receive some sort of payment from Waterloo?

  • Yes. Per the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide, the tri-agency does not place restrictions on outside sources of funding that an award holder would hold concurrently*. Recipients, however, will need to know what the regulations are for other funding being issued.

*Recipients cannot hold a Banting and a tri-agency PDF at the same time.

I was successful in the NSERC PDF competition! I need to submit a “Degree Completion” form. Who do I get to sign the form at Waterloo?

  • Please send an email request to our Office Assistant in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs with a copy of your pre-completed form attached. Include your full name and Waterloo student identification number in the body of your email and she/he will email you the completed copy back as a pdf attachment.

I was successful in the NSERC PDF competition! How do I get paid?

  • Beginning April 2022, all NSERC and SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship award recipients will be paid through the eligible Canadian host institution. The host institution will be required to issue T4As. Details and instructions can be found in the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.

Someone at the institution needs to sign my “Request for Instalment or Reinstatement of Award Paid Directly to Award Holder (pdf)” form. Who signs it?

  • There is a section on this form called “Part 4: CONFIRMATION OF STATUS”; it is the head of the department or department chair who we recommend sign the form as they are best suited to confirm that you will be engaged in full-time research. You will then submit your form directly to the agency; there is no need to submit it to anyone at the institution after the head of the department signs. 

How do I ensure I receive communications from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs?

  • Contact Human Resources to ensure they have your personal information, including contact information, on file.