Request for Applications – Training Postdoctoral Fellowship (TPF)

Request for Applications – Training Post-Doctoral Fellowship (TPF)

The Arthritis Society is pleased to announce the 2019-20 Training Postdoctoral Fellowship Competition.

Online Research Grants Portal open: Late February 2019
Full Application deadline: April 15, 2019, 5:00 PM EST
Notification of decision: Mid August 2019
Funding start date: September 1, 2019

Please see the eligibility and requirements section prior to creating an application.


The Postdoctoral Fellowship program provides support for highly qualified postdoctoral fellows to engage in research that is in an area of clear relevance to arthritis and the Arthritis Society's 2015-2020 Research Strategy. Fellows will train under the supervision of an arthritis researcher who qualifies as a Principal Investigator as defined by the Arthritis Society. Applications are to be completed and submitted by the fellow, under the close supervision of the proposed supervisor. The training program must include actual involvement in conducting research. It is expected that the fellow will be spending at least 75% of his/her time conducting research during the tenure of the award. Fellows enrolled in programs oriented toward clinical training focused on research are eligible for these awards.

Successful applicants will also be invited to participate in the Arthritis Society’s Annual Trainee Workshop. The intent of the workshop is to augment the young investigators’ training by providing a forum to share their research, gain knowledge on select topics such as consumer engagement in research, and provide networking and mentorship opportunities.

Special Call
Applications are encouraged in the area of childhood arthritis. The Arthritis Society has committed $5M over 5 years to our Stop Childhood Arthritis initiative to fund ground-breaking research into childhood arthritis so that no child has to live with unnecessary pain.  We are very proud to partner with Genome Canada and other organizations to accelerate this important research.  We anticipate funding at least one award in this area, with a particular emphasis on:

  • disease mechanisms of childhood arthritis
  • new therapies and personalized approaches for childhood arthritis
  • innovations in transitions of care from pediatric to adult settings

Consumer Engagement
The Arthritis Society strongly values the voice of consumers in research, both in their inclusion in grant applications and the peer review process.  Applicants are encouraged to consider this in their submission. 


To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Work at an eligible research institution in Canada on a research project that is relevant to one or both of the research theme(s) identified in the Arthritis Society’s 2015-2020 research strategy:  (1) improving our understanding of arthritis and finding the cure, and (2) improving the care and management of arthritis;
  • Be in receipt of a PhD or a health professional degree (or equivalent, in a field such as medicine, dentistry, rehabilitation sciences, nursing, pharmaceutical studies, veterinary medicine, etc) by the anticipated start date of the project;
  • Be within their first four (4) years of postdoctoral training at the time of the application deadline; and
  • NOT be in the same research laboratory (supervisor) in which they received their PhD.

Note: Applicants who are not in receipt of their PhD at the application deadline but who will be in receipt of their PhD by the start of funding, and who can provide all required documentation, are eligible to apply.
The roles and responsibilities of the Trainee and Host Institution in the management of the Arthritis Society’s research and training funds are defined on the Arthritis Society’s website.

Award Amount and Term

Pending available funds, the Arthritis Society will fund up to seven (7) awards. The maximum award per application is $40,000-$50,000 annually for up to three years (3) ($120,000-$150,000 total). These awards are non-renewable. 

Please note the matching funds required for this program:

  • Candidates who hold a PhD are eligible for $40,000 for a maximum of three (3) years. The award of $40,000 includes 50% matched funding. Successful applicants will receive up to $20,000 annually from the Arthritis Society for this award. The other 50% of the award funding must come from one or more partners (government, industry, NFP or academic institution) or be allocated from an existing research agency grant.
  • Candidates who hold a clinical health professional degree are eligible for a salary of $40,000 - $50,000 for a maximum of three (3) years, depending upon the number of years of academic training. The award of $40,000 -$50,000 includes 50% matched funding. Successful applicants will receive up to $20,000 - $25,000 annually from the Arthritis Society for this award. The other 50% of the award funding must come from one or more partners (government, industry, NFP or academic institution) or be allocated from an existing research agency grant.

Peer Review

One or more multidisciplinary peer review committee(s) will be assembled to review the applications. The peer review committee will consist of scientific and clinical experts with broad expertise, along with consumers to provide patient perspectives.


All submissions will be screened for completeness and eligibility. Note that incomplete applications by the deadline will be deemed ineligible and withdrawn from the competition. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that applications are complete at the time of submission.

