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I applied for the NSERC visiting fellowship about two months age, but I have some questions. I'm European, so right before I applied I didn't even know what NSERC was! Basically, I applied for a postdoc position in Canada (biology), was selected as their best candidate and was subsequently told that I still had to go through this procedure, and as fast as possible. As at that point, I had field work going on and considered it merely a formality, I didn't wait until my two last papers were actually submitted (which I did two weeks after...) and did not spend ages on writing up some texts saying how good I am and how well my profile fits to the post-doc description. Which now I realize I should have done. But still some questions:

- do you actually stand a change if you don't have a long list of publications? I'm finishing a three years phd (applied for the VF 2.5 years after my master) and am thus still very young in comparison to the standard in some other countries. It is clearly impossible for me to have a lot of submitted/published first-author articles. On some sites I read that only very few scholarships are given, on others it seems so depend if you already have a potential supervisor, etc. There's also a list of criteria posted by NSERC, but this doesn't say if they take into account you age, nationality, ... I know I could just wait for the answer, but if I would know that my chances are minimal, I know I should definitely invest more energy in looking for other postdoc positions.

- do they send results exactly after 3 months, or can they arrive earlier? Moving to Canada might need some planning...

- what is the experience of those who hold a VF?




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In general, NSERC fellowship applications are judged based on the amount of experience you are expected to have at this stage of application. For example, since you are eligible for a VF for up to 5 years after a PhD, I would think that the committee would expect more from someone who is graduated 4 years ago vs. someone who is still finishing a PhD. I can't say how competitive you would be for a VF because I am not at that stage yet and I don't know how competitive biology is, in general.

How many years of graduate school have you completed? I know that some European graduate programs are shorter than North American programs and I imagine most of your competitors would be from North America. In North America, it's normal to have 5 to 7 years of graduate school. If you have less than this, you might be at a disadvantage because you would have had less time to publish papers. However, if you were really productive, then this is probably not going to be an issue.

In my past experience with the graduate level fellowships from NSERC, they have been very precise with their notification dates, generally within 1 week of the approximate date given. However, when I read the NSERC VF page, it does not say that you will know for sure within 3 months. Instead, it sounds like the VF is a "rolling deadline application" and if you are not selected, then your name remains on the list for a certain amount of time for future consideration?

And also, the page says that it is the government department that will select the candidates for award (after approval from NSERC) so I think it's a really good sign that they already want you. Good luck!

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Thank you for your answer, its very helpful!
I only did 5 years of graduate school (3 years bachelor and 2 years master). Also, in my country and field it's uncommon to produce articles during your masters (especially first-authored ones).

As for the notification date, I got en e-mail saying "The evaluation process may take up to 12 weeks". So I suppose it's rather shorter than longer.

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