Post-doctoral researchers respond to federal budget

TORONTO, March 5 /CNW/ - Among the few items relating to higher education in the 2010 federal budget, new funding was promised to post-doctoral fellows (PDFs). Post-doctoral fellowships are awarded to Ph.D. graduates in order to undertake important research before working in faculty or industry research positions.

"Too often post-doctoral fellows find themselves without options for faculty positions, and stay in these positions on for upwards of six years or more," said Dr. Katherine Akers, Officer for External Relations of the University of Toronto Post-doctoral Association (UTPDA). "While it is a great honour to undertake such meaningful and valuable research, many of us are working at surprisingly low wages with no ability to contribute to pensions or RRSPs." Salaries for post-doctoral fellows can be less than $30,000 per year at most universities.

The 2010 budget allocated $45 million over five years to the granting councils to establish 140 new post-doctoral fellowships valued at $70,000 beginning in November 2010. "Though the vast majority of post-doctoral fellows will not directly benefit from this funding, we hope that it will serve as a benchmark for the value we bring to university research," said Dr. Jesse Greener, President of the University of Toronto Post-doctoral Association.

Post-doctoral fellows are not recognized as employees by many universities, however, the 2010 budget clearly articulated that PDF salaries are subject to income tax. "We hope that moving forward, the government's clarification on the tax status of post-docs will help to resolve the question of our status within the academy," said Greener.

The UTPDA is the largest post-doctoral association in Canada, representing approximately 1,500 post-doctoral fellows at the University of Toronto and its affiliated research institutions.


For further information: For further information: Jesse Greener, President, (416) 301-5747 or Katherine Akers, External Relations,

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