Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

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Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Canada is building world-class research capacity by recruiting top-tier doctoral students, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to our economic, social and research-based growth for a prosperous future. To promote this world-class excellence, the Government of Canada has created the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program. Once in full operation, this program will support 500 international and Canadian doctoral students with highly prestigious scholarships.

The Vanier CGS program reaffirms Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and education. The program supports Canada`s science and technology policy direction, which capitalizes on people, strengthens knowledge and encourages entrepreneurial advantages in order to build a competitive Canada.

The scholarships are administered by Canada`s three federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

The Vanier CGS program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health. Canadian and international students are eligible to be nominated for a Vanier CGS. In an effort to support students in broadening their research horizons and seeking new challenges, the Vanier CGS program strongly encourages candidates to pursue their studies beyond the university that granted their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Value and Duration

A Vanier CGS is valued at $50,000 per year for three years.

When can the award be taken up?

Award recipients must take up their award in the first semester (May or September) following the announcement of results if they:

  • have already undertaken their doctoral program of study at the Canadian nominating university;
  • have already undertaken a doctoral program of study at a Canadian university and will be transferring to a doctoral program at the Canadian nominating university.

Award recipients can take their award up in May, September or January following the announcement of results if they:

  • have not yet started a doctoral program of study;
  • will transfer from a doctoral program at an international university to a doctoral program at the Canadian nominating university.


Application deadline

Without exception, all nominations from Canadian universities must be submitted via ResearchNet and received by the federal research granting agencies by October 20, 2010. Late or incomplete nominations will not be considered.

Notification of decision

The federal granting agencies will notify universities of the competition results by mail in early April 2011. The nominees will be notified via ResearchNet shortly after the university notification. The agencies will not provide results by telephone.

The names of Vanier CGS recipients and other basic award information will be published on the Vanier website. For more on the posting of, and access to, information, please refer to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Competition timelines

ResearchNet electronic application system activated: early August 2010

Deadline for candidates to submit their Vanier CGS application to their university: see university internal deadlines

University deadline for submitting nominations: October 20, 2010

Results communicated to nominating university and candidates: early April 2011


Eligibility for Nomination

To be considered for a Vanier CGS, you must:

  • be nominated by only one Canadian university, which must have received a Vanier CGS allocation;
  • be seeking financial support to pursue your first doctoral degree (or combined MA/PhD or MD/PhD);
  • intend to pursue, in the summer semester or the academic year following the announcement of results, full-time doctoral (or combined MA/PhD or MD/PhD) studies and research at the nominating university;
  • have completed no more than 20 months of doctoral studies as of May 1, 2011 (see Notes below);
  • have achieved a first-class average, as determined by your university, in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent; and
  • not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR to undertake or complete a doctoral degree (or combined MA/PhD or MD/PhD).


All prior doctoral-level studies, regardless of discipline, will be considered in the evaluation of eligibility. The granting agencies will count two months of part-time study as one month of full-time study.

In the case of students who are registered in a combined MA/PhD program or a direct-entry doctoral program, or who are accelerated from a master’s program into a doctoral program without obtaining the master’s degree, the agencies will not include the first 12 months of graduate study in the evaluation of eligibility.

Combined MD/PhD degrees (CIHR only)

All months of doctoral-level study within the combined degree program will be considered in the evaluation of eligibility.

Eligibility to Hold an Award

Without exception, Vanier CGS awards are tenable only at the eligible Canadian university that submitted the nomination.

To hold the award, the candidate must:

  • be registered as a full-time student at the nominating Canadian institution, and be pursuing a doctoral degree (or combined MA/PhD or MD/PhD); and
  • remain enrolled and demonstrate continued satisfactory progress in doctoral program.

Part-time studies

A Vanier CGS may be held by students who are registered part time because of a disability. For this purpose, disability is defined as “a functional limitation resulting from a physical, sensory, or mental impairment, which, for an indefinite period, affects the ability of the student to perform the activities necessary to participate fully in his or her learning.” For eligible part-time students, Vanier CGS award funding will be equivalent to a full-time award spread over a longer period of time.

Canadian federal government employees

Canadian federal government employees are eligible to hold a scholarship only if on an unpaid leave of absence (no salary or special allowances permitted).

Multiple Applications

Vanier CGS candidates may only apply to the same agency’s doctoral or fellowship awards programs within the same academic year. They may not submit applications to more than one agency or concurrently hold more than one agency scholarship or fellowship.

University Allocations

Eligible universities receive three-year allocations based on 600 total nominations per research granting agency (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC).

The distribution of allocations among eligible universities is based on the following method: for Canadian universities that have a doctoral-level program in the subject areas supported by one or more of the granting agencies, the calculation is based on the sum of the three-year rolling funding average used for the last Canada Research Chairs calculations (fiscal years 2003‑04, 2004‑05 and 2005‑06), and the payments made under the respective granting agencies for the Canada Graduate Scholarships doctoral awards for the three most recent fiscal years (2005‑06, 2006‑07 and 2007‑08).

