IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

1. Aims of the Program

The aim of the Graduate Studies Scholarship and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) is to increase the number of scientists available to meet occupational health and safety (OHS) research needs.

Postdoctoral fellowships are intended for individuals with a PhD who wish to expand their research horizons or to explore new, related fields specifically in the occupational health and safety sector. These fellowships should lead to increased competencies in research and knowledge transfer, preparing the recipients to establish themselves as independent researchers.

This category of funding offers three options, and is designed to assist new researchers in:

  • carrying out their postdoctoral training at a university or recognized research centre outside Québec;
  • carrying out their postdoctoral training in a university or recognized research centre in Québec;
  • carrying out their postdoctoral training under the supervision or co-supervision of one of IRSST researchers; this option is available to applicants holding a PhD obtained at a university outside Québec, and foreign applicants are therefore eligible; it is hereafter named the guest fellowship.

To encourage the development of the new generation of researchers according to the IRSST’s scientific and organizational priorities, the following factors will be considered important assets in the awarding of fellowships:

  • applications from individuals with a PhD whose subject of study is relevant to occupational health and safety;
  • postdoctoral training projects related to the IRSST research.
  • projects that incorporate knowledge transfer activities when applicable.

Bearing this in mind and given the limited number of fellowships available, interested persons may also submit applications to other granting agencies.

