Do I need to have a secured postdoc position to apply?

No, the program is open to all PhD holders from any discipline, including faculty affiliated with a Canadian university.

Can I apply to the fellowship if I am finishing my degree after the application deadline but before the fellowship starts?

Yes, you are eligible to apply if all the requirements of your PhD are complete before September of the fellowship year. In certain cases, a successful fellow may negotiate a later start date with the host office if a thesis defense is scheduled in early September.

How do I prepare a competitive fellow application?

Mitacs encourages applicants to read all sections of the CSPF webpages and application form to ensure an understanding of the program, the eligibility requirements, and the application process. Applicants should allow enough time to develop comprehensive, well-presented statements of interest, and other documents that are free of errors and typos. We suggest contacting references as early as possible so that they have time to prepare thoughtful letters of reference. Any submitted documents or filled in text fields should not exceed the mandated page or word limit. Fellows can refer to the  Fellow Guidelines for a Successful Application for more detailed information.

When will I get to see the available host position descriptions?

Due to the concurrent double-blind call cycle process, hosts submit their applications at the same time as fellows, and therefore Mitacs is unable to provide information about open CSPF positions. Fellows will be given a copy of the position descriptions in advance of any interviews that they have been selected for by the host office. 

Fellows and hosts can also review the Look Book for examples of the kind of work fellows may participate in. Fellows are also encouraged to read through our news releases from past years to see which hosts have participated, as we often have repeat hosts.

How many fellowships are awarded per year?

The number of fellowships available varies based on the number of host applications received. Mitacs has offered an average of 20-25 fellowships per year since opening the program to both the federal and provincial governments. Please see our Matching tab in Program Administration for a detailed breakdown of the number of fellowships each year. 

Why are there fewer fellowships than host applications in previous years of the program?

Hosts may apply to the program and learn about budgetary or priority changes later in the process affecting their ability to continue with the fellowship. Hosts also occasionally do not find a candidate who meets their needs and do not continue with the fellowship, or their chosen candidate may decline the fellowship offer for various reasons.

How are host office locations selected?

One of the key aspects of the program is the cohort model in which the fellows move through the fellowship experience together. We work with our federal government partners on an annual basis to offer fellowships as a cohort that allows fellows to build a network of peers. We also occasionally have host offices who pilot the program in cities new to the CSPF program. While some locations may change from year to year, in general the host cities are determined based on the current participating partners in order to facilitate the cohort model.

Why is Mitacs collecting information about my gender or other diversity-related categories?

Mitacs collects self-identification information to be able to report to funders, for program planning and development, and for an accurate understanding of equitable representation of underrepresented groups. Answering these questions is optional, and applicants can choose all items that apply. The information is reported in aggregate and not linked to individuals. It will not be used as part of the adjudication process.

Our definitions are drawn from federal and provincial government offices, such as Statistics Canada, government legislation such as the Employment Equity Act, as well as associations representing underrepresented groups, such as the National Education Association of Disabled Students (NEADS). If you have questions or concerns, please contact

  • Gender refers to the gender that a person internally feels (‘gender identity’ along the gender spectrum) and/or the gender a person publicly expresses (‘gender expression’) in their daily life, including at work, while shopping or accessing other services, in their housing environment or in the broader community. A person’s current gender may differ from the sex a person was assigned at birth (male or female) and may differ from what is indicated on their current legal documents. A person’s gender may change over time.
  • An Indigenous person in Canada is a person who identifies with First Nations (Status/Non-Status), Métis or Inuit, cultural, and/or ancestral background.
  • A person in a visible minority group is someone (other than an Indigenous person) who is non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.
  • A person with a disability refers to impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. Disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which one lives. Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities may require interventions to remove environmental and social barriers.

How will I know that Mitacs has received my application?

Applicants will receive an automated email that their applications have been received. The applications will undergo a comprehensive adjudication process and those who have submitted an incomplete application will be notified.

What happens if one or both of my letters of reference arrive late or do not arrive at all?

All required documents must be submitted by the competition deadline. Applications with one or no letters of reference are incomplete and will not be considered for this round of fellowships. A Mitacs representative will contact you if your letters of reference have not arrived by the competition close.

When will I receive notification of my application status? When will I know if I’ve made it to the semi-finalist list?

Fellow adjudication completes in April. Fellows will be notified of their application status during that month. Please note that not every applicant on the semi-finalist list will be contacted for an interview.

How does Mitacs evaluate my application?

Fellow applications are adjudicated through a competitive call cycle through winter and spring in advance of the fellowship cohort start date in September. Please see our Adjudication tab for more information on how fellow applications are adjudicated.

Will Mitacs provide feedback on my application once submitted?

No. Due to the individualized nature of the adjudication and matching processes, Mitacs cannot provide specific timelines about application status or feedback on the application itself. All fellow applicants will be informed whether they have been shortlisted as semi-finalists to the program as soon as practicable.

Can I reapply for a fellowship if I am not matched?

Yes. Mitacs does not impose a limit on the number of times an eligible candidate may apply to the program. If you have not been selected as a fellow you may apply again in a subsequent application call.

Is it possible to start the fellowship in any other month besides September?

No. Mitacs requires that the fellowship cycle is conducted in a single cohort per year.

Does Mitacs or the government host office cover the cost of my relocation?

No. Successful fellows must assume the cost of relocation.

Can I work remotely? Do I need to move to the physical location of my host office?

All successful fellows are required to work from the location of their host office during their fellowship. The cohort model of the program is a crucial part of the fellowship. If COVID-19 restrictions remain in place as of September 2022, we will work with hosts and fellows to see if virtual fellowships are possible.

Are the professional training and networking events mandatory?

Yes. These opportunities provided by Mitacs are an integral element to the program and build on the hands-on learning of the host office position.