Faculty of Social Science Postdoctoral Award

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The Faculty of Social Science will fund two Postdoctoral Awards (PDAs) to exceptional junior researchers in any field of Social Science. The purpose of this award is to support faculty and the candidate in extending their research and scholarship through the appointment.

Due Date

September 30, 2023 -- Applications are closed for 2023

Terms of the Award

The awards are valued at $60,000 per year and can commence at the beginning of any month between October of the application year to March of the subsequent year. These awards can be held for up two years, subject to renewal at the end of the first year. The awardees may be affiliated with a home department, a Research Centre, NEST, Brain and Mind, or a Western Research Institute such as the Western Institute for Neuroscience.

Western’s Faculty of Social Science provides access to world-class resources across the breadth of Social Sciences. Among these is the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC); the Advanced Facility for Avian Research; research-dedicated facilities for human cognitive neuroscience and magnetic resonance imaging; laboratories supporting human and animal research, analysis of archival data, Geographic Information Systems, archaeology and bioarchaeology; high performance computing infrastructure; collaboration and computing space, and state of the art video conferencing .

Each awardee will be expected to undertake a research project alongside at least one full-time faculty member who holds a research-eligible appointment in the Faculty of Social Science. Supervisors may provide an additional stipend and/or top-up funding for research or travel to support the PDA. The supervisor is a mentor according to Western’s guidelines for supervisory relationships with graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and other research collaborators.

The appointment is as a Postdoctoral Associate (PDA), which means the appointee will be in an employment relationship with Western and a member of a collective bargaining unit (union) with all of the benefits that entail. For more details see the Postdoctoral Services page and the Postdoctoral Association of Western (PAW).

The PDA-Mentor team is encouraged to seek both internal and external research funding to support the work if necessary. Availability of necessary funding and/or a plan to seek additional funding, should be described in the application.

Guiding Principles

Attracting New Investigators: the purpose of the award is to attract new research talent to Western, and therefore strong preference will be given to applicants who are new to the university .

Scholarly Excellence: applicants should have outstanding research potential and dedication to scholarly activity, with the understanding that can come in many forms.

Interdisciplinarity: While not necessary, applicants are encouraged to develop a research program involving multiple faculty members, acting as co-supervisors.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): Western is committed to supporting high-quality research projects involving designated groups, and that adhere to all relevant EDI principles, guidelines, and policies adopted by the university. The award is open to all qualified candidates and we will adhere to Western's Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, originally developed for recruitment of Canada Research Chairs.

Promoting Indigenous Research: Western is committed to supporting high-quality research projects by and/or with Indigenous Peoples (as outlined in Western’s Indigenous Strategic Plan: Goal 4 - Achieve Excellence in Indigenous Research & Scholarship), and which use either a community-engagement research methodology, or traditional disciplinary methodologies.


The successful awardee must:

  • identify at least one full-time faculty member who holds a research-eligible appointment in the Faculty of Social Science to act as their supervisor. The supervisor(s) should have a strong record research in relation to stage of career;
  • should have completed all requirements for their doctoral degree before taking up the award;
  • engage in full-time postdoctoral research directly related with their proposed project for the period of the award;
  • not hold a faculty position or another postdoctoral position at any university while holding this award.

If the successful PDA does not meet the eligibility requirements by the latest date the award can be taken up, it will be withdrawn.

Application Process

All applications should include the following components as a single PDF document:

  • A proposal for the program of work (maximum 2 pages single spaced + max 1 page of references), including:
    • Brief summary/abstract of the proposed research;
    • Description of research program including objectives, scholarly and/or practical significance, methodology;
    • Anticipated outcomes and impact, including scholarly outputs and/or knowledge translation activities;
    • A brief timeline including the proposed start date (must be at least one month after submission of application).
  • Letter of support from the proposed supervisor(s) (1-2 pages), including the proposed start date and confirming they have all the necessary resources to support the program of work and why Western is a good fit for the program of research. This letter should be cosigned by the primary proposed supervisor's chair. 
  • Candidate's full CV, including contact information of two academic references from the PhD (not including the supervisor/team at Western);
  • Supervisor’s short CV highlighting publication, grant funding and supervisory activities over the past 5 years.


A Faculty-level committee will adjudicate applications according to the following criteria:

  • Strength of PDA candidate’s record of achievement;
  • Clarity, scope, appropriateness, and significance of the proposed research activities to be conducted by the PDA and supervisor, in accordance with the Guiding Principles described above;
  • Potential for the PDA to advance the research and scholarship of their field;
  • Suitability of the PDA to the supervisor and the research environment at Western.

2022 Recipients

Bruno Bonfa-Araujo

Bruno Bonfá-Araujo
PhD, Department of Psychology,
Universidade Sãn Francisco, Brazil
Mentor: Julie Aitken Shermer

Manfred Kofi Antwi Asuman

Manfred Kofi Antwi Asuman
D. Phil Candidate - School of Language, Media and Communication
Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Mentor: Howard Ramos