Postdoctoral Fellows


There are two types of Postdoctoral Fellows at SFU: External PDFs and Internal PDFs, related to their funding source. It is vital that staff and faculty members who assist PDFs administratively understand the difference between the two types, as the administrative procedures for the two types of PDFs are different. Please see Postdoctoral Fellows Policy R.50.03

  1. External PDF's who have secured funding from an external funding organization or a fellowship program which is external to the University and whose salary is paid wholly from such funding will be appointed as an External PDF.

    An External PDF is not an employee of the University. Faculty Relations will issue a Letter of Invitation to begin the SFU administration of these PDFs. Use of the University's facilities to manage and account for an External PDF’s funding, including processing of payroll and administration benefits, does not alter the status of an appointment as an External PDF.

    External PDF earnings are not insurable. Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance will not be deducted. However, External PDF earnings are subject to Canadian income tax deductions. A T4 will be generated at year end.

  2. Internal PDFs whose salary is paid in whole or in part either from funds held by a University faculty member or from the University’s financial resources or a combination of the two will be appointed as an Internal PDF. An Internal PDF is an employee of the University. Faculty Relations will issue a Letter of Appointment to begin the employment relationship with SFU. Grant-funded PDFs are subject to Canadian Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and Canadian income tax deductions and may be eligible for benefits. A T4A will be generated at year end. 

Appointment or Invitation

All PDFs require either a PDF Appointment Form regardless of their funding arrangement. Upon receiving the completed form, Faculty Relations will begin the administrative set-up of the PDF, which includes payroll and their Invitations / Appointment letter. 

External PDFs receive a Letter of Invitation and Internal PDFs receive a Letter of Appointment. The letter outlines the PDFs relationship to the University, and what benefits they may or may not receive. 

Policy R50.03 has recently undergone a significant number of changes. The processes to support the policy changes are currently under development. For more information see Research Personnel Initiative (RPI). In the meantime, requests for assistance can directed to:

PDF Appointment Form

Download, complete and please send this form and all the applicable documents to Faculty Relations - Strand Hall Annex 600, and send copy of this form to Research Accounting (send email) to with subject line “postdoc appointment form”.


Contact for any questions.