For Prospective Supervisors

How to Recruit a Postdoctoral Fellow

Externally Funded Postdocs

In the case of Postdoctoral Fellows who have or are seeking external fellowship funding to support their postdoctoral research:

  • Funding is awarded by an adjudication process established by the external agency;
  • Because this process is driven by the postdoctoral candidate, the faculty member is most often contacted directly by the interested prospective postdoc;
  • However, faculty members interested in supervising a postdoctoral fellow may also consider approaching prospective postdoctoral fellows, by alerting candidates of interest about opportunities for external postdoctoral funding opportunities and encouraging them to consider applying. For a list of external postdoctoral funding opportunities, please visit our funding opportunities section.

Postdocs Funded through the Supervisor’s Research Funds

In the case that faculty members have their own funding to support a Postdoctoral Fellow:

  • The faculty member will most often conduct the selection process personally or with other faculty members if there is joint funding for the position;
  • However, candidates may sometimes seek out prospective supervising faculty members of interest and inquire about opportunities to work with that faculty member as a postdoctoral fellow (see above, How to Seek a Postdoctoral Fellowship position at York).
A note on immigration: Please note that there are no immigration restrictions regarding citizenship when hiring a postdoctoral fellow funded by the researcher’s grant funds. However, since immigration processes add to the timeline for hiring a foreign postdoctoral visitor, it is advisable to begin the hiring process well in advance of the proposed start date of the postdoctoral position. The Immigration & Relocation Officer requires at least four months to facilitate immigration and relocation processes if new employees (including Postdocs) are to have a reasonable chance of arriving in time to start their new positions.

When recruiting Postdoctoral Fellows, faculty members should adhere to relevant legislation, such as the Human Rights Code of Ontario. Information on human rights legislation in Ontario is available at Faculty members will consider York University’s employment equity goals when recruiting Postdoctoral Fellows.

How to Appoint a Postdoctoral Fellow

Externally Funded Postdocs

  • Recruiting and supervising a postdoctoral fellow who has his/her own funding generally involves only signing forms or writing a letter, depending on the agency’s requirements.
  • Recruitment of such a postdoc typically involves a letter that outlines the terms of the fellowship and includes an Intellectual Property (IP) agreement. This letter will also be prepared for immigration purposes in the case of a postdoctoral fellow coming from a foreign country.
  • NB: Please be sure to notify FGS if a new externally-funded postdoc is coming to work with you at York by contacting the Postdoctoral Services Coordinator at

Postdocs Funded through the Supervisor’s Research Funds

  • Every postdoctoral fellow who is hired by a faculty member and funded through that faculty member’s own funds must receive an appointment letter, which must be signed by the Dean of the Faculty in which the Postdoctoral Fellowship will be held, and by the postdoctoral fellow accepting the terms of the appointment.
  • Appointment letters set out in writing the terms of the appointment, as well as detail expectations and commitments of both the Postdoctoral Fellow and the supervising faculty member.
  • To hire a postdoctoral visitor, faculty members should contact the Dean’s Office of their Faculty and work with them to prepare this letter.

For Prospective Fellows

How to Seek a Postdoctoral Fellow position at York

Any individual interested in becoming a Postdoctoral Fellow at York is responsible for taking the required first step of securing the support of at least one prospective supervisor who is a York faculty member. Requests and/or proposals for this support must be made directly by the prospective Fellow to the prospective supervisor.

To find and contact a prospective supervisor, the potential postdoctoral fellow is advised to:

  • Visit the websites of the Faculties, departments and units of interest to them to see if there are any postdoctoral opportunities available;
  • Browse the Research Chairs section of the York Research website;
  • Review faculty member profiles:
    • Every department at York has a website which can be found online by clicking on the relevant Faculty;
    • Each departmental page has an online list of faculty members and their research topics.
  • Once a potentially compatible faculty member is identified, requests and/or proposals for a postdoctoral supervisory relationship can be made directly to the specific faculty member(s).
  • It is also recommended that interested applicants review the available external funding opportunities, in tandem with a search for a prospective supervisor, to become aware of potential funding sources which they may use to fund their research at York.