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Postdoctoral Scholar in Suicide in Autistic Youth

Job ID: 31699
Location: Main Campus
Updated April 29, 2024

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We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta.
The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Districts 5 and 6.


The School & Applied Child Psychology program in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary is accepting applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar in Suicide in Autistic Youth to join the ENHANCE research lab (

Supervisor and Lab Director: Dr. Carly A. McMorris, Registered Psychologist, Associate Professor, School & Applied Child Psychology, Werklund School of Education ([email protected]), Director of the ENHANCE Lab (

Area: Autism, Suicide, Children and Youth  
Duration: 1 year, with possibility of extension
Start date: ~August 15th, 2024
Annual Stipend: $55,000/year plus extended health care benefits and travel/conference support

The Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary is accepting applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar.

The PDS will lead research to related to understanding the experiences of autistic children and youth who experience suicidality. 

Eleven Canadians die by suicide every day, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth and young adults. Affecting one in every 50 Canadian children and youth, Autistic youth frequently experience social communication, affective, and cognitive differences, and can benefit from autism-adapted interventions to address anxiety, depression, and other adverse mental health outcomes. Autistic youth are also at 3.5 times greater risk of suicide attempts and deaths than the general population, with our research team showing that attempts begin as early as 10 years of age. Despite these alarming statistics, few suicide prevention efforts for Autistic youth have been developed and thus, efforts may be guided by a more robust evidence base in non-autistic youth. This PDS position will focus on addressing these gaps in knowledge related to understanding why (i.e., what are the underlying autism-specific mechanisms) youth are at heightened risk for suicide, how we can effectively screen for suicide risk in autistic youth and identify effective brief suicide intervention approaches. 

This work will have an important role in supporting the mental health of autistic youth, along with providing important clinical knowledge to our team’s community partners, health care providers, and other key stakeholders. PDS supervision will be provided by Dr. Carly McMorris, Werklund School of Education. This fellowship is embedded in a strong clinically focused research program with extensive connections to local community partners and trans-disciplinary researchers, as well as national and international collaborators.  

Job Description:

A full-time Postdoctoral Scholar (PDS) opportunity is available at the University of Calgary, Canada, to begin on or about August 15th, 2024. This PDS will contribute to a variety of projects aimed at gaining deeper insights into suicidal thoughts and behaviours in autistic children and youth. The PDS will work on a variety of different projects aimed at 1) understanding bio-psycho-social factors that are associated with suicidality in autistic children and youth; 2) co-creating risk assessment measures for neurodivergent youth; 3) identifying effective brief suicide intervention approaches; and 4) determining research priorities related to suicide for autistic children, youth, and their caregivers.  Additionally, the PDS will have the opportunity to collaborate on additional projects with researchers from various faculties across campus and institutions across the country.
In addition to contributing to these existing research projects, the PDS will expand research in these areas through the development of complementary research proposals and projects.

PDS Responsibilities: 

  • Lead the design and implementation of at least two of the sub-studies in the above-described research program
  • Actively seek additional, external funding opportunities at local, provincial and national levels
  • Actively contribute to the development of peer-reviewed publications related to the studies undertaken as part of the PDS appointment
  • Provide leadership on knowledge translation activities
  • Provide leadership and mentorship at weekly research team meeting, including supervision of trainees and support staff 
  • Undertake additional clinical training (if interested)

Opportunities for applied training is available, related to assessment and treatment of mental health issues in neurodivergent youth, patient-engaged research, grant development and writing, student supervision, knowledge translation of clinical research into practice and policy and multi-stakeholder collaboration with a range of research collaborators in the areas of psychology, psychiatry, social work, nursing, speech and language pathology, and neuroimaging). Given the clinical and sensitive nature of the projects, the PDS will need to be in Calgary; however, opportunities to work remotely or hybrid during that time is also possible. 


Requirements include: 

  • PhD in a relevant social science discipline, with some clinical expertise and comfortability (e.g., school, counselling, clinical psychology); note: Applicants must have completed their degree within the last 5 years
  • Expertise in clinical research related to autism, mental health, children/youth
  • Having experience in suicidality in youth is a strength
  • A strong background in quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Experience with patient-engaged research
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • Demonstrated productivity through peer-reviewed publications
  • Interest in working collaboratively with research partners across disciplines at UCalgary and nationally, as well as people with lived experiences, health care providers and policy makers
  • Strong leadership skills, and an interest in supervision and mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students is a huge asset

This is a full-time (1.0 FTE), benefits-eligible, one-year appointment with the opportunity to renew. For additional information and policies regarding postdoctoral scholars at the University of Calgary, please see 

Application Details:

Applications are welcomed from Canadian and international candidates. 
Preliminary inquiries by e-mail are welcome. To apply, individuals should submit:

  • A curriculum vitae 
  • A letter of interest describing how your research experience, qualifications, research interests and career goals fit with this position
  • The names of 2-3 references who would be willing to provide a reference upon request (reference letters will be required for final decisions)
  • Two (2) writing samples (published or unpublished) that best exemplifies your scholarly work, along with an explanation of your role in each sample. 

Applications should be submitted as a single PDF to Dr. Carly McMorris ([email protected]) Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Applicants are thanked in advance for their interest, however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Additional Information 

To learn more about postdoctoral scholar opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Postdoc website. For more information about the Werklund School of Education visit 

About the University of Calgary

UCalgary is Canada’s entrepreneurial university, located in Canada’s most enterprising city. It is a top research university and one of the highest-ranked universities of its age. Founded in 1966, its 36,000 students experience an innovative learning environment, made rich by research, hands-on experiences and entrepreneurial thinking. It is Canada’s leader in the creation of start-ups. Start something today at the University of Calgary. For more information, visit

About Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is one of the world's cleanest cities and has been named one of the world's most livable cities for years. Calgary is a city of leaders – in business, community, philanthropy and volunteerism. Calgarians benefit from the strongest economy in the nation and enjoy more days of sunshine per year than any other major Canadian city. Calgary is less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and boasts the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America.

The University of Calgary has launched an institution-wide Indigenous Strategy committing to creating a rich, vibrant, and culturally competent campus that welcomes and supports Indigenous Peoples, encourages Indigenous community partnerships, is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives in all that we do.

As an equitable and inclusive employer, the University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their academic and professional success while they are here. In particular, we encourage members of the designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible/racialized minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply. To ensure a fair and equitable assessment, we offer accommodation at any stage during the recruitment process to applicants with disabilities. Questions regarding [diversity] EDI at UCalgary can be sent to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion ([email protected]) and requests for accommodations can be sent to Human Resources ([email protected]).