Postdoctoral Scholar

I won a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship this funding cycle. I’m currently a postdoc in Australia, where the starting postdoc salary in my field is more than double the CIHR award amount (so my salary is partly the award, with the rest from an operating-like grant from my PI). I don’t have to stress about paying my rent or repaying my government student loans and I am saving a good amount every month. I actually feel as though I’m making up for some of the lost saving opportunities I had during grad school - like I am moving forward in my life outside of the career realm.

Of course, I’m grateful for the CIHR funding I have, but I could not really have stayed in Canada and lived on that salary (45k/year). I did my PhD in Montreal and since it’s professionally inauspicious to stay at one’s alma mater for a postdoc, I needed to move (as other Anglo institutions in Montreal don’t have my program) - I likely would have gone to a much less affordable city.

If postdoctoral funding was CAD $60,000/yr for all postdocs, how would that change your life? Surviving on 60k/year vs 45k/year would be much more feasible in any of the incredibly tight housing markets that are Canadian cities, although even then, paying back student loans and saving money for the future would still be challenging… But at least it wouldn’t be such a de-moralizing amount! As it is, I’m in Australia for my postdoc - not least because the pay is literally more than double the current tri-council amounts.

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