A Guide for Postdoctoral Fellows, the handbook for UBC PDFs, provides basic information and advice for prospective and current PDFs. It should facilitate your transition to UBC, and help to ensure that you have a satisfying and rewarding experience.

Aerial image of the Martha Piper Plaza Fountain on the UBC Point Grey campus with the text 'A Guide for Postdoctoral Fellows' on the top of the page and the UBC logo on the bottom of the page.

Download A Guide for Postdoctoral Fellows

Much of the information in this handbook is from the Faculty Relations website and in the Postdoctoral Fellows Office (PDFO) website. Please check these websites for more detailed information and to check for current language and developments. UBC operates according to policies, practices and procedures that may change from time to time. Contained herein are policies and resources pertinent to PDFs. PDFs may also be subject to additional policies that are specific to their departments or funding agencies. The official University of British Columbia Postdoctoral Policy, contained in Policy AP10, can be found within the list of policies on the University Counsel website.

Last Updated January 2023


Please ensure that you complete a Postdoc profile to describe your research project and expertise.Various offices and external entities may use the expertise search to identify experts at UBC, for example - media inquiries, research collaborators, prospective employers, government offices or other similar stakeholders. We strongly believe that these Postdoctoral profiles will provide numerous benefits to all of our UBC Postdoctoral Fellows. Additionally, your profile will appear in an internal Postdoc directory.


Postdoctoral Fellowships 
Professional and Career Development


Additional Resources



Postdoctoral Fellows may be eligible for health benefits, which include BC Medical Services Plan, Extended Health, Dental and the Employee and Family Assistance Program. If you have any questions about your benefits eligibility or your enrollment, please contact your department administrator.

Information about Benefits, including eligibility and coverage, is available on the UBC Human Resources website

Housing and Relocation

Housing & Relocation Services helps with the smooth transition of new faculty, postdocs, staff and their families who are relocating to UBC. The office is an excellent first point of contact for those moving or who have recently moved, providing resources, support and events to help situate you in your new surroundings. Please contact the Housing & Relocation Services office for assistance with your relocation.

Professional Development

The Postdoctoral Fellows Office offers free professional development events that are available to all UBC-appointed Postdoctoral Fellows. Any questions about PDFO events can be directed to

In addition to the PDFO's professional development events, UBC-appointed postdoctoral fellows may also be eligible to access the following professional development resources:

  1. Visit UBC’s page at
  2. Click “Activate my Membership”. Please note you will need an email address ending in “”.
  3. Create a profile.
  4. You should then be able to sign-in anytime to access the programs.
  5. If you have any problems creating your profile or accessing the site, please contact:
    Individual Development Plan (IDP) Tools

    In addition to the professional development opportunities offered through UBC, the following free Individual Development Plan (IDP) tools may be of interest:



    There are a number of free health, mental health, and wellbeing resources available to Postdoctoral Fellows at UBC. 

    Internal UBC Resources:
    Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) - Free Confidential Counselling and Support Services

    Mental health resources are available for currently-appointed UBC Postdoctoral Fellows through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). This confidential and voluntary counselling support service, provided through LifeWorks, is available in multiple languages and formats, and counsellors can help with a range of issues including stress, depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. The LifeWorks Care Access Centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-424-0770 or through

    Mindfulness and Meditation

    The UBC community offers a number of opportunities to learn mindfulness and practice meditation in the 30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge and Meditation groups at UBC. Visit the UBC Human Resources website for information and meditation resources.

    Substance Use and Addiction Support Resources

    For people who struggle with substance use and addictions, it can sometimes be difficult to seek out help and support. If you are looking for help, or you want to support someone you know in finding assistance, the following resources are available.

    On-Demand Substance Use Support by ALAViDA TRAiL

    The ALAViDA TRAiL is your one-stop-shop to a life where you’re in control of your relationship with substances - no matter if you're just curious, or facing mild, moderate or severe challenges. You can access ALAViDA directly from your smartphone. No awkward conversations, no shame and 100% confidential.

