Category Archives: Policy

Canadian National Postdoc Survey

Have your say in the fourth edition of the Canadian National Postdoctoral Scholars Survey!
The Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS) invites all current and former Canadian postdocs, including international postdocs working in Canada and Canadian postdocs working abroad, to complete the fourth edition of the Canadian National Postdoctoral Scholars Survey. It is the largest and most comprehensive assessment of Canadian postdocs in all fields of study, and its findings are used by funders, universities, and others.

The survey covers a wide range of topics, including demographics, salary and benefits, training needs, and career goals of current or former Canadian postdocs. In addition to collecting valuable longitudinal data, this edition of the survey tackles issues such as discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and working remotely.

Please complete the survey by 14 February, 2020.
The results of the survey will be published later this year.

Suvey: Copyright in Academic Publication Process

As a part of research community at U15 institutions, UBC Postdocs are invited to participate in a survey to assess our knowledge of copyright and author addenda in the publication process.

This survey is a part of a study lead by Lauren Byl, the Copyright & Licensing Librarian at the University of Waterloo, funded by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Practicing Librarian Grant. This is important as researchers are increasingly being asked to make their research openly available, which requires them to retain some rights in their publications.

The anonymous survey would take about 15 minutes. Participation is voluntary.

In appreciation of the time you have given to this study, you can enter your name into a draw for 1 of 25 prizes, which include 2 grand prizes (a tablet, approx. $250 value) and a $20 Tim Horton’s gift card.

You can read fine prints and/or jump ahead to participate in the study here:
If you have any questions regarding this study, or would like additional information to assist you in reaching a decision about participation, please contact Lauren Byl at 1-519-888-4567 ext. 42356 or by email at

Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS/ACSP) 2019 Executive Council Election

Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS/ACSP) is a Canada-wide organization with a mandate to improve the lives, training, and work experience of all Canadian Postdocs (yes, you included). Recently they are offering Health/Dental insurance plan, as well as Discount Home & Auto Insurance for contributing members. Although these benefits are very similar to what have been offered through UBC HR, it may make sense for those who aren’t eligible for the policies through UBC HR to look into what they offer.

Also, if you are interested in paticipating their actibities, they are currently seeking nominees for the 2019 Executive Council Election. The detail is as follows:

CAPS/ACSP is currently seeking nominees for the 2019 Executive Council Election. The term for these positions is January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

The deadline for nominations is Friday November 16, 2018 at midnight Pacific Time. Voting will take place during the last week of November.

The following positions are open to nominees:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair External
  • Vice-Chair Operations
  • Vice-Chair Communications
  • Vice-Chair Finance
  • Vice-Chair International
  • Vice-Chair Membership
  • Vice-Chair Website Management
  • Vice-Chair Communications (French)
  • Vice-Chair Data Management
  • Vice-Chair Career Development

Please see CAPS Executive Position Descriptions _ 2019 Elections  for a brief description of each position.


To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be registered as an ‘Active Member’ of CAPS/ACSP. Alumni members of CAPS/ACSP (i.e., former postdocs) may also be nominated if approved by the Executive Council.

To register as an Active Member, please complete the form found here.

To register as an Alumni Member, please complete the form found here.

If you wish to run or nominate someone for any of these positions, please respond by email to with the following information:

  1.  Full name of nominee
  2.  Email address of nominee
  3.  Institutional affiliation of nominee
  4.  Desired/selected position

Candidate Statements:

Nominees are required to submit a short (maximum 250 words) candidate statement describing their interest and any relevant experience for the position they are nominated for prior to the election. Candidates who are self-nominating are encouraged to provide that statement at the time of nomination.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact Joseph Sparling, Chair at

Amendments to the constitution

The UBC PDA is updating the association’s constitution, changing it to account for the growth of the association and it’s activities.
The amendments to the constitution better defines the roles of each of the officers and the committee members, as well as a set of bylaws that will help govern the association.

We encourage all postdocs and RAs to review the proposed changes, and send us an email with thoughts, concerns, or suggestions.  

The constitutional amendments will be voted on during the next AGM, which will take place at the LSI room 1330, March 14th- 5:00 PM.

Call for Nominations: 2018/19 PDA Executive Officers

ciWe are excited to announce the call for nominations for candidates to be part of the UBC Postdoctoral Association’s 2018/19 Executive Team.

Deadline extended! Apply by Monday March 12th

  • Represent the postdoc community
  • Gain leadership and management experience
  • Organize professional development, research and networking events
  • Interact with big-name academics, advocates, and UBC leadership

The PDA is run by Elected Volunteer Officers (the President and 6 Vice-Presidents). All 7 positions will be elected for the 2018/19 year at our Annual General Meeting, held on Wednesday, March 14th in LSC room 1330 (5 pm). Find a list of open positions and a description of their roles below.

All UBC postdocs and research associates are encouraged to attend the AGM on March 14th for the elections. The event will be followed by a celebration with food and drinks!

Self-Nomination: Download the UBC PDA nomination form here. Please fill out this form and return it to along with a recent photo and a short Letter of Interest (100-200 words) detailing why you would like to serve and any relevant experience.

Further details

Continue reading

UBC PDA Annual General Meeting 2018- March 14th

Your vote counts! Join us as we elect the new PDA Executive Committee for the upcoming year, and vote on any amendments to the PDA Constitution on Wednesday,  March 14th at 5:00 pm at the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), Room 1330. No RSVP required.

