Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral (CGS D​) Program​

Award Overview

Purpose

The Canada Graduate Scholarships—Doctoral (CGS D) program is a federal program of scholarships awarded through national competitions by the granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The program aims to promote continued excellence in Canadian research by rewarding and retaining high-calibre doctoral students at Canadian institutions. By providing support for a high-quality research training experience to awardees, the CGS D program strives to foster impacts within and beyond the research environment.​

Eligibility

Please refer to the Tri-Agency CGS D website for complete eligibility requirements.

Applicants must: 

    • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a Protected Person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), as of the application deadline date;
    • have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31st of the year of application if previously enrolled in a master’s program;
    • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31st of the year of application if enrolled in a joint program e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD);
      • applicants who fall into this category have access to the 36-month window whether or not they were previously enrolled in a master’s program;
    • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled directly from a bachelor’s to a PhD program (with no time spent in a master’s program);
      • direct-entry applicants must be enrolled in their doctoral program at the time of application
    • submit a maximum of one scholarship (master’s or doctoral) or fellowship application per academic year to either CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program and applications to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program do not count toward this limit (other exceptions may apply to CIHR internships).;
    • not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.
    • Reminder – first-class average in each of the last two years of completed study is no longer an eligibility criterion. Universities are to continue to recommend the top-ranked applications to the Tri-Agency.

    Please refer to the appropriate literature for CIHRNSERC and SSHRC for further details on the agency specific doctoral awards as eligibility requirements may vary, e.g. tenable at foreign institutions, months of study.

    Number of months
    Eligibility for CGS D is based on the number of months of full-time study toward the degree for which you are requesting funding by December 31 of the calendar year of application. Two terms of part-time study count as one term of full-time study.

Notes

The agencies count all studies toward the doctoral degree for which funding is requested, whether or not they were completed at the degree-granting institution. 

Undergraduate students applying to a direct entry doctoral program (i.e. never enrolled in a master’s program) should apply for a CGS M to hold in their first year as they are ineligible to apply for a CGS D until they are registered in the doctoral program.

Fast-track and joint programs: 

  • For those registered in a master’s program and subsequently transferred to a doctoral program (fast-track), the months of study completed are calculated starting from the date on which an applicant transfers into the doctoral program.
  • For applicants registered in a doctoral program in which they obtain a master’s degree (e.g., MA/PhD), the months of study are calculated starting from the date on which an applicant is officially registered in the joint program (including the master’s portion of the program)

Reminder for SSHRC:  

  • SSHRC applicants who are beyond the eligible months of study for the CGS D, may continue to apply up until their 48th month of study (as of December 31st) and will be considered for a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. 

Subject Matter Eligibility

NSERC applicants whose subject matter has a link, overlap, or future application to health (in particular drug discovery, disease diagnosis, treatment/prevention, development of medical devices, collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, disease population, therapy or health systems), should email NSERC with a one page summary of their research proposal well in advance of submitting an application to seek clarification or a ruling. NSERC typically responds to these types of inquiries within 3-4 business days.

Applicants working in research areas where boundaries overlap or are interdisciplinary are strongly advised to write a compelling justification in their application as to why they believe their proposal is appropriate for support by the agency to which the application is being submitted.

NSERC applicants are encouraged to consult the Addendum to the guidelines for the eligibility of applications related to health, which has additional information and specific examples relating to subject matter eligibility.

Selection Criteria

The evaluation of CGS D applications is based on the following criteria:

  • 50% for research ability or potential
  • 50% relevant experiences and achievements obtained within and beyond academia​

For full description, refer to the CGS D website.

 

Note: Indigenous SSHRC applicants are encouraged to complete the “Allowable Inclusion“ section of their application form to describe special circumstances that may have had an impact on their academic or career paths (e.g. cultural or community responsibilities, and/or challenging socio-economic contexts). This information should be taken into account by selection committee members

Application Process

Students registered in a U of T degree program at any time between January 1- December 31, 2021, or on an approved leave of absence must complete the appropriate agency’s online application form submit through their current or proposed graduate program at the University of Toronto. Applicants are to contact the unit’s graduate administrator directly regarding the submission deadline and process.