    Learn through self-guided resources, or message and meet coaches, therapists and physicians who deliver a personalized program proven to reduce substance use. All supported by a wide range of digital resources – from journaling to activities that help you reach your goals. Along the way, master vital coping skills to manage depression, anxiety and difficult emotions.

    Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace: Not Myself Today

    Since 2015, UBC has been an active participant of the Canadian Mental Health Association's Not Myself Today (NMT) Initiative. NMT includes digital toolkits and activities, online learning tools, and resources.

    For more information, visit the Central Human Resources website.

    UBC Mental Health and Wellbeing Events and Resources

    UBC Human Resources offers a series of free health and wellbeing events and resources. For more information and to register, visit the Central HR website and the Healthy UBC Newsletter online or subscribe to the emailed Healthy UBC newsletter.

     External Resources:
    24/7 BC Crisis Centre

    The BC Crisis Centre provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Their Distress Services are a resource where youth and adults in distress can:

    • GET HELP by having a real-time online chat with a trained volunteer, or by getting email support from the Crisis Centre’s professional staff
    • LEARN MORE about common issues and concerns such as bullying, disordered eating, depression and self-harm
    • FIND RESOURCES by connecting to our online library of useful websites and community resources

    Phone Support

    The Crisis Centre's Phone Distress Services are available if you are worried about something, feel upset or confused, or you just want to talk to someone.  The phone lines below are available in over 140 languages using a language service. 

    • Greater Vancouver: 604-872-3311
    • Toll Free: 1-866-661-3311
    • 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
    • TTY: 1-866-872-0113
    • Senior’s Distress: 604-872-1234
    • 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433

    Web Support is a web-based hotline for adults (25+) in distress where they can access free, confidential, non-judgmental support (noon – 1am, 7 days a week) from dedicated volunteers, supported by a small team of professional staff.

    24/7 Crisis Services Canada

    Crisis Services Canada provides a safe place to talk - any time, in your own way. If you are having thoughts of suicide, you don’t have to face them alone. This service is available if you need a safe and judgement free place to talk. Our responders are here to listen to you, support you, and keep you safe. Crisis Services Canada can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, and connect you with local support resources, but are ultimately here to listen and share this difficult moment with you.

    • Phone: 1.833.456.4566 - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
    • Text Message: Send a text to 45645 - available 4:00 PM - 12:00 AM Eastern Time. Standard text messaging rates apply.
    Access & Assessment Centre (AAC) - Vancouver General Hospital

    The Access & Assessment Centre (AAC) is available to help individuals, their family members, and/or their friends during a non-life threatening mental health and/or substance use issue. AAC staff includes registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, and social workers, psychiatrists and reception staff who are here to help. We provide pathways for people and families to access VCH mental health and/or substance use services in Vancouver and offer an alternative to the Emergency department for people having a non-life threatening mental health and/or substance use issue.

    Call (604) 675-3700 or walk in between 7:30 a.m. - 11 p.m. 

    Joseph & Rosalie Segal & Family Health Centre
    803 West 12th Avenue
    Level 1 East Entrance
    Vancouver, BC V5Z 1N1
    Entrance located at the back of health centre building; access through laneway/service road.

    Phone: (604) 675-3700
    Fax: (604) 675-3705

    British Columbia Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions

    The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions is the Government of British Columbia's pathway for mental health and substance use supports across BC. Visit for a collection of resources on a wide variety of subjects including alcohol and drug information referral services.

    Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Online Support Programs

    The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) offers a number of free online mental health support programs. These programs include:

    • BounceBack: Offers weekly calls and homework with a personal coach to combat depression, anxiety, stress, and worry.
    • Living Life to the Full: An interactive, 8-week online course based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy delivered in 90-minute sessions. Available for adults and for youth ages 13-18.

    The CMHA is regularly adding support resources to their website. Please visit the CMHA website for more information and to access these supports.

    First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Helpline

    The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada.

    Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or use their chat box below to connect with a counsellor on-line

    Experienced and culturally competent Help Line counsellors can help if you:

    • want to talk
    • are distressed
    • have strong emotional reactions
    • are triggered by painful memories

    If asked, counsellors can also work with you to find other wellness supports that are available near you

    Phone and chat counselling is available in English and French. On request, phone counselling is also available in:

    • Cree
    • Ojibway
    • Inuktitut
    HealthLink BC

    HealthLink BC's health service navigators can help you find health information or health services, or connect you with a nurse, dietitian, exercise professional, or pharmacist. Translation services are available in over 130 languages. To get service in another language, simply state the language you are looking for (example say “Punjabi”), and an interpreter will join the call.

    Call 8-1-1 to speak with a navigator anytime of the day or night. If your telephone service provider is not able to support the 8-1-1 number, the service can be accessed by calling 604-215-8110.

    Medimap BC is Canada's largest and fastest growing online resource for connecting patients with same-day access to care. Currently, over 900 medical clinics in 5 provinces update their wait times to in order to improve access to care for their patients.

    Substance Use and Addiction Support Resources

    The following community resources are available to provide substance use and addiction support:

    Wellness Together Canada

    Wellness Together Canada provides connections to mental health and substance use support, resources, and counselling with a mental health professional. This hub allows you to choose from a variety of resources to motivate and support your wellness journey. Wellness Together Canada provides tailored support programs and general resources for adults and for youth.

    Visit the Wellness Together website for additional information and supports.


    Policy AP10, Postdoctoral Fellows 

    Postdoctoral Fellows at UBC fall under UBC Policy AP10, Postdoctoral Fellows. The official University of British Columbia Postdoctoral Policy can be found on the Office of the University Counsel website.

    Recruiting Postdoctoral Fellows

    Information about recruiting Postdoctoral Fellows can be found on the Human Resources website.


    Each department/unit is responsible for covering the cost of benefits for eligible Postdoctoral Fellows. Generally, benefits are paid out of the Supervisor/PI's project grant. The Benefits Cost Calculator provided by Payroll can assist you in estimating the cost of a Postdoctoral Fellow's benefits and statutory deductions.

    Detailed information about benefits for eligible Postdoctoral Fellows can be found on the Human Resources website.

    Immigration Process

    Detailed information about the immigration process for foreign Postdoctoral Fellows is available on the Human Resources website.

    Appointment Process

    All Postdoctoral Fellows must hold a formal appointment at UBC. The appointment process is followed regardless of funding source. Initial PDF appointments are typically made one year at a time, and are renewable up to 3 years (appointments may be renewable up to 5 years in total with the Dean’s written approval). 

    Appointments are done at the departmental level, and information about the appointment process and requirements is available on the Human Resources website.

    Offer Letters for Postdoctoral Fellows 

    Offer letters are required for Postdoctoral Fellows. The following offer letter templates are available: 

    PDFO Welcome Letter

    In addition to the offer letter required by Faculty Relations, the PDFO requests that all units provide each incoming postdoc with a copy of the Welcome Letter provided by the PDFO. This Welcome Letter includes important information about Benefits, Housing and Relocation, Faculty Relations, and Orientation for new postdocs, as well as information about the PDFO and the UBC Postdoctoral Association.

    Please contact the PDFO with any questions about the Welcome Letter.

    UBC Administrators Workshop

    The PDFO and Faculty Relations offer a joint workshop for Administrators. The workshop will cover a variety of topics related to postdocs which will include: the appointment process, benefits, immigration, onboarding and resources.


    Conflict Resolution and PDF Coordinators

    UBC’s official process for resolution of disagreements is found in Policy AP10.

    Open and frequent communication between you and your supervising faculty member is the best way to avoid conflict. To resolve a disagreement between you and your supervising faculty member is to recognize it when it first arises, and collaborate immediately on finding a solution. If unresolved, disagreements should be brought to the attention of the head of your academic unit.

    If further resolution is needed, contact your Faculty’s PDF Coordinator, who will act as an impartial facilitator. PDF Coordinators for each Faculty are as follows:

    Faculty PDF Coordinators or Postdoctoral Fellows at UBC Vancouver may refer an issue to the Postdoctoral Fellows Office.