Research Assistantships

At Fyrefly Institute, graduate students play an integral and vital role in our research program. As research assistants, masters and doctoral students can have long-term involvement in diverse aspects of Fyrefly Institute research, including developing theoretical and methodological facets of the research. Students gain expertise in the ethics, politics, and practice of using and adjusting multi-method qualitative research to study the multivariate sexual and gender minority population, with a focus on vulnerable children and youth. Graduate students across the University have opportunities to experience directly how a transdisciplinary team of researchers can undertake a wide-ranging program of 2SLGBTQ+ research synchronized to policymaking; 2SLGBTQ+ identities and positionalities (locatedness in the world); the study of resilience as a non-linear, asset-based process; and the application of research to engaged and caring professional practices. They get to work in a vibrant and productive research environment linked to research, professional, and community networks. At iSMSS, we are experiencing increasing opportunities to engage in transdisciplinary research in which we collaborate with a growing contingent of researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and government agencies in local, national, and international contexts.


Information for Prospective Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows. Research Foci

At the Fyrefly Institute for Gender and Sexual Diversity, we conduct timely and often pressing research focused on helping sexual and gender diverse youth to mediate life in family, school, healthcare, and other environments. Fyrefly Institute research fits the theme area transforming research in education, which is acknowledged as the Faculty of Education's recognized research strength in the University of Alberta's Strategic Research Plan. In our research program, we conduct innovative research that advances recognition and accommodation of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals through evidence-based approaches to policymaking, educational and community programming, and educating professionals to engage in caring practices.

Research foci include:

  • inclusive lifelong learning;
  • 2SLGBTQ+ issues in education, health, and culture;
  • resilience as a non-linear, asset-creating process; and
  • policymaking and its implementation in caring practices in schools, healthcare, and other environments.

In sum, Fyrefly Institute research is intended to advance inclusive policymaking as a protective basis for framing and engaging in ethical and informed educational, healthcare, other institutional, and community/cultural practices. This includes enhancing 2SLGBTQ+-inclusive education as a strategic sociocultural, political, and pedagogical project.

Postdoctoral Fellows

At the University of Alberta, Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs) are categorized as individuals who are appointed as research trainees normally within five years from the completion of a doctoral degree or ten years from the completion of a DDS, MD, or equivalent.

Fyrefly Institute follows the University's procedures for selecting PDFs. Since Fyrefly Institute is not a department unit, and since it currently does not have its own funding to support a PDF, potential PDFs cannot apply directly to the Institute. However, faculty members affiliated with Fyrefly Institute may be willing to support PDFs who wish to have access to Fyrefly Institute's strong research and scholarship environment for engaging in research on sexual and gender minorities and our issues and concerns in institutional, community, and larger cultural contexts.

For University of Alberta funded postdoctoral fellowships, namely the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Grant Notley Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship, potential PDFs must apply to a department unit within the University. An appointment requires approval of a department unit head and a faculty member. For the University of Alberta policy, appointment procedure, and other details, please visit the Postdoctoral Fellows Office.

At Fyrefly Institute, we work in a transdisciplinary context. If you are interested in being affiliated with Fyrefly Institute to conduct a postdoctoral research program and would like to discuss this possibility further, please contact the Fyrefly Institute Executive Director, Glynnis Lieb (

Masters and Doctoral Programs

Fyrefly Institute itself does not offer graduate studies programs. Potential masters and doctoral students need to apply to a department unit for admission to the University of Alberta.

Departments are responsible for appointing qualified supervisors/supervisory committee members for graduate students in keeping with the University of Alberta's supervisory eligibility criteria. For further details on supervisors and supervisory committees, please visit Section 8 of the Grad Program Manual. Students are normally involved in the process of the selection of their supervisor, although this process varies depending upon the department.

As time and resources permit, faculty members affiliated with Fyrefly Institute may be willing to support research projects, be members of supervisory committees, and provide a strong, supportive research and scholarship environment for graduate students wishing to pursue research on sexual and gender diversity and our issues and concerns in institutional, community, and larger cultural contexts.

For applying and admission to University of Alberta graduate programs and others details, please visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research site.