All applicants are strongly advised to read all program documentation listed below. If you have any questions, please contact the research department at

A maximum of one application per trainee will be permitted in each competition. 
Applications must be submitted through the Arthritis Society’s online application system and include the following components:

  • Scientific abstract (Max. 500 words)
  • Project description (Max. 2500 words)  
  • References (Max. 32,000 characters)
  • Relevance of the proposal to the Arthritis Society’s 2015-2020 Research Strategy and one or both of the research theme(s): Improving our understanding of arthritis and finding the cure, and improving the care and management of arthritis  (Max. 500 words)
  • Lay summary sections (Max. 100-150 words per section)
  • Knowledge translation (KTE) plan section (Max. 250 words per section)

Required Attachments

  • Signature page (candidate, supervisor(s), department head and Host Institution)
  • Candidate and supervisor(s) Canadian Common CV (CIHR Project Biosketch)
  • Official transcripts of the candidate’s graduate training
  • Timeline and milestones (1 pg diagram / chart)
  • Three letters of support, including one from the candidate’s primary supervisor outlining the value of the award to the candidate, the research environment, any out-of-discipline training or mentorship and details of the source of matched funding
  • Letter of support from the persons and/or organizations who will be providing matched funding

Optional attachments

  • Appendices  (Max. 5 MB per document)

Review Criteria

The review criteria for applications will include, but not necessarily be restricted to the following:

  1. Quality of the candidate and research environment
    • Strength of the CVs, transcripts, letters of support etc.
    • Strength of the research and training environment
    • Strength and appropriateness of the supervision
    • Potential impact of the award to the candidate
  2. Quality of the research project
    • Scientific merit of the arthritis research project and its potential to create new knowledge, significantly advance our understanding of arthritis, and/or improve care or support for people affected by arthritis. For example, the development of new therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, intellectual property, information to consumers and/or health policy makers, decrease the burden of illness, improve quality of life, etc.
    • Feasibility of the proposed research project within the time frame.  For example, are the timelines appropriate, technology and laboratory environment available, etc.
  3. Relevance of the proposal to arthritis and to the Arthritis Society's 2015-2020 Research Strategy theme(s)

It is the applicant’s responsibility to make convincing arguments supporting the relevance of their proposals to one or both of the Arthritis Society’s Strategic Themes.

The consumer reviewer's role is to assess the feasibility and potential impact of the research to address an important porblem, the potential of the candidate, as well as to assess the quality of the lay sections.

Important notes about this award

Out of discipline training or mentorship is encouraged to expand the trainee's perspective on (and experience with) collaborative multi-disciplinary research and help to facilitate the applicant's career development.

Awardees are permitted to hold additional training salary awards up to a value of 100% of the total salary stipend amount.

  • e.g., TPF salary award stipend = $40,000 per year; Arthritis Society’s support = up to $20,000 (50%); alternative salary awards up to $20,000 (50%) are permitted.

If the awardee receives alternative salary award support between 50 and 100% of the total salary stipend amount, the amount of the Arthritis Society’s salary award will be reduced accordingly.

  • e.g., TPF salary award stipend = $40,000 per year; alternative salary award is $30,000 (75%); the Arthritis Society’s support = $10,000 (25%).

If the awardee receives alternative salary award support above 100% of the total salary stipend amount (i.e. $40,000 or greater), then the awardee must decline the Arthritis Society’s salary award and return all unspent funds.

Awardees are expected to spend at least 75% of their time in research training. (i.e. the student may spend no more than 10 hours/week in paid employment that is not directly related to their research training).

If, at any time during the tenure of the award, the supervisor feels that the progress of the awardee is not satisfactory, the Arthritis Society must be notified in writing immediately. The award may be terminated at any time for good and sufficient reason by the awardee, the Institution or the Arthritis Society. It is the responsibility of the supervisor and the Institution to notify the Arthritis Society immediately of the change of status of an awardee.

For health care professionals who are currently registered in PhD programs and are receiving an award from the Arthritis Society, the award will terminate when the fellow has completed the degree requirements.

Awardee and Host Institution requirements

In addition to the requirements set out in the Host Institution agreement, awardees and Host Institutions who receive Arthritis Society funds are expected to act as ambassadors of our mission and may be called upon to communicate about their research with donors and other stakeholders. We also encourage grantees and Host Institutions to reach out to us to discuss opportunities for engagement.

Applicants are reminded to access the Arthritis Society website for details on the administration and reporting requirements (scientific and financial reporting, policies, etc.)