Autism Scholars Awards

Award Overview


With the support of the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU), a Scholars Award Program in Autism has been established to ensure that Ontario attracts and retains pre-eminent scholars. The community of autism scholars fostered by this award program will excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge concerning child autism, its translation into improved health for children, and more effective services and products for children with autism. The program will also lead to increased capacity in diagnosis and assessment of autism and a stronger treatment system.


To be eligible to receive an award, an applicant must be

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada as of January 31, 2020; and
  • Registered as a full-time student in a master’s or doctoral program at an Ontario university at the beginning of the award period (Fall 2020) and remain registered as a full-time student throughout the entire duration of the award.
  • A master’s student remains eligible until the end of the sixth term of full-time study;
  • A doctoral student remains eligible until the end of the 15th term of full-time study; and
  • During the year an Autism Scholars Award is held, the recipient is precluded from holding any other award that offers financial support of more than $20,000 for that same year (subject to the university’s own policies).

Application Process

Each applicant must submit to the Graduate Awards Office an electronic copy of the following documents combined into a single pdf in the following order (excluding confidential letters) by November 29, 2019::

  1. The completed application form;
  2. Curriculum vitae—no page restrictions (must include information concerning the eligibility criteria);
  3. 3. A statement of research written by the candidate describing the research to be undertaken during the period of graduate study (maximum 1,000 words);
  4. A non-technical summary written by the candidate (maximum 500 words);
  5. One additional page is allowed for diagrams, bibliography, etc.;
  6. Official or certified copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts are required. ACORN print-outs will not be accepted; and
  7. Confidential letters from two assessors (emailed directly from the assessor to before November 29, 2019). Letters should focus on an evaluation of the applicant’s research to date, and the research being undertaken during the graduate period.
  8. Application packages must have all required materials submitted by the deadline. Components 1 through 6 are to be combined into a single PDF file. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

New for 2020-21: Any sponsoring university is permitted to endorse up to two applicants per award level (master’s and doctoral) to the COU for the Ontario competition.

Evaluation Criteria

Master’s and doctoral applications will be assessed on their talent, the excellence of their work, the vision that they bring to their endeavours, and the impact that they foresee resulting from their work, as measured by:

  • The program of study and research and its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge about autism;
  • Past academic results, demonstrated by transcripts, awards, and distinctions;
  • Relevant professional and academic experience, including research training, as evidenced by papers presented at conferences and the candidate’s publication record;
  • Written letters of appraisal; and
  • Appropriateness of the choice of institution and supervising investigator.


The SGS Graduate Awards Office will notify applicants the University competition results in late January. The Council of Ontario Universities will announce the Ontario competition results in April 2020.

Contacts & Resources

For further details and/or if you have questions about this award competition, please refer to the COU website or contact:

Stacey Kwan
Graduate Awards Officer (Provincial)

COU Inquiries
Phone: 416-979-2165, extension 235
COU Autism Scholars webpage