Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

The Killam Scholarship and Prize Programmes were established in memory of Izaak Walton Killam through the Will of his wife, Dorothy Johnston Killam, and through gifts made during her lifetime. Their primary purpose is to support advanced education and research at five Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The UBC Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are provided annually from the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Fund for Advanced Studies and are available for most fields of research. It was Mrs. Killam’s desire that those selected to receive fellowships: “be likely to contribute to the advancement of learning or to win distinction in a profession. A Killam scholar should not be a one-sided person… Special distinction of intellect should be founded upon sound character.”

The number of new awards offered each year presently varies between three and five.

Additional details, including an Instruction Guide, can be found on the UBC Vancouver Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. Please direct inquiries to

For inquiries related to the UBC Okanagan internal competition, please email

Fellowship Details

UBC Okanagan Pre-Application Proposal Deadline: Wednesday, September 6, 2023 at 12:00 noon
UBC Okanagan Applicant Deadline: October 16, 2023 at 12:00 noon
Annual Value: $60,000 annually for up to two years
Award Status:  Closed

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Killam, applicants:

  • Must have completed all requirements of their PhD no more than 24 months prior to the anticipated fellowship start date.
    • Fellowships offered through this year’s competition must begin no earlier than May 1, 2024 and no later than January 2, 2025.  For example, if an applicant wishes to start their fellowship on May 1, 2024, they must have completed requirements for their PhD no earlier than April 30, 2022 (24 months prior).
    • Completion of PhD requirements refers to the date that the applicant completed all the steps required for obtaining their degree. Although these requirements may vary by institution and degree type, they normally include thesis defense corrections and thesis deposition. It is not the convocation date.
    • The period of eligibility may be extended for applicants who have had their career interrupted or delayed for the purpose of childrearing, illness, or health-related family responsibilities. The interruption(s) or delay(s) must have occurred after the applicant completed all the requirements of their PhD. Note that the eligibility window will only be extended by the duration of the delay(s) or interruption(s), to a maximum of one year. Justification for the eligibility extension must be provided in the “Special Circumstances” attachment.
  • Must not have pursued PhD-level studies at any campus of the University of British Columbia.
  • If the applicant has already commenced a postdoctoral appointment at UBC, they must provide a rationale for continuing their appointment at UBC (rationale provided in the “Special Circumstances” document).
  • Must not currently hold a tenure-track or continuing faculty position at a university or college. Applicants who currently hold a temporary, term, or non-tenure track faculty appointment are eligible to apply.  Generally “tenure” or “tenure-track” refers to an open-ended academic position in which the holder can teach, form a research group, and apply for externally funded research as a principal investigator.
  • May be citizens of any country.  Though there are no restrictions regarding nationality of applicants, successful candidates must be able to meet all Canadian immigration requirements. Fellowships are tenable only through UBC appointment, and fellows are expected to make the UBC campus their base while holding the fellowship, apart from necessary research trips (no more than three months in each year of the fellowship).
  • Should have shown outstanding ability in research, in that they would be likely to contribute to the advancement of learning or to win distinction in their profession.
  • Should not be one-sided, and have a sound character that complements their intellect.

Eligibility of Proposed Supervisor:

An applicant’s proposed supervisor must be a continuing faculty member with a tenure-track appointment at UBC. A proposed supervisor must make a commitment to supervise the applicant’s research for the entire proposed 24 months of the fellowship.

Selection Criteria

The search is for candidates whose work is beyond “excellent” and whose research is convincingly ground-breaking.

Excellence in scholarly work and independent research – 60%

  • quality of contributions to research to date
  • scholarships and awards held
  • duration of graduate studies, taking into account the nature of the program and relevant personal circumstances
  • determination and ability to complete projects within an appropriate period of time
  • critical thinking, judgment, and initiative
  • resilience and flexibility in adjusting research plans, particularly in response to COVID-19 impacts

Quality of proposed research project – 30%

  • originality in developing a research agenda
  • merit, potential significance, clarity, feasibility of the proposed project
  • relevance of applicant’s work experience and academic training to field of proposed research
  • suitability and quality of research environment (proposed supervisor, facilities, support of academic unit)

Personal qualities of the applicant – 10%

  • character: integrity, collegiality and respect for others
  • communication skills
  • leadership abilities as demonstrated by employment, athletic/artistic achievements, community engagement, volunteering, etc.

Preference will be given to applicants who have not already held a postdoctoral award or fellowship.


The applicant completes and submits a pre-application proposal form and, if recommended by their proposed faculty, a full application.

The pre-application proposal form, full application, and a detailed application guide are included in the ‘Additional Resources’ section below.

Applicants to the Killam may also be eligible for the UBC Okanagan Postdoctoral Fellowship. To be considered for both fellowships, applicants must submit the Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Pre-Application Proposal form, and select ‘yes’ to: “I have reviewed the eligibility criteria and would like to be considered for the UBC Okanagan Postdoctoral Fellowship”. Applicants must also submit the UBCOPF Pre-Application Proposal form in order to be considered for both. It is not necessary to submit two separate full applications to the Killam and UBCOPF; a Killam application will suffice for both fellowship programs. For more information please visit the UBC Okanagan Postdoctoral Fellowships webpage.