Skip to main content Skip to local navigation
Home » Connected Minds Postdoctoral Fellowships

Connected Minds Postdoctoral Fellowships


New technologies are revolutionizing society, creating a 'techno-social collective' where humans and intelligent technologies are deeply interconnected. While such advances present exciting opportunities, they also present significant risks, especially for vulnerable and/or marginalized populations. The Connected Minds Program –supported by the Canada Research Excellence Fund, York and Queens’ Universities, and our many partners from multiple sectors—envisions a world where breakthroughs in technology promote social health and justice for all, with special focus on Indigenous Peoples in Canada. For further details, see:

Connected Minds Long-Term Goals:

  1. To understand how the interplay of humans and intelligent technologies produces unexpected, emergent properties at the community/whole society levels
  2. To predict how new technologies will disrupt the techno-social collective
  3. To use these predictions to drive new research and technology development

As such, we expect all funded initiatives and awards to contribute towards the long-term goals of our program.


Research Themes: Connected Minds research aligns with three core themes: Theme I (Co- creating Research for Societal Needs and Predicted Impact) projects will mobilize transdisciplinary academics expertise and non-academic partnerships (including Indigenous Communities) to co- create research topics, priorities, and approaches. Theme II (Fundamentals of Social Interaction: Neural, Algorithmic, and Social Networks) projects will study different levels and scales, from the local (e.g., cortical microcircuits, network modules, system components) to global (e.g., whole- brain functional connectivity, control systems), to the social networks composed of both humans and machines. Theme III (Designing and Developing Socially Responsible Technologies) projects will engage current and new partners in industry, healthcare, government, and not-for-profit sectors to develop these intelligent technologies, and promulgate policies that promote a healthy, just society, and bench to world validation.


The Connected Minds Postdoctoral Award will provide financial support to high-calibre academics doing scholarly work that is aligned with the Connected Minds program under the supervision of a registered Connected Minds member.

Connected Minds will support interdisciplinary training programs across its three pillars and will support training opportunities with partners in industry, government and non-profit sectors that will enhance the postdoctoral experience. Fellowships will be awarded competitively based on the strength of the candidate, the strength of the research proposal, and fit with the goals of the Connected Minds program in addition to the Affirmative Action policies noted below.

Specifically, successful applicants are expected to make meaningful contributions towards fulfilling a subset of Connected Minds’ strategic objectives and pivotal performance benchmarks, encompassing:

  • Collaborations with industry, academic, government, & community partners (including Indigenous Peoples & Communities)
  • Increased interdisciplinary scholarship, research, & art creation
  • Increased international recognition, collaboration, & leadership
  • Contributions to one or more of the following three National Science and Innovation Priority Areas (NSIPA): 1) Healthy Canadians, 2) Innovative Resilient Communities 3) Technologically Advanced Canada

In recognition of the underrepresentation of Black and Indigenous Peoples within these fields, at least 10% of available fellowships will be designated for qualified applicants identifying as African, Caribbean, and Black, and at least 10% for Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit), totaling at least 20% of fellowships. To qualify for these designated awards, applicants must complete the voluntary self-identification form and meet the minimum requirements set for the award.

Additionally, if you belong to one of the other underrepresented groups (racialized individuals; persons with disabilities; women and 2SLGBTQIA+), self-identification will be used as a tiebreaker for candidates who are deemed equal. The tie breaker situation is directly linked to thresholds the Connected Minds program seeks to achieve based on our Affirmative Action targets.

Award Details:

$60K/yr for 2 years + benefits

$8.5K research & networking allowance/yr for 2 years

Application Deadline:

May 3, 2024

Applicants may be incoming or within 6 months of their current appointment at York or Queen's

Click Here to Apply.

Self-Identification Survey.

To be eligible to apply:

  • A three-member supervisory team, including:
    • Primary Supervisor: Applicants must be supervised by a Connected Minds (CM) member; see the members page for a full list of our members. *Note that the supervisor must be based at the institution (York or Queen’s) where the fellowship is held and should be a different supervisor from the candidate's graduate program and/or previous postdoctoral fellowship(s).
    • Transdisciplinary Co-Supervisor: Applications must include a transdisciplinary co-supervisor from a different expertise ‘pillar’ (neuroscience, technology, society) from within the CM membership. This person may come from either CM institution.
    • External Collaborator: The proposed project must also involve a collaborator external to the home institution (either from the other CM institution, or any other institution inside or outside of Canada, or a non-institutional partner (can be from either academic, industry, community, and/or government). Collaborators must agree to become a CM affiliate member.
  • A PhD or equivalent degree must be completed by the start date;
  • Normally, the PhD degree must not have been obtained from the home institution within the past 2-years. In circumstances where the student wishes to continue as a post-doc at the same institution, they must justify how this training program and project will be significantly different from their PhD program studies in their career development statement (see below).
  • Postdoctoral candidates who have already started at York or Queen’s are only eligible to apply to the Connected Minds Fellowships during their first 6 months of employment (or until the first available Connected Minds Postdoctoral Award application deadline, whichever comes first);
  • Successful applicants must accept an offer with a start date:
    • Spring deadline: No earlier than July 1 and no later than December 31;
    • Fall deadline: No earlier than December 1 and no later than July 31;
    • Extensions to the start date may be granted in extenuating circumstances and if the budget allows.
  • The project must be aligned with the Connected Minds mandate (see intro) and meet award evaluation criteria (see below).

