Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program

Award Overview

Value & Duration

This fellowship has a total value of $12,500.00 for one year (12 months) and must be held in addition to a program’s normal funding commitment. The $12,500.00 will be broken down into a $10,000 fellowship to be used as a top-up to the recipient’s usual funding package and $2,500.00 towards project expenses and / or professional development.


The Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program is part of the core offerings of the Centre for Graduate Professional Development. Public impact scholarship, through the lens of higher education, is inquiry that makes meaningful contributions to the public. Public impact spans science and technological innovation, as well as cultural innovation, with the goal of social benefit. This covers all academic disciplines. With that in mind, fellows from PhDs for Public Impact program will focus on engaging the public through a scholarly agenda. This could involve a range of activities, from describing their work in a public forum to partnering with a school, community organization, or cultural institution in an ongoing two-way exchange of knowledge and practices.


This program is open to all registered PhD/SJD students at the University of Toronto. Applicants must be registered in good standing throughout the program duration (i.e., from September 2023 to August 2024). Anyone who meets these criteria, including international students, part-time students, and students in the post-funding cohort, is eligible to apply.

For more information please visit the Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program FAQ page.

Application Process

Watch the Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program (2023–2024) Information Session videoRecorded December 13, 2022, 1–2 PM ET

Fill out your 2023–2024 application form. Deadline to submit applications is March 1, 2023.


Application Requirements

Application Information

  • Identifying information: Name of applicant, home unit(s) and contact information; Name of supervisor(s) and contact information; Name of Graduate Chair / Coordinator and contact information;
  • Title of proposed project;
  • Lay summary (maximum 250 words);
  • Description of proposed project (including background, methods and/or approaches; maximum 500 words);
  • Description of public impact of work, expected outcomes/learning, and future directions (maximum 500 words);
  • Description of work during the one-year timeline of fellowship, including work on project and proposed forms of public engagement (maximum 300 words);
  • Statement explaining the principles of EDI in the proposed work, including a description of the EDI issues associated with the work and a plan for integrating EDI considerations into its design and implementation (can include such things as building a diverse team or incorporating different theoretical perspectives, if no EDI principles that pertain, please explain why; maximum 300 words);
  • List of collaborators (individuals or organizations) if applicable (no support letters needed at this stage, but collaborator roles can be discussed in the proposal);
  • Description of any special circumstances that have affected the applicant’s trajectory, e.g., illness, leaves, child or elder care (optional; maximum 250 words);
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Description of the current funding package and research and professional development funds available, and use of the 2,500 allowance (maximum 300 words); and
  • Letter of support from supervisor, co-signed by Graduate Chair/Coordinator, which includes a statement that the student is in good academic standing (Form).


Application Adjudication Criteria

  • Quality and impact of proposed inquiry;
  • Use of appropriate and impactful methodologies;
  • Impact of outcomes / learnings and future directions;
  • Excellence of applicant as demonstrated by educational history, other related experience, and future promise;
  • Appropriateness of EDI plan and / or considerations;
  • Appropriateness of work to be completed during timeline of fellowship (both on project and proposed forms of public engagement);
  • Rationale and relevance of proposed use of fellowship funds; and
  • Support from supervisor(s) and Graduate Chair / Coordinator.


Building a Cohort

  • We are committed to supporting diversity in research, scholarship, and creative practice, as well as individuals from under-represented groups, international students, and multilingual students.
  • In selection, the committee will ensure there is diversity of backgrounds, identities, perspectives, and disciplines across the cohort of fellows.

For more information on the 2023–2024 application process please visit the Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program FAQ page.

Terms & Conditions

Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the award may result in the forfeiture of the award and any future instalments:

To accept the Fellowship, recipients must ensure they provide a signed copy of the Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Response Form to the Centre for Graduate Professional Development (CGPD) via email to with a copy to their graduate unit within two weeks of the award offer letter.  Fellows will be contacted by the Centre for Graduate Professional Development (CGPD) to provide a short biographical statement and requested to take part in a photoshoot organized by the CGPD

To maintain the Fellowship, Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellows must be registered full-time at the University of Toronto, maintain good academic standing, and be making satisfactory progress toward the completion of their degree (as determined by the graduate unit). Recipients who withdraw, transfer to part-time status, complete all degree requirements prior to the end of their award, or fail to complete the full academic session, will not be eligible for future installments and may be required to repay any funds received for the incomplete session. Students on an approved Leave of Absence should inquire about interrupting the fellowship during their period of leave.

  • Fellows will also be required / expected to:
    • Work on a finite 1 year deliverable in their research, scholarship or creative product (typically dissertation);
    • Attend fellowship orientation and launch event;
    • Attend monthly fellows’ meetings;
    • Engage in at least one form of public scholarship;
    • Participate in an annual showcase event;
    • Participate in program enhancement and evaluation;
    • Promote the Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program; and
    • Attend all activities and specifically 75% of the activities in person to build a cohort and community.

Award Holder Information

The School of Graduate Studies will disburse the fellowship in three instalments using the following timeline:

  • Connaught Impact Fellows can expect their first instalment of $5000 CAD within the first few weeks of September following registration.
  • The second instalment of $5000 CAD will be issued within the first few weeks of the winter session, and will be automatically applied to tuition and/or any outstanding balance on the student’s fees account. Any remaining funds will be refunded to the student.
  • The $2,500.00 CAD supplement for professional development and project expenses, will be paid as a lump sum to students also within the first few weeks of September so that it is available to recipients at any time during the award year and the remainder of their PhD program.

Award payments are processed through ACORN. The method of distribution (direct deposit or a mailed cheque) depends on the information students enter into their ACORN accounts.

  • Upon registration, we strongly recommend that students set up direct deposit by logging into ACORN and adding their banking information. Direct deposit will ensure that payment(s) are issued quickly. The How to Activate & Maintain Your Award page of SGS’s website contains more details on this process.

Contacts & Resources

SGS Centre for Graduate Professional Development


Website: Centre for Graduate Professional Development – University of Toronto (