Universities have the flexibility to submit as many applications as they wish in any given year, within their maximum three-year allocation per granting agency. Universities cannot exceed their three-year allocations or transfer allocations between agencies.

Selecting the Appropriate Granting Agency

The candidate’s proposed research project and doctoral program of study must be eligible within the mandate of the agency to which the nomination will be submitted. If in doubt, universities should consult with the agencies in advance of submitting the nomination. This also applies to nominations involving interdisciplinary fields of research, or disciplines that span the mandates of two or more of the federal research granting agencies.

For additional information on mandate and subject matter eligibility, please consult the respective granting agency’s website:

Review Process

University review

The faculty of graduate studies at each eligible Canadian university is responsible for co-ordinating the university review of their selected candidates and forwarding nominations for Vanier CGSs to the appropriate federal research granting agencies in accordance with the university’s allocation.

Once submitted to the appropriate agency, eligible Vanier scholarship nominations are evaluated by a peer review selection committee at the agency, and, if recommended by the committee, are then reviewed by the Vanier Selection Board, as outlined below.

Vanier Peer Review Committees

All eligible nominations will undergo a peer review evaluation by one of three agency-specific, interdisciplinary Vanier Peer Review committees. Each interdisciplinary selection committee will recommend the top 70 most meritorious candidates (for a total of 210 candidates between all three granting agencies) based on the nominees’ academic excellence and research potential, as well as on their leadership skills.

Vanier Selection Board

The Vanier Selection Board will make final recommendations for Vanier CGSs based on the board’s assessment of the leadership abilities of the candidates put forward by the three granting agencies’ peer review committees. The Selection Board also oversees the program’s process and results to ensure that the program achieves its objectives.

Each year, the Selection Board will select 166 to 167 awardees (for a total of 500 active awards after the initial three years) from the total of 210 nominated candidates submitted by the three granting agencies.

Selection Criteria

Nominees will be evaluated and selected based on the following three criteria, which will be weighted equally by the peer review committees. However, the final Selection Board recommendation on awardees will be based solely on the leadership component (referee letters, leadership reference letter, university nomination letter, candidate’s self-assessment of leadership potential and ability) of the nomination documents.

Peer review selection criteria:

  • Academic excellence, as demonstrated by past academic results and by transcripts, awards and distinctions.
  • Research potential, as demonstrated by the candidate’s research history, his/her interest in discovery, the proposed research and its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field, the potential benefit to Canadians, and any anticipated outcomes.
  • Leadership (potential and demonstrated ability), as defined by the following qualities:
    • Personal achievement:
      • professional involvement in dance, arts, music, etc.;
      • significant artistic achievement;
      • recognized athletic achievement, especially in a leadership role;
      • entrepreneurial achievement (startup company); and/or
      • foreign travel and study.
    • Involvement in academic life:
      • mentoring/teaching;
      • supervisory experience;
      • involvement in student government and in the university community, including committees, teams, senate, boards, ethics committees, etc.;
      • project management;
      • roles in professional societies; and/or
      • organization of conferences and meetings.
    • Volunteerism/community outreach:
      • community involvement in charity or not-for-profit organizations.
    • Civic engagement:
      • parliamentary page positions and internships;
      • political activity; and/or
      • elected positions.
    • Other

Assessment of Leadership

Leadership will be assessed against the following personal and social skills:

Goal achievement:

  • has a clear vision of what he/she wants to accomplish;
  • has developed his/her own vision for the future that defines a bold change for the community or a group, cause or organization; and
  • strategizes how to achieve his/her desired outcomes and has specific, realistic and timely goals.


  • knows how to prioritize and complete tasks to reach his/her desired outcome, and is confident of success;
  • establishes learning goals and tasks;
  • reaches goals in an efficient, organized and innovative way; and
  • is constantly working on self-improvement.


  • acts consistently with core ethical and personal values and convictions; and
  • accepts personal accountability for the consequences of his/her actions and decisions.

Other characteristics:

  • is creative and takes initiative;
  • is curious;
  • deals well with complexity;
  • has a strong sense of reality;
  • is courageous;
  • is strategic, a big-picture thinker;
  • focuses on solutions, not problems;
  • is capable of producing extraordinary results; and
  • is able to solve real problems and create real products.

Social skills:

  • knows how to develop positive relationships with a diverse range of people;
  • cares about and listens to what others say, and gives feedback;
  • knows how to motivate individuals;
  • is persuasive;
  • is supportive of his/her peers;
  • is able to negotiate;
  • is viewed as trustworthy, ethical and dependable;
  • is well-respected; and
  • displays mastery of presentation skills and public communications.

More Information

For more information regarding applying to the Vanier CGS program, please contact:

Email: [email protected]
Tel.: 1-613-943-7777

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