All Connected Minds Funded Fellows are:

  • Required to complete the program’s on-line progress report at the end of each fiscal year (starting with the fiscal year that funding was received).
  • Required to provide a brief progress report at the end of each fiscal year (starting with the fiscal year that funding was received).
  • Expected to participate in the midterm and final progress reports.
  • Expected to present their progress/results at Connected Minds annual retreats.
  • Expected to participate in Connected Minds biennial academic conferences, alternating with our Technology and Innovation Symposia, as well as Connected Minds hosted workshops on technical, academic, and applied themes.
  • Encouraged to work with Innovation York or Queen's Office of Partnership and Innovation to consider any commercialization or entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Required to participate in a 3-month research exchange in a partner organization or internship in a different sector or with a community partner. (Connected Minds will fund up to $10,000 for travel related expenses for the research exchange).
  • Strongly encouraged to apply for external funding.
  • Required to acknowledge Connected Minds/CFREF funding in publications, presentations, conference materials, and professional communications as follows: “This work was undertaken thanks in part to funding from the Connected Minds Program, supported by Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Grant #CFREF-2022-00010.”
  • Encouraged to join the Connected Minds Alumni group upon departure from the program, provide career updates, and keep connected to the program for career development, networking opportunities, knowledge mobilization and community engagement.

Accountability of Supervisory Team:

  • All Connected Minds members involved in the supervisory team for funded trainees are required to complete the program’s on-line progress report at the end of each fiscal year (starting with the fiscal year that funding was received) as well as provide baseline data for the 5 years leading up to joining Connected Minds.
  • The supervisory team must provide the resources and support required to enable their trainee to complete the proposed project successfully.
  • The Primary Supervisor must ensure that their trainee meet all requirements for holding a Connected Minds scholarship and remain accountable during the tenure of their award.
  • Can only be the primary supervisor for up to two Connected Minds funded fellows at a time.
  • Immigration expenses are ineligible under CFREF rules, and the supervisor will be responsible for funding any immigration/visa expenses related to their trainee.
  1. The application deadline posted on the Connected Minds website will be strictly enforced.
  2. The full application must be submitted through the MachForm link posted on the Connected Minds website.
  3. Provide a summary of the proposed project (objectives, approach, relationship to the goals of Connected Minds, community engagement, and expected outcomes/impact). (1,000 words max)
  4. Statement on how EDI principles and best practices will be applied in the development of the proposal’s design, implementation, and impact (see EDI considerations below).
  5. Provide a summary of how this project will contribute to your career goals. (500 words max)
  6. Provide one letter of reference. Note that the letter should come from a referee that is not on the proposed supervisory team and be emailed directly from the referee to
  7. Upload a letter of support from the proposed supervisory team, detailing the contribution and commitments of the supervisory team and explicitly indicate the different pillars each supervisor's & co-supervisor's research profile represent. This should clearly state how the advisory team will mentor and support the applicant both for their proposed project and career goals and should be signed by all members (primary supervisor, co-supervisor, and external collaborator(s)) of the team.
  8. Upload a copy of most recent CV.
  9. Complete the self-identification survey.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Considerations:

EDI are embedded as foundational principles in the CFREF objectives, expected outcomes, and reporting requirements. The Tri-Agency Institutional Program Secretariat expects that CFREF-funded initiatives will demonstrate exceptional leadership in contributing to transforming their research disciplines and Canada’s research ecosystem to help it become equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

Explain how EDI principles and best practices were applied in the development of the proposal’s project design, implementation, and impact by answering the following:

  1. Are sex (biological) considerations taken into account in this study proposal? Please explain how or why not. (150 words max)
  2. Are gender (socio-cultural) considerations taken into account in this study proposal? Please explain how or why not. (150 words max)
  3. Are diversity considerations (e.g., Racialization, Indigeneity, 2SLGBTQIA+, Poverty, Disabilities) taken into account in this study proposal? Please explain how or why not. (150 words max)
  4. Please explain how this research impacts underrepresented (Indigenous Peoples; African, Caribbean and Black individuals; racialized individuals; persons with disabilities; women and 2SLGBTQIA+) groups. (150 words max)

Appendices (any uploaded form should have a font of Arial 11, or equivalent):

  1. Tables, Figures, Project Timeline, Works Cited (Optional, 3 pages max) – Please note that any additional pages beyond three may be deleted prior to review.

