Training Postdoctoral Fellowship (TPF)

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


Online Research Grants Portal open: February 26, 2024
Full Application deadline: April 16, 2024, 5:00 PM ET
Notification of decision: Mid/End of August 2024
Funding start date: September 1, 2024

Please see the eligibility and requirements section prior to creating an application and read through the Tips Sheet for Applicants and Application Form Template below. A sample of the application form can also be found in Apply
Tips Sheet for Applicants [279 KB]

Application Form Template


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 Arthritis Society Canada’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025: Accelerating Impact - Research Strategy which aims to identify research avenues that focus on areas of highest priority to patients and achieve the highest levels of scientific excellence and rigour.  Applications must focus on innovative research efforts in the following priority areas.

  • Arthritis pain research in:

    • Improving our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of pain

    • Translating basic science discoveries into practice

    • Improving techniques to measure pain

    • Developing new and more personalized treatment approaches

    • Alternative approaches to pain management including research on medical cannabis from basic science, clinical, health services and policy perspectives

    • Improving self-management tools and technology enablers to help manage and communicate about pain

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) research in:

    • Improving our understanding of what cause different forms of OA, including the underlying biological mechanisms and how the disease progresses

    • Understand sex and gender differences in patients with OA

    • Developing new and more personalized treatment approaches

    • Developing more effective self-management tools

    • Improving health services and systems

    • Reducing health disparities in vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations

  • Inflammatory arthritis (IA) research in:

    • Improving our understanding of what causes different forms of IA, including the underlaying biological mechanisms and how the disease progresses

    • Developing new and more personalized treatment approaches

    • Improving strategies to manage symptoms

    • Developing more effective methods to support patient-physician communications

    • Improving health services and systems

    • Reducing health disparities in vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations

  • Childhood arthritis research in:

    • Improving our understanding of what causes childhood arthritis, how to detect it earlier, and diagnose it most effectively

    • Developing new and more personalized therapies that are safe and effective

    • Innovations to improve transitions in care as children navigate from pediatric to adult healthcare settings and improve unique quality of life issues through other life changes (e.g., education, employment)

  • Work-related research in:

    • Providing a strong evidence base to inform arthritis-related workplace policies and accommodations

    • Ensuring that employees and employers have effective tools and resources to communicate how to manage chronic conditions in the workplace

    • The prevention of workplace disability and the most effective accommodations

Fellows will train under the supervision of an arthritis researcher who qualifies as a Principal Investigator as defined by Arthritis Society Canada. 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 their 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 attend the Canadian Arthritis Research Conference. The intent 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.

Consumer Engagement
Arthritis Society Canada values the voice of consumers in research, both in their inclusion in grant applications and the peer review process. Applicants should consider this in their submission and are strongly encouraged to integrate input from consumers in the development of research questions and/or design as appropriate. Productive engagement of consumers in the conduct, analysis and/or dissemination of the research should be described, where appropriate. Please note that the review panel will take into consideration whether consumers are involved and to what extent. For more information on consumer engagement, you can download Arthritis Society Canada’s resource for researchers or visit our Get Involved in Research page.

Sex and Gender
Applicants should account for sex as a biological variable and/or gender as a sociocultural determinant of health in basic science, clinical, health service and population health studies where appropriate.  Applicants will be required to articulate this within their application.  Sex and Gender in Health research resources and training modules can be accessed here.


To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Work at an eligible research institution in Canada on a research project that is relevant to the research priority areas in Arthritis Society Canada’s 2020-25 Research Strategy;

  • 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. 

  • ​Not hold a competitive award, as of the September 1 start date, that exceeds the value of the award. 

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 Arthritis Society Canada’s research and training funds are defined on the Arthritis Society Canada website.

Award Amount and Term

Our research funding is always contingent on the generosity of our donors.

The maximum award per application is $40,000-$50,000 annually for up to three years ($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  years. The award of $40,000 includes 50% matched funding. Successful applicants will receive up to $20,000 annually from Arthritis Society Canada 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 held by their supervisor.

  • Candidates who hold a clinical health professional degree are eligible for a salary of $40,000 - $50,000 for a maximum of three 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 $25,000 annually from Arthritis Society Canada 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 held by their supervisor.


A maximum of one application per trainee will be permitted in the competition.

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.

Applications must be submitted through the Arthritis Society Canada’s online application system and include the following components:

  • Scientific abstract (Max. 500 words)

  • Project description (Max. 2,500 words)  

  • References 

  • Relevance of the proposal to Arthritis Society Canada’s Society’s 2020-2025 Research Strategy priority areas  (Max. 250 words)

  • Lay summary sections (Max. 150 words per section)

  • Knowledge translation (KTE) plan sections (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 Biosketch - CIHR issued PIN required)

  • 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 confirming that the trainee will devote at least 75% of their time to conducting the proposed research, an assessment of the candidate’s critical thinking, independence, perseverance, originality, organizational skills, interest in discovery, etc., 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.

Optional attachments

  • Appendices  (Max. 5 MB per document)

Peer Review

One or more multidisciplinary peer review committees will be assembled to review the applications. The peer review committee(s) will consist of scientific and clinical experts with broad expertise, along with consumers to provide patient perspectives. It is important that applicants devote time to write the lay summary sections. 

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.

    • Consumer engagement plan, as appropriate

    • Sex and/or gender considerations

    • 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 the proposal to Arthritis Society Canada's 2020-2025 Research Strategy

It is the applicant’s responsibility to make convincing arguments supporting the relevance of their proposals to Arthritis Society Canada's Research Strategy. Specifically, one or more of the five research priority areas (arthritis pain, OA, IA, childhood, and work). More details can be found in Accelerating Impact: Research Strategy.

The role of the consumer is to assess the feasibility, relevance to the strategic priorities and potential impact of the proposed research to address an important problem and the potential of the candidate. The consumer will also 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 competitive training salary awards, however, if the awardee receives an additional salary award(s) valued beyond the required matched value of the award, the amount of Arthritis Society Canada’s training award may be reduced accordingly. Awardees must advise Arthritis Society Canada of any additional awards received during the term of the award.

Any non-competitive funds, beyond the matched funding required, that may become available to the candidate (i.e., internal awards or top-ups from supervisor/department sources) can be accepted but cannot exceed the institutional stipend scale.

Awardees are expected to spend at least 75% of their time in research training. (i.e., the trainee 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 or 75% of the trainee's time cannot be devoted to conducting research, Arthritis Society Canada 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 Arthritis Society Canada. It is the responsibility of the supervisor and the Institution to notify Arthritis Society Canada 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 Arthritis Society Canada, 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 Canada 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 Canada website for details on the administration and reporting requirements (scientific and financial reporting, policies, etc.).