In addition to the CGS D, each agency offers its own doctoral awards. Applicants complete and submit one application to be considered for both a CGS D scholarship and an agency doctoral award. CGS D scholarships are offered to top-ranked eligible applicants.

Applicants must access the online application through the respective granting agency’s portal:

CIHR and SSHRC applicants are encouraged to email their graduate unit with a screenshot of their application status after they have submitted to ensure that their unit is aware of their submission.

Please note the following reminders:

Transcripts: The inclusion and completeness of up-to-date official transcripts are essential for the Tri-Agency to determine eligibility/confirm current registration and is an integral part of the evaluation material reviewed by the selection committees. As such, in addition to the most up-to-date transcripts for all previous degree programs/courses (complete or incomplete), applicants must order and include their transcript for their current degree program dated in the fall session of the year of application (i.e. September 2021) even when no grades are available. Applicants should make sure that any older official transcripts are indeed the most up-to-date version and no changes have occurred since the date if issuance. It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure that transcripts are complete and legible once uploaded, even if a university official (graduate administrator) is responsible for uploading the transcripts (i.e. NSERC)

The Tri-Agency acknowledges that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder the ability of some institutions to provide applicants with official and up-to-date transcripts in advance of the deadline date, particularly at institutions which do not currently provide official electronic version of these documents. Therefore, for the fall 2021 scholarships and fellowships competitions, the agencies will continue to accept unofficial transcripts if official transcripts cannot be obtained. If an official transcript cannot be obtained, the applicant should provide a letter from the institution’s transcript office which states that the institution is not able to provide an official transcript at this time along with an unofficial version of the transcript.

While applications containing unofficial transcripts will be accepted, applicants should note that submission of an application will continue to serve as a formal attestation that they provided true, complete, accurate information in the application and its related documents. The Tri-Agency may contact administrative staff at applicants’ institutions or applicants directly in order to verify that the contents of the submitted transcripts are true, complete and accurate.

Collection of Self-Identification Data: Beginning in August 2018, the Tri-Agency has been asking all applicants to self-identify with information on age, gender, Indigenous identity, disability and visible minority status. Though completing the self-identification form will be mandatory for applicants and co-applicants, each category has a “I prefer not to answer” option.​​

Indigenous applicants [First Nations (North American Indian – Status and Non-Status), Métis, or Inuit] are encouraged to self-identify their status on their application form as universities are permitted to recommend an unlimited number of self-identified Indigenous applicants above their application quota to the national competition. Self-identification data are not seen or used by Tri-Agency selection committee members or by the applicant’s references.

Selection Process

At the University of Toronto, CGS doctoral applications are first received by the graduate unit (department) where the student is registered or as indicated on the application. The graduate unit staff review the applications for eligibility and all eligible applications may be then adjudicated by the graduate unit’s awards committee comprised of graduate faculty members from the graduate unit. Each application is reviewed and scored as per the selection criteria set out by the Tri-Agency. Graduate units may be given quotas by their Faculty Graduate Dean’s office or the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), within which they nominate their top ranked candidates to SGS for central adjudication.

SGS receives applications from all eligible graduate units for each of its three centrally adjudicated competitions (one per research area): health sciences (CIHR), natural science & engineering (NSERC), and social sciences & humanities (SSHRC). Each application is reviewed and scored by three faculty members on the SGS Awards Committee. This Committee is comprised of graduate faculty administrators (Graduate Associate Chairs/Coordinators) and graduate appointed faculty from departments in all disciplines.​ No member shall review or score an application submitted by their own home department or where there is a conflict of interest. Members use the selection criteria set out by the Tri-Agency to determine and submit scores for all applications assigned. SGS collects and tallies the scores. Members then participate in an in-person/virtual review meeting where scores are discussed and final rankings are determined and confirmed. The top ranking applications within the university’s quota are forwarded to each of the Tri-Agency for the national competition.