The event will commence with reports from the outgoing PDA Executive Committee followed by short introductions of the new nominees, after which you can place your vote. We will then vote on any proposed amendments to the PDA constitution, and will conclude the event with a light reception furnished with complimentary snacks and refreshments to welcome the new committee members.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

#SupportTheReport for Budget 2018

Give your feedback to the Government of Canada on #YourBudget2018 and support science!

Earlier this year, the Fundamental Science Review released its report on how to enhance non-governmental research in Canada (more information here). The key recommendations included:

  • improve coordination between federal granting agencies through the creation of a National Advisory Council on Research and Innovation
  • prioritize equity and diversity in recruitment and hiring
  • substantially increase federal research funding (by ~30%), with an increased proportion of total funds directed toward independent investigator-initiated research

Although the Government of Canada has made progress on implementing some of these recommendations (e.g., by appointing Dr. Mona Nemer as Chief Science Advisor), and despite big campaigns from universities, advocacy groups, and students, there has been no commitment to increase research funding by a meaningful amount.

This is a crucial time, as the Government nears the end of its public consultation for Budget 2018.

What can you do to support Canadian research?

  1. Complete the Government of Canada’s #YourBudget2018 surveySurvey #2 (Economy of Tomorrow) includes direct questions related to research funding. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and closes on Dec 15.
  2. Join the conversation about #YourBudget2018 on social media – you can reach Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Twitter @Bill_Morneau. Find social media tips here.
  3. Write to your MP to encourage him/her to support full implementation of the Naylor Report. Find letter writing tips here.

UBC endorses the Fundamental Science Review

The Fundamental Science Review, often referred to as the Naylor Report, was released in April, making wide-ranging recommendations for improvements in Canada’s research climate. These include reorganised oversight, substantial increases in federal funding, and better working conditions and career prospects for early-career researchers. Read more about what it means for postdocs in our summary.

Some of these recommendations have been taken on board by the Federal Government, including the recent creation of a new Chief Science Adviser, and the formation of the Canadian Research Coordinating Committee. However, many of the issues raised by the Review are yet to be addressed – meaning Canadian researchers still need to engage with the public and their representatives to show that they support the Review.

You can speak up for science and make a difference – read our tips on how to write to your MP.

UBC has now fully endorsed the recommendations of the Fundamental Science Review – outlined on the website of the VP Research and Innovation. As part of the endorsement, they have launched a social media video campaign featuring UBC researchers explaining why their work is important and why they #SupportTheReport. Two postdocs, both on the PDA Executive Committee, have been featured in the campaign.

UBC PDA President Kieran’s video:

UBC PDA Executive Member Stefanie’s video:

If you would like to be involved in the campaign, you can get in touch with the VPRI team through the link on their page (beneath the video).

Guide for writing letters supporting the Fundamental Science Review

Here are some tips for if you want to show support for the Fundamental Science Review by writing to your representative.

Letter-Writing Party 2017-2.jpg

Suggestions on writing a letter to your MP, from Evidence for Democracy:

  1. Introduce yourself (consider describing why you chose science and your particular field)
  2. Thank your MP for any federal funding that you or your lab have received – let them know that research funding is appreciated!
  3. Introduce the Naylor Report – info can be found here
  4. Discuss how your research or fundamental research in general benefits ALL Canadians
  5. Make sure to avoid jargon and keep your letter easy to understand!

Sample letters:

From Evidence for Democracy

Letter 1

Letter 2

Find your MP’s name and mailing address here:
(enter your postal code into the search box)

Note: you don’t need a stamp to send mail to MPs.

Now get writing and show your support for science!

Letter-Writing Party 2017-11.jpg


The Associate Dean for Postdocs comments on the Fundamental Science Review

Canada’s Fundamental Science Review has been released, and it’s a crucial time for Canadian Research.

We asked Dr. Rachel Fernandez, Associate Dean for the Postdoctoral Fellows Office and Student Professional Development over at the UBC PDFO, why the Review is important for UBC’s postdocs. Here’s what she had to say:

Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, or ‘The Naylor Report’ as it has come to be known, outlines a comprehensive plan for the government to support Canada’s research ecosystem, including providing a much-needed boost to investigator-led research and to the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. If implemented, the increased investment -spread over 4 years – would amount to an additional 0.4% of the national annual budget. This investment will make a difference. It will ensure that newly-minted and seasoned researchers will have their work, deemed to be outstanding by experts, funded instead of being buried because of insufficient funds. It will allow for more diversity in the research ecosystem – both in the type of research being done and the people doing the research.  It will increase our research capacity and provide more opportunities for nurturing innovation. Indeed, implementing the plan outlined in the Naylor Report would be an excellent investment in Canada’s future.

We also asked what action we should be taking:

It is important that we convey to our Members of Parliament, and the public, the value of not just our research but also the significance of the training that we have received and provide. It is also important to express our gratitude for the support that we currently receive. Consider using social media and/or writing to your Member of Parliament, the Hon. Kirsty Duncan (Science Minister who commissioned this report), the Hon. Bill Morneau (Finance Minister), the Hon. Jane Philpott (Health Minister), the Hon. Navdeep Bains (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister) and, of course, our Prime Minister. Tell them a personal story and why you would like them to #SupportTheReport as the #NextGenCanScience.

You can show your support for Canadian research and the Review by coming to the UBC PDA’s letter-writing party, co-organised with Future of Research Vancouver, on Tuesday, August 29.

We hope to see you there!