Postdoc Initiative Fund

Postdoc-led initiatives organized by fellows and aimed at career advancement, professional development, and community building (like summer schools or conferences, hosting performances or other similar events, or opportunities for fellows’ academic growth) may be awarded funding by the Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. This award furthers an inclusive Queen’s community by assisting endeavours that establish connections within and beyond campus; it enhances fellows’ extra- and co-curricular leadership opportunities; and encourages project management, professionalism development, and communication skills. All PIF projects support outstanding researchers at Queen’s and may be highlighted on the SGSPA website.

Applicants must:

  • Be a current postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University 
  • Demonstrate initiative to raise funds from other sources
  • Hold the same fellowship throughout the planning and execution of the event for which funds are being applied
  • Be directly involved in a leadership role with the organization or creation of an initiative (conference, summer school, etc.) that furthers the postdoc’s academic and professional development
  • Be applying for an initiative taking place within the existing or upcoming academic year
  • Be applying for a not-for-profit initiative
  • Applicants may only apply for one PIF per academic year

Activities and expenses NOT eligible for funding

  • Any fees related to speaking at conferences (funding is available through the Postdoc Travel Award)
  • Fees for organizational membership
  • Expenses arising from research projects
  • Equipment purchases
  • Alcohol
  • Expenses such as charitable donations, wages, and/or honoraria
  • Funding is not available for recurring projects
  • Applications submitted by staff or faculty members will not be considered; however, staff, faculty and/or community members may be part of the event/project/activity/planning/organizing group and may be asked to submit written approval for the proposed event
  • Retroactive applications will not be accepted

All postdoc-led co-curricular events and activities must align with Queen’s Meeting and Event Protocols. Please note that sponsorship of a project, activity, or event through this Fund does not make it Queen’s-sanctioned. As such, the University assumes no liability out of or in consequence of any attendance or participation in the proposed activity or event. Queen’s Hospitality Policy should also be consulted where relevant: Hospitality Policy | University Secretariat and Legal Counsel (

All applicants will be notified of decisions, which are final and may not be appealed.

At least two months before the need for funding, fellows should complete a Request for Funding form (see Forms menu below) and submit as a single PDF file to Applications may be submitted at any point and decisions will be shared approximately one month after the receipt of materials.

Final report

Successful candidates will be required to complete a Final Report Form to no later than 30 days after the project is concluded along with a final budget (see Forms menu below for both files). The budget document should be an updated version of the initial file submitted with the application. Please note that any unused portion of Postdoc Initiative Funding must be returned to the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (SGSPA). The SGSPA is not responsible for covering deficits of projects that cost more than the anticipated budget.

Individual allocations will not exceed $1,500. Availability of funds and the total number of applications received over the fiscal year will impact allotments.

Decisions will be based on the following criteria:

  • A high degree of postdoctoral involvement by one or more current Queen’s postdocs
  • Events raising the profile of postdoctoral research at Queen’s
  • Opportunities that develop transferable skills for participating fellows
  • Events that prioritize community building
  • The degree of initiative taken to raise funds from other sources – those who have shown greater initiative will be viewed more favourably
  • Priority will be given to first-time applicants

Funding will be distributed by the fellow’s department or faculty.  Successful applicants must agree to return any unspent funds.

Applications will be assessed by the Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs and the Coordinator, Postdoctoral Affairs. Where an initiative involves Indigenous participants or touches upon Indigenous issues, it will be examined by a representative from the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.