Given the large number of applications under review, committee members do not provide written appraisals of individual applications, nor is a record kept of committee deliberations. As such, SGS regrettably cannot provide information specific to the relative ranking of an application.

Committee decisions may be appealed only by the applicant named in the application, and only where there is evidence that an
administrative error has occurred during the selection process managed by SGS. SGS does not accept as grounds for appeal, reasons such as: a difference in scholarly opinion versus that of selection committee members; disagreement over the interpretation or analysis of facts by committee members; or composition of the committee.

Additional Info

Fall 2021 SGS Information Session for Students

To access the videos, enter your utoronto email address when prompted to sign-in, then login using UTORid credentials.

CIHR Doctoral Info Session Slides / Video recording of live CIHR session

NSERC Doctoral Info Session Slides / Video recording of live NSERC session

SSHRC Doctoral Info Session Slides / Video recording of live SSHRC session

NSERC Videos for Doctoral & Postdoctoral Awards: available on YouTube

BME Podcast with NSERC CGS D awardee Joseph Sebastian on how to write a successful NSERC doctoral application. Joseph was ranked 1st in his committee at NSERC’s national competition. He also was successful in the Vanier competition that same year.

Award Holder Information

Accepting an Award & Payment Activation

Please ensure you are familiar with the policies and follow the acceptance and payment activation procedures as outlined in the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.

Students who are currently registered in the degree program for which the award has been granted, should start the award at the earliest possible start date, i.e., May 1st or September 1st (please contact your graduate department for advice as a May start date may impact any current departmental funding or current scholarships held for the same period). Students not currently registered, should start the award upon first registration into the program (September 1st or January 1st).

Please contact the respective granting agency directly by email to request and receive approval for any change to your start date.

CIHR Doctoral Awards

Successful CIHR doctoral award applicants who indicated U of T as their institution paid will activate their award through the office of Research and Innovation. The following steps will need to be completed:

  1. Submit a completed “Response to Offer Form” to Research Funding Administrator Laura Weir laura.weir@utoronto.ca at the U of T Research Services Office (RSO) to receive the institutional signature.  Submit the signed form to CIHR via email.
  2. Ask your supervisor to complete and submit an MRA (My Research Application) to U of T’s RSO on your behalf. Provide a copy of your research proposal to your supervisor to upload into the MRA system as part of this application.
  3. Two months before your proposed award start date, a “Confirmation of Commencement form” will appear on ResearchNet. Complete the form with all required signatures and submit to CIHR via email.
  4. Request a confirmation of registration letter (aka proof of enrolment) for your award start date by submitting a completed SGS Registration Confirmation form to our SGS Student Services Desk. Submit letter to CIHR via email.

After all required documents have been submitted to CIHR, an Authorization for Funding (AFF) document will be issued to you and the University confirming funding is being released. Research Services Office and SGS will then arrange to set up payment. A fund account is set up within your supervisor’s research funds account to house the scholarship.

SGS issues the stipend portion ($30K/year) through ACORN while your departmental or supervisor’s Business Officer administers the research allowance portion ($5K/year) of your award. Payment information on the stipend portion via ACORN is described on the SGS How to Activate & Maintain Your Award webpage. The Research Allowance is often used by awardees for expenses related to poster printing, research and conference travel, specialized software, journal publication fees, specialized laboratory equipment etc. If you do not spend the full $5K/yr within the first or second year of the award, you may carryforward the remaining amount to a subsequent year of the award, to use up until three months after your award end date.

For further information of the use of Research Allowance funds, consult the new Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration and the archived version of CIHR’s Grant And Awards Management Guide (which has clearer examples), or speak with your departmental business officer about what expenses are eligible and ineligible for billing against these funds.

