DEAR POSTDOC COMMUNITY AND WEBSITE VISITORS
We apologize for the state of our website, but CAPS/ACSP is moving to a new home online in the very near future. At present the Executive is still migrating content from this (our old) site, uploading new content, and testing functionality. If all goes well, we’ll have all the bugs worked out and be ready to unveil the new site before the end of April 2016. In the meantime, you’re welcome to browse the limited content on this site, but be warned, most pages have not been updated in quite a while. Thanks for your patience and we hope you’ll come visit us again when we LAUNCH OUR NEW WEBSITE IN A FEW WEEKS!
What is CAPS-ACSP?
CAPS-ACSP, Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars, exists as a committee of postdoctoral scholars and representatives who meet regularly (and virtually) to discuss issues arising across the country (History).
Postdoctoral scholars (postdocs) are researchers with a PhD, MD, or equivalent qualifications. They are a critical part of academia, particularly at research-focused institutions in Canada and around the globe.
However, it is widely acknowledged that the lack of uniform postdoctoral policy at the federal, provincial, and institutional levels leaves this class of highly qualified personnel in an especially vulnerable position. Not graduate students, not faculty members, postdocs have so far slipped between the cracks of the recognized groups in the academic workforce and remain a poorly defined heterogeneous group of ‘apprentice’ scholars and scientists. As such, postdocs generally do not have well defined expectations of employment, standard employment rights and responsibilities, commensurate (or even normalized) pay scales, standard employment benefits (e.g., extended health/dental coverage), pensions, occupational health insurance, or procedures for resolving workplace conflict. The treatment of postdocs in Canada is also highly inconsistent across the country, and yet this issue continues to be ignored by the federal and provincial governments, as well as the leaders of our post-secondary research institutions.
- Please see our FAQ for Non-postdoctoral Scholars for more information on what postdoctoral fellows do.
- For an overview of the number and types of postdocs in Canada, see the results of our 2009 Survey.
CAPS-ACSP is always looking for volunteers, if you would like to get involved with the association, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
1. To provide a focal point for the expression of the views and needs of postdoctoral scholars at the national, provincial, regional and institutional levels.
2. To facilitate the establishment of best practice polices for the postdoctoral training and work environment, and to encourage their implementation by institutions and postdocs.
3. To provide support to existing institutional postdoctoral associations as well as aid in the establishment of new postdoctoral associations at institutions that currently have no such representation.
4. To enter into meaningful dialogue with the appropriate institutional representatives, funding agencies, professional organizations, and government bodies to identify solutions and bring about improvements in the current postdoctoral situation at the national level.
The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) in the USA formed in 1997 to better the postdoctoral training experience for postdoctoral researchers in that country. This organization has accepted Canadian postdocs into their organization as associate members and has freely offered badly needed mentorship in the formation of postdoctoral associations (PDAs) and postdoctoral offices (PDOs). However, it has been increasingly evident, that issues arise that are unique to Canada and its research funding structure and a national advocacy organization is imperative for continued success at the institutional level. At the annual NPA conference in 2007, a group of representatives from Canadian PDOs and PDAs met together to discuss the formation of a Canadian national postdoctoral association. By working in a co-operative and non-adversarial manner, many of these postdoctoral organizations have encouraged their institutions to implement long overdue institutional policy changes relating to postdocs. However, although these postdoctoral associations may be successful at generating changes within their institutions, many issues require policy change at the national level. CAPS-ACSP will seek to bring about changes that will benefit all postdocs nationally, and consequently benefit all parties interested in seeing science flourish in Canada. Our endeavors have been supported by the NPA in that they have funded bimonthly teleconferences for the members of the CAPS-ACSP steering committee and have provided invaluable guidance on many issues. To date, CAPS-ACSP exists as a committee of postdoctoral scholars and representatives who meet regularly (and virtually) to discuss issues arising across the country.