2. Eligibility Requirements

  • 2.1 Conditions
    • To be eligible, applicants must meet each of the following conditions:
    • 2.1.1 Have held a PhD for four years or fewer. In the event that the doctorate has not been completed, provide a certificate of the initial submission of their thesis no later than August 15, 2024.
    • 2.1.2 Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, eligible for the RAMQ plan
      • As of the closing date of the competition, have a valid card issued by the Régie d'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) or proof of eligibility for the RAMQ plan and have Canadian citizenship within the meaning of the Citizenship Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-29) or the status of permanent resident of Canada within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (S.C. 2001, c. 27);
      • Foreign applicants
        do their postdoctoral training, under the supervision or co-supervision of an IRSST researchers.
    • 2.1.3 Submit a proposal for a research project that will be carried out at an institution different from that where they obtained their PhD and where they did their initial postdoctoral training, if such is the case;
    • 2.1.4 Not have submitted more than two applications for postdoctoral fellowships to the IRSST in the past, regardless of whether these applications were accepted or refused;
    • 2.1.5 Submit a proposal for a research project that is deemed revelant to the field of occupational health and safety:
    • 2.1.6 Submit the IRSST Postdoctoral Fellowship Application Form, duly completed and signed, as well as all other documents required for the fellowship category concerned, by no later than the deadline set for receipt of applications.
    • 2.1.7 At the time when the applicant accepts the fellowship, he must have met all the requirements. In cases where the application was submitted before the thesis defence had not taken place, proof from the department head that the defence was successful must be provided before the third fellowship payment, failing which the fellowship offer is cancelled.
  • 2.2 Restrictions
    • 2.2.1 Applicants who are on a sabbatical or a study leave and receiving a salary representing more than 50% of their base salary are not eligible. However, applicants receiving a deferred salary are not subject to this restriction.
    • 2.2.2 Applicants may not obtain a second IRSST scholarship for the same level of university studies.
  • 2.3 Training and research location
    • 2.3.1 The training and research must be completed at a university or recognized research centre.
    • 2.3.2 For individuals who do not have a valid medical card from the Régie d'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) or proof of eligibility for the RAMQ plan and Canadian citizenship within the meaning of the Citizenship Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-29) or the status of permanent resident of Canada within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (S.C. 2001, c. 27) must do their training and research at the IRSST under the supervision or co-supervision of one of the IRSST researchers.
  • 2.4 Duration of the fellowship
    • 2.4.1 The duration of the fellowship is two years (six consecutive sessions), following evaluation of an application for renewal.
    • 2.4.2  Parental leave
      • A scholarship holder is eligible for one parental leave for the entire period of eligibility for the bursary.
        • Parental leave cannot exceed 12 months, the equivalent of three sessions.
        • A scholarship holder may receive up to two bursary payments, equivalent to two sessions (8 months) during their leave.
        • If the university allows the scholarship holder to extend this leave for an additional period of four months, this parental leave from the IRSST will, however, be without pay.
        • The end of the scholarship-funding period is postponed according to the number of leave sessions accorded.
        • To be eligible for this benefit, a scholarship holder must not be enrolled in or enrolled in a program of study or gainful employment.
        • In the event that the recipient receives a grant supplement, IRSST parental leave with pay may not be granted to a scholarship holder who would receive a parental leave allowance from a federal or provincial granting agency.
        • Parental leave is authorized by the IRSST on the condition that the university allows parental leave and that the scholarship holder has informed the person directing his research.
        • Note that only one parental leave is granted per child. Parents are free to arrange parental leave at their convenience.
        • IRSST reserves the right to reject any request that is insufficiently justified.
        • IRSST parental leave can be combined with Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.
        • In order to receive parental leave, the scholarship holder must apply for it and provide a copy of the medical certificate attesting to the pregnancy and, at the appropriate time, the child’s birth or adoption certificate and proof of the suspension of university registration
    • 2.4.3 Deferral of payments for reasons of serious illness or major family obligations
      • The IRSST permits the deferral of one or more payments if studies are interrupted for serious medical reasons or major family obligations, for as long as the university allows.
        • In this situation, the fellowship is always awarded for the maximum number of eligible sessions.
        • An official document attesting to the suspended enrolment, and, if need be, a medical certificate specifying the duration and reason for the suspension must be provided.
        • The payment(s) will then be deferred to the end of the funding period.
    • 2.4.4 Deferral of payments for the purpose of acquiring relevant experience
      • The IRSST may authorize the deferral of one fellowship payment (one session) for each complete year of funding awarded in order to allow the recipient to acquire relevant experience (work with a research team, teaching experience related to the field of study, language stay, etc.).
        • A maximum of two deferrals, whether consecutive or not, may be authorized during the program.
        • The deferral(s) must be approved by the research supervisor.
        • The payment(s) will then be deferred to the end of the funding period.
    • 2.4.5 Exceptions for part-time enrolment
      • Part-time studies are allowed exceptionally for caregivers, parents, and persons with a disability:
        • A fellowship holder who is serving as the caregiver of a close family member or who is the main person providing care for a young child may exercise the option to enrol in part-time studies and receive partial payment of the fellowship (50%), provided that the university authorizes part-time enrolment and upon presentation of a medical certificate or other official document justifying the situation.
        • A fellowship holder who is a person with a disability, within the meaning of the Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view to achieving social, school and workplace (R.S.C. c. E-20.1) may also exercise the option of enrolling part-time and receive full payment of the fellowship, provided that the university authorizes part-time enrolment.
  • 2.5 Period for use of the fellowship
    • 2.5.1 The period for using the fellowship begins between May 1 of the year in which it was awarded and January 15 of the following year.
    • 2.5.2 Fellowships may not be transferred from one year to another.