NSERC Doctoral Awards

To accept the award, email  schol@nserc-crsng.gc.ca of your decision within three weeks of your award notification. To arrange for payment of an NSERC doctoral award, the Request for First Instalment and Reinstatement of Award Paid by Canadian Institution form must be completed, signed by your graduate unit, and emailed to schol@nserc-crsng.gc.ca, copying the SGS Federal Awards Officer at p.papathanasakis@utoronto.ca, starting six weeks in advance of the start date of the award. Funds can only be issued once NSERC has processed the form and transferred funds to the University which usually takes six weeks.

Please note, the signature in Part 4 from an “SLO or equivalent official in the faculty of graduate studies or its equivalent” should be the graduate coordinator/director/administrator from your graduate unit/department. If you have requested and received approval from NSERC for a change in start date, please also forward a copy of NSERC’s approval to p.papathanasakis@utoronto.ca.

Payment method and schedule is described on the SGS How to Activate & Maintain Your Award webpage.

SSHRC Doctoral Awards

To accept the award, email fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca of your decision within three weeks of your award notification. To arrange for payment of a SSHRC doctoral award, the Request for First Instalment and Reinstatement of Award Paid by Canadian Institution must be completed, signed by your graduate unit, and submitted to fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca, copying the SGS Federal Awards Officer at p.papathanasakis@utoronto.ca, starting six weeks in advance of the start date of the award. Funds can only be issued once SSHRC has processed the form and transferred funds to the University which usually takes six weeks.

Please note, the signature in Part 4 from an “SLO or equivalent official in the faculty of graduate studies or its equivalent” should be the graduate coordinator/director/administrator from your graduate unit/department. If you have requested and received approval from SSHRC for a change in start date, please also forward a copy of SSHRC’s approval to p.papathanasakis@utoronto.ca.

Payment method and schedule is described on the SGS How to Activate & Maintain Your Award webpage.

Progress Reports (to initiate the subsequent year(s) of funding)​

According to the reporting requirements as outlined in the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide, NSERC and SSHRC doctoral award holders with multi-year awards must renew their award annually by completing the Annual Progress Report for NSERC/SSHRC Award Holders form on the online SGS Forms Tool system. The granting agencies may cancel any award if the award holder fails to demonstrate satisfactory progress. The completed form is due to your graduate administrator at least one month before the annual start date of your award (see table below).

A copy of the report should be kept by the graduate unit in the student’s academic file.

Start Session of Award Progress Report Due Date* Payment Disbursed
September August 1 Early September
January December 1 Early January
May April 1 Early May

*Late progress reports will be accepted; however, payment is not guaranteed by the above dates.

Early completions

Award holders who complete their program of study early (e.g. submit their final thesis to SGS before the end of the last session of their award) must ensure they remain registered until the end of their session or may risk having their last instalment cancelled. As award holders are given funds at the beginning of each session, those who complete early or withdraw part away through a session may be required to repay funds already received depending on the sessional registration.  It is recommended that award holders keep the minimum registration duration requirement in mind when planning the dates of Final Oral Examinations and the subsequent final thesis submission. Questions regarding the approved thesis submission date can be directed to the Doctoral Office at SGS.​

Contacts & Resources

For more information, visit the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program Website (housed on the NSERC website), and/or contact appropriate Awards Officer at the SGS Graduate Awards Office:

 CIHR CGS D

Olivera Joksimovic
Graduate Awards Officer
P: 416-946-0808
o.joksimovic@utoronto.ca

 NSERC CGS D

Pascal Papathanasakis
Graduate Awards Officer
P: 416-978-8260
p.papathanasakis@utoronto.ca

  SSHRC CGS D

Stacey Kwan
Graduate Awards Officer
P: 416-978-2205
staceym.kwan@utoronto.ca

CIHR:

support-soutien@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

CIHR Doctoral Research Award Programs Website

NSERC:

schol@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

NSERC PGS D Website

SSHRC:

fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

SSHRC Doctoral Awards Website