Postdoctoral Fellows as SFU Employees

A review of the entire R50 series of university policies governing the employment of all grant-funded research personnel was launched late in 2017, which concluded some of the existing policies were out of step with other Canadian universities and in need of modernization. 

One of the recommendations included the revision of the policy governing Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs), and after community consultation and input from stakeholders and leadership, SFU’s Board of Governors approved changes to Policy R50.03 in June 2019. This revision would see most grant-funded PDFs become employees of the university, supported by a policy that better defines the rights, roles and responsibilities of all parties.

As employees of the university, eligible PDFs will qualify for benefits (under the previous version of the policy, PDFs served as employees of individual faculty members or principal investigators (PIs) rather than employees of SFU).

Policy revisions are now in place and onboarding of new Postdoctoral Fellows appointments is complete.

Responsibility for the policy resides with the Office of the Vice-President Research, and Faculty Relations will assume operational responsibilities for PDFs.

For questions related to the appointment process, please contact Faculty Relations: postdoctoral_fellows@sfu.ca.

Questions about the transition process for PDFs are answered in the FAQ document prepared by the project team in July 2019.

Alignment with University Values

The RPI’s recommendation to transition eligible research personnel to employees is in full support of the university’s desire to:

  • Recognize the valuable role and important contributions research personnel make to the university by recognizing most of them as employees, accompanied by the rights and benefits that accompany that status;
  • Support equity, diversity and inclusion in providing research opportunities particularly for women and those with families; 
  • Reduce reputational risks to the university by providing support and expertise necessary for managing complex employment relationships; and
  • Reduce personal risks to individual faculty members associated with being an employer.

Post-Doctoral Fellows Q&A