3. Fellowship Amount and Procedures for Payment and Use

  • 3.1 Amount
    • 3.1.1 The amount of the postdoctoral fellowship is $45,000 a year.
  • 3.2 Payments
    • 3.2.1 The IRSST pay the instalments directly to the fellowship holder by direct deposit. The IRSST issues the corresponding income tax receipts in this instance.
    • 3.2.2 The amount of the postdoctoral scholarship is $55,000 a year for a recipient whose training and research program takes place outside Québec: Recipients whose program takes place partly in and partly outside Québec must communicate with the IRSST to reach an agreement on the procedures applicable in their particular case with respect to establishing the amount of the scholarship.
  • 3.3 Research and travel indemnity
    • 3.3.1 Costs incurred to facilitate knowledge transfer activities or participation in a conference or to cover other training-related expenses are reimbursed upon presentation of supporting documents, up to a maximum of $3,000 per year. However, the costs of purchasing a computer or hiring a research assistant or other research-related expenses are not reimbursed.
    • 3.3.2 A fellowship recipient whose training took place outside Québec or who comes from outside Québec it is hereafter named the IRSST guest fellowship, may be reimbursed for the costs of one return, economy-class airline ticket or the cost of transportation by car, upon presentation of supporting documents, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year.
  • 3.4 Convertibility of the fellowship into a start-up grant
    • 3.4.1 A postdoctoral fellowship holder may, after completing at least one full year of postdoctoral research, ask to use part of his fellowship as a start-up grant if he obtains a position as a regular-faculty professor at a university in Québec.
      • A maximum amount of $15,000 may be converted into a grant.
      • To benefit from this option, the fellowship holder must contact the person responsible for the program at the IRSST directly.
      • The rules and regulations concerning the use of this grant are the same as those applicable to the research grant program.


4. Concurrent Funding and Other Remuneration

  • 4.1 Concurrent Funding
    • 4.1.1 IRSST fellowship recipients may not accept other funding awarded by the Government of Canada or the Government of Québec, or by a federal or provincial granting agency.
    • 4.1.2 Concurrent funding from the private sector (foundations, institutes, companies, universities, etc.) is allowed.
    • 4.1.3 Salary paid to fellowship holders to work exclusively on their research project is considered concurrent funding and is allowed, up to a maximum of $11,250 per year.
  • 4.2 Other remuneration
    • 4.2.1 Subject to approval from their research supervisor and provided that the work does not interfere with their research activities, fellowship holders may teach one 45-hour course per session or may accept remunerated work that is relevant to their research field and does not exceed 225 hours per session. For purposes of this regulation, a 45-hour course load is considered equivalent to 150 hours of work.

5. Changes to or Termination of the Approved Program

  • 5.1 Changes
    • 5.1.1 Fellowship recipients may not change their training program and research project during the year, or change institution or research supervisor, without prior written authorization from the IRSST. The reasons for the change must be detailed in a request addressed to the person responsible for the IRSST’s Graduate Studies Scholarship and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The change request will be assessed by the IRSST, which may decide, if applicable, to reduce, suspend, or terminate the instalment payments.
  • 5.2 Termination
    • 5.2.1 For fellowship holders who relinquish their fellowship or terminate their postdoctoral training during the fellowship validity period, the amount of the fellowship is reduced proportionally. They must inform the IRSST as soon as the date of termination is established and must reimburse any overpayments received.

7. Fellowship Renewal

  • 7.1 Annual renewal
    • 7.1.1 To continue receiving their fellowship beyond the first year of funding for the sessions for which they are eligible, fellowship holders must submit a duly completed Renewal Application Form each year. The fellowship is renewed if:
      • the fellowship holder has submitted an application for renewal in accordance with the established procedures;
      • the fellowship holder has demonstrated satisfactory progress, according to the IRSST’s assessment, in both his training program and research project;
      • his research project demonstrates continuity (any changes made to the originally planned schedule must be soundly justified).

