University Policy


Postdoctoral Fellows

Approval Date: 2002-01-31

Effective Date: 2014-10-14

Review Date: 2021-05-01


Vice-President (Research)


Memorial University of Newfoundland considers that Postdoctoral Fellows who are employees of the University (PDF-Es) are an integral part of the university and make a significant contribution to the research and teaching environment and mission of the university. As members of the research community, they contribute to the nation's research and enhance the stature of the university.

Postdoctoral appointments provide recent doctoral degree recipients with an opportunity to:

1) develop further the research skills acquired in their doctoral programmes under the sponsorship of established researchers,

2) learn new research techniques or embark on new research programmes with guidance from and in consultation with an experienced faculty member,

3) make significant individual contributions to their chosen field,

4) strengthen their publication records and curricula vitae, thereby building a reputation and enhancing their chances of securing a more permanent faculty or research position, and

5) gain teaching and supervisory experience where appropriate.


To outline the responsibilities, obligations, expectations, services and procedures which relate to the appointment of Postdoctoral Fellows, in conjunction with the applicable collective agreements. 


Postdoctoral Fellows at Memorial University who are members of the LUMUN bargaining unit.

Postdoctoral Fellows not receiving any salary through Memorial University and appointed on an honorary basis are excluded from this policy and are governed by the Guidelines for Honorary Postdoctoral Fellows.


PDF-E — Postdoctoral Fellow. One who meets all the following criteria:

  • The appointee is paid, at least in part, through Memorial University funds
  • The appointee has a Ph.D. or equivalent degree.
  • The appointment is temporary.
  • The appointment primarily involves research.
  • The appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research career.
  • The appointee works under the guidance and sponsorship of a faculty or adjunct faculty member at the University.
  • The appointee has the freedom, and is expected, to publish results of his or her research with appropriate acknowledgment of University affiliation except where this right has been limited by prior written agreement.
  • The appointment is not part of a clinical training programme.
  • The appointment may involve undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentoring.


In recognition of the Principles above, Memorial University appoints scholars with the title of Postdoctoral Fellow and provides services to meet their needs. PDF-Es must comply with university policies and procedures and acknowledge their affiliation with the university in their publications and in their participation in scholarly meetings and endeavours.

Normally, appointments occur within three to five years of being awarded the doctoral degree or within ten years of being awarded the MD degree, depending on the number of PDF-E positions already completed. These periods may be extended by circumstances requiring an interruption in research career, e.g. by parental responsibilities.

PDF-Es can receive funding from grants or contracts held by faculty or from departmental resources. All PDF-Es, regardless of how paid, are appointed by the Dean or applicable Associate Vice-President (Academic).

It is recognized that some PDF-Es wish to obtain teaching experience. It is also recognized that PDF-Es are an intellectual resource in the University and that both undergraduate and graduate programmes benefit from their participation. PDF-Es may be involved in undergraduate and graduate lecturing, laboratory instruction, tutorials, and assistance with the supervision of graduate and undergraduate students.

Any teaching appointments will conform to requirements of the collective agreements.

Recruitment, Selection and Appointment
Recruitment, Selection and Appointment of PDF-Es will occur in accordance with the collective agreement. The supervisor is responsible for orientation to the worksite and introduction to appropriate unit personnel and policy. The supervisor should also provide information about performance expectations, standards for work hours, safety procedures, and ethical/scholarly integrity issues, mindful of university policy, procedures and guidelines as they exist.

The School of Graduate Studies will make orientation and professional development available to PDF-Es.

Research Collaboration
A PDF-E will be associated with one or more faculty colleagues for the purpose of research collaboration. The supervisor may be responsible for the direct financial resources required in support of research activities, as well as primary mentoring of research and professional activities. Departmental resources and responsibilities vary. The University provides basic services in support of research and collegial interaction.

Employing International PDF-Es will occur in accordance with the Employing and Hosting Foreign Nationals policy. and in particular the Procedure for Hiring Foreign Postdoctoral Fellows.

Sources of Funds
PDF-Es may be funded from external awards, by University endowment or operating funds, by payments from grants or contracts held by faculty, or from a combination of sources.

Completion of a research project, presentation of its findings at university seminars and conferences, development of a patentable or licensable product, and preparation of this work for peer-reviewed publication are typical standards of achievement. It is expected that PDF-Es will be appropriately recognized for their contributions in publications and patents. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to develop a clear understanding of rights and obligations under the University's policies and practices with the PDF-E at the start of employment.

Supervisors should give reasonable notice, normally three months, to a PDF-E on the intention to renew or not to renew an appointment.


There are no procedures associated with this policy.

For inquiries related to this policy:

School of Graduate Studies 709-864-7642


Provost and Vice-President (Academic)



Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date: 2002-01-31
Effective Date: 2002-01-31
Policy Amendment History

There are past amendments for this policy:

Date: 2019-05-29 15:20:18
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Connected definitions using definitions from the glossary.
Date: 2022-08-30 11:12:31
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: 8/30/22 update broken links