Click Here to Apply.

Self-Identification Survey.

  • Connected Minds staff will pre-screen applications to ensure that they meet the basic criteria described above.
  • Conflicts of interest within the training committee will be flagged.
  • Any project addressing Indigeneity will be further reviewed by the Indigenous Advisory Circle. In keeping with principles of self-determination, the Circle has the right to veto projects related to Indigenous research.
  • The Connected Minds Training Committee will evaluate each application and provide a score out of 100. Scores will be weighted based on the criteria below.
  • Once all applications are scored, the average for each application will be calculated and assigned an initial rank by the Connected Minds admin team.
  • The Training Committee will meet to discuss the scores and associated rankings (including incorporating the comments of the Indigenous Advisory Circle) and decide on the final ranking of the applications.
  • All conflicts of interest will be declared at the beginning of each evaluation meeting. Committee members will not evaluate or discuss applications in which they appear as a supervisor, co-supervisor, or collaborator. If necessary, guest evaluators will be recruited to replace their expertise.
  • A brief summary of the discussion for each candidate will be recorded and provided to the applicant's primary supervisor for feedback purposes.
  • The Training Committee will provide recommendations on which applications to fund to the Connected Minds Leadership Committee for review and final approval (see below for details).
  • Results will be communicated approximately 8-weeks after the submission deadline.

Triage Stage:

The following will be discussed for each proposal at the evaluation meeting:

  • Basic Requirements: The application must meet the basic requirements described above.
  • Scholarly Focus: Does the proposal fall within the CM themes and mandate?
  • EDI Statement: Have the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion described above been completely satisfied?

If these criteria are not met, the proposal will be rejected outright. If they are met, the following criteria will be judged:

Weighted Criteria for Full Evaluation:

  1. Scholarly Ability or Potential of the Candidate (Based on CV, letter of recommendation, and letter of support; 20%)
    • Quality of any contributions to scholarly activities.
    • Relevance of academic training and/or work/lived experience to the program and project.
    • Scholarships and awards held.
    • Duration of graduate studies.
    • Ability to think critically.
    • Ability to apply skills and knowledge.
    • Initiative and autonomy.
    • Determination and ability to complete projects within an appropriate period of time.
  1. Excellence of Proposal (30%)
    • Is sufficient background provided to understand the project?
    • Is the idea and/or approach novel and innovative?
    • Is the general methodological approach appropriate?
    • Are the expected outcomes clearly defined and realistic?
  1. Contributions to Career Goals (20%, based on candidate’s statement)
    • Does this proposal clearly advance the candidate’s own career goals (beyond enhancing the supervisors’ and program’s research goals)?
    • Has a clear path forward been identified, in terms of knowledge and skill development, from their current state toward their goal?
      • For example, if their goal is to work in academia, will this fellowship enable them to establish their own scholarly program? If their goal is to work in industry or community, will this project include applications and industry/community contacts that will lead to a position in the private sector? If their goal is to work in government, will this project educate them in the mechanisms of policy making, etc.?
  1. Supervisor's Letter of Support (10%)
    • Does the letter clearly state how the advisory team will mentor and support the applicant both for their proposed project and career goals?
  1. Overall Program Evaluation (20%, based on all submitted materials)
    • Interdisciplinarity: The degree to which the proposed project incorporates methods and/or outputs across the three CM expertise pillars (neuroscience, AI/technology, society).
    • Co-creation focus: Are external partners necessary and involved in planning the project? In the case of community-based or applied projects, were end-users/communities consulted (or is there a plan for how such engagement and consultation will take place)?
    • Potential impact on knowledge mobilization and translation; for new research approaches, technologies, health, policy or commercial application.
    • Overall contribution to CM mandate and training goals.

Reporting And Leadership Approval:

The Training Committee will submit 2 ranked lists, for York and Queen’s separately, with suggested ranking cut-offs, followed by a list of candidates who are waitlisted. This list will identify the names of candidates, primary supervisors, and their Faculties/departments. The Chair of the committee will present this at the next Leadership Committee meeting for discussion. The Leadership Committee will consider the distribution of recommended candidates across institutions, Faculties, programs, and individuals before making their final approval of the recommendation.

Last updated: 04/11/2024