8. Documents Required*

  • 8.1 For a new application
    • 8.1.1 Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, eligible for the RAMQ plan
      • Proof of Canadian citizenship (birth certificate or certificate of citizenship) or of permanent resident status in Canada (permanent resident card) and a photocopy of a valid Québec health insurance card (a card with an expiry date pre-dating the competition deadline is not valid) or any official document confirming the status of Québec resident within the meaning of the Act respecting the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (C.Q.L.R. c.R-5);
      • Foreign applicants
        Proof of citizenship (identification page of a valid passport or another official document);
    • 8.1.2 The Fellowship Application Form duly completed and signed by the applicant and research supervisor;
    • 8.1.3 Copies of the official transcripts for all years of university study, whether completed or not:
      • the transcripts must be complete and include all grading scales (back of the transcript), for both Québec applicants and foreign applicants. Unofficial electronic versions of transcripts are not accepted;
      • the document explaining the grading system in effect at the institution concerned for transcripts obtained outside North America;
      • the transcript for a study program currently under way must be the most recent one;
      • if no transcript is issued by the institution where the studies were done, an explanatory letter must be included with the application;
    • 8.1.4. The evaluation forms from two scientists other than the research supervisor (or co-supervisor), who participated in the applicant’s training (by completing the form designed for this purpose);
    • 8.1.5 A letter of recommendation (a maximum of two pages) written by the research supervisor. The supervisor must provide his overall assessment of the applicant and the proposed research project; specify how the project fits in with his own work, if applicable; specify the supervision he intends to offer the applicant; describe and justify the research environment;
    • 8.1.6. For the research supervisor, and, as the case may be, the co-supervisor, the Declaration of Research Supervisor or the personal CV (or Canadian Common CV).
  • 8.2 For a renewal application

* The IRSST reserves the right to perform verifications regarding the documents submitted. For example, it may demand to see the original documents or papers to confirm their authenticity or to receive a certified copy of the originals. The IRSST may also contact the authorities that issued the documents. If the applicant fails to cooperate promptly in any request for verification, his application may be deemed ineligible.

9. Presentation and Submission of Applications

  • 9.1 Presentation of applications
    • 9.1.1 The application file must include the IRSST’s Fellowship Application Form, duly completed and signed, along with the required documents, which are specified for each fellowship category:
      • An incomplete file is not forwarded to the evaluation committee.
      • All documents contained in the file that are written in a language other than French or English must be accompanied by a certified translation of the originals.
      • No documents other than those required are forwarded to the reviewers.
      • The applicant is responsible for his file:
        • he is responsible for knowing the different fellowship categories and their requirements;
        • he must ensure that all the required information and documents are submitted to the IRSST by no later than the competition deadline.
  • 9.2 Submission of applications
    • 9.2.1 The deadline for submitting applications to the IRSST is 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of October.
    • 9.2.2 The documents must be sent by email to the following address: [email protected], clearly indicating the applicant’s name in the subject line. If the email message including all the documents is too big, please submit the documents in several emails and clearly indicate the applicant’s name in the subject line of each message.
    • 9.2.3 An acknowledgement of receipt will be sent for each email message received. If you do not receive any, please notify us at 514-288-1551, ext. 291.

