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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).

What is a postdoc anyway?

Postdoctoral researchers (postdocs) are newly qualified researchers with PhD and/or MD backgrounds. They are a critical piece in the framework of research that is done at research focused academic institutions in Canada and around the globe.

However, it is widely acknowledged that the current diffuse organization of postdoctoral training 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 workforce of the scientific community and represent a heterogeneous group of poorly defined ‘apprentice’ scientists. As such, postdocs generally do not have well defined expectations of employment, appropriate employment rights and responsibilities, commensurate or even normalized pay scales, performance evaluations, employment benefits such as proper health care, pensions, occupational health insurance, or procedures for resolving conflict. To date, the treatment of postdocs within Canada is inconsistent at best, and largely ignored, at worst.

  • 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 (chair@caps-acsp.ca)!

Our Aims:

1. To provide a focal point for the expression of the views and needs of postdoctoral scientists at national, regional and institutional levels in matters concerning postdocs.

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 association.

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.

Our history:

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.

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Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars / Association canadienne des stagiaires postdoctoraux