9. Processing of Applications

11. Final Report and Publications

  • 9.1 Assessment of administrative eligibility
    • 9.1.1 IRSST personnel assess the administrative eligibility of the applications and reject those found to be ineligible.
  • 9.2 Decision regarding the relevance and priority nature of the applications
    • 9.2.1 The IRSST’s Scientific Advisory Board issues an opinion on the relevance and priority nature of the applications. The President and Chief Executive Officer then renders a decision and retains only those files deemed relevant and priority for evaluation.
  • 9.3 Evaluation of the scientific merit of the files by a multi-disciplinary committee made up of specialists from the disciplines concerned
    • 9.3.1 The following criteria will be judged during the evaluation of the scientific merit of a new application:
      • Applicant’s performance:
        • Academic record and its progression: university grades, relevance of courses taken and progression in studies, scholarships, awards and distinctions earned;
        • Research abilities: publications and other research activities, overall scientific competence and ability to pursue a career in research, relevant work experience and achievements;
        • Weighting (postdoctoral fellowship): 6/20.
      • Scientific merit of the project:
        • Originality, clarity of objectives, methodology and impact on the research field;
        • Weighting (postdoctoral fellowship): 10/20.
      • Quality and relevance of the research environment:
        • Quality of supervision, calibre of researchers and productivity of the environment, relevance to the subject under study, and occupational health and safety expertise;
        • Weighting (postdoctoral fellowship): 4/20.
    • 9.3.2 An applicant must obtain a minimum score of 15/20 to be recommended for a fellowship.
  • 9.4 Recommendation and awarding of fellowships
    • 9.4.1 Based on the recommendations of the evaluation committee, the Scientific Advisory Board submits its assessment to the IRSST’s President and Chief Executive Officer;
    • 9.4.2 The President and Chief Executive Officers then submits a recommendation to the Board of Directors, which renders the final decision.
  • 9.5 Notification of decision
    • 9.5.1 The IRSST’s decision is sent by email to each applicant in April, to the address indicated on his application form.
  • 9.6 Appeal
    • 9.6.1 The decision may not be appealed. Therefore, there is no appeal procedure.
  • 9.7 Integrity of the evaluation process
    • 9.7.1 The scientific evaluation of the applications is carried out independently of the final approval process, which is the Board of Directors’ responsibility.
    • 9.7.2 Applicants and research supervisors must not contact the chair or members of the evaluation committee at any time.
    • 9.7.3 The IRSST reserves the right to withdraw any applications from the competition that are the subject of canvassing or interference in the evaluation process.
  • 9.8 Inquiries concerning the evaluation
    • 9.8.1 Inquiries concerning the evaluation of fellowship applications must be submitted in writing to the person responsible for the scholarship program, who undertakes to respond to them as quickly as possible.
  • 9.9 Acceptance of the fellowship
    • 9.9.1 Successful applicants must inform the IRSST of their acceptance or refusal of the fellowship within 30 days of the date on which the IRSST’s decision was transmitted.
    • 9.9.2 Foreign applicants will also have to provide a certified true copy of a work permit issued by Canadian consular services for the duration of their stay in Québec.
    • 9.9.3 Any applicant who fails to comply with these requirements within the prescribed time limits is considered to have refused the fellowship offered.
    • 9.9.4 The IRSST may publish the list of scholarship/fellowship recipients on its Web site or in any publication (hard copy or electronic), and may make it public in any other manner that the Institute deems appropriate.
    • 9.9.5 By accepting the fellowship, the applicant undertakes to comply with the general regulations governing the program and all the applicable conditions and requirements. Applicants who fail to comply with these rules and regulations will have their fellowships cancelled.

    12. Declaration and Research Ethics

    • 11.1 Final report
      • 11.1.1 All IRSST fellowship holders must submit a final report on their work within six months of receiving their last fellowship payment, using the IRSST template designed for this purpose.
    • 11.2 Publications
      • 11.2.1 All IRSST fellowship holders are obliged to acknowledge the assistance received from the IRSST in any publication or communication resulting from the funded work.

      13. Responsibilities of the IRSST

      • 12.1 Declaration
        • 12.1.1 Any person who, for the purpose of obtaining a fellowship, knowingly makes a false declaration, will have his application rejected, and, as the case may be, will have to reimburse the IRSST any amounts that have been paid to him. Moreover, the person may not apply for another IRSST fellowship for a period of three years.
      • 12.2 Research ethics and scientific integrity
        • 12.2.1 The holder of an IRSST fellowship and his research supervisor must ensure that the proposed research project complies with the ethical standards generally applicable to professional research activities.
        • 13.1 The IRSST has no other obligation or responsibility than that of paying the fellowships when all the conditions are met, subject to funding availability.
        • 13.2 The IRSST is under no obligation to accept a predetermined number of applications or to set in advance the number of fellowships to be attributed in each category of program. The IRSST reserves the right to set quotas by occupational health and safety research field.
        • 13.3 The IRSST may not be held liable for any damages whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from the establishment or administration of the Graduate Studies Scholarship and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, including, notably, damages arising directly or indirectly from the processing, absence of processing, acceptance or refusal of a scholarship/fellowship application, or from any publication pertaining to the scholarships/fellowship and the scholarship/fellowship program.
        • 13.4 An English version has been provided solely to help Anglophone readers better understand the applicable regulations. In the event of a discrepancy between the English and French versions of the regulations, the French version shall prevail.