NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (CGS-D)/Postgraduate Scholarship - Doctoral (PGS-D) Competition

There are two levels of NSERC funding for doctoral students:

• The Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral Program (CGS-D), and
• The NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship – Doctoral Program (PGS-D).

There is a single application and review process for the CGS-D and the PGS-D programs. The top-ranked applicants are awarded the CGS-D and highly-ranked applicants in the next tier are awarded
the PGS-D.

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  • Value
    The CGS-D is valued at $35,000/year (tenable only in Canada), for three years.

    The PGS-D is valued at $21,000/year (tenable in Canada and abroad), for three years.

  • Eligibility

    Eligibility requirements:

    • Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, as of the application deadline date;
    • Have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the year of application (no more than 36 months if transferred directly from Bachelors to a PhD or enrolled in a joint program, e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD);
    • Submit only one doctoral award application in a given academic year. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program do not count towards this limit;
    • Not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.
    • Your proposed research must clearly lie within the natural sciences and engineering (NSE), rather than the health sciences. Refer to NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for Students and Fellows for additional information. Students in joint programs with a professional degree as well as clinically oriented programs of study are to refer to NSERC’s website.

    For complete eligibility requirements, please visit the NSERC Website.

  • Selection Criteria

    Applicants are evaluated and selected according to criteria in the following categories:

    • Research ability and potential - 50%
    • Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia - 50%

    For complete selection criteria, please visit the NSERC Website.

  • Application Procedures

    There is no separate application form or process for the CGS-D program. The highest-ranked PGS-D applicants will automatically be considered by NSERC for a CGS-D. It is the student’s responsibility to read all instructions and be familiar with the application process before applying. Students’ Departments are not required to nominate them to FGSR for university review.

    Applications submitted this Fall 2020 term are for awards to start May or September 2021, or January 2022.

    2021 NSERC Memo to Students and Departments

    1) Start NSERC’s Online Application:
    Students are to complete a full application by following NSERC’s Application instructions, and submit through NSERC’s On-line Services portal. It is the student’s responsibility to read all instructions and be familiar with the application process before applying.

    • Students should consider requesting letters of recommendation (NSERC’s Reports on the Applicant) as early as possible in order to meet the application submission deadline of October 5, 2020. It is highly recommended students give their referees a deadline at least one week prior to any application deadline in order to avoid possible delays/changes. Students are responsible for ensuring their references have completed and successfully submitted the Report on the Applicant via the NSERC online portal.

    • Edits or corrections such as spelling, grammar, formatting, attachments, etc. are the responsibility of the student and will not be checked by FGSR. Students who do not follow NSERC’s application instructions and On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards may jeopardize their application.

    • “Verify” the application:
    - Once students complete their application section and the letters of reference have been submitted, students must click “verify” only. At this time students will not be able to click “submit”, until FGSR (the University designate) uploads students transcripts (see step 3-4).

    • FGSR will review completed applications; Departmental nomination to FGSR is not required. FGSR will not provide copies of students’ applications or reference letters to Departments. Should Departments want a copy of the student’s application for advisement purposes, they may request this directly from the student. As referees are required to submit a confidential online form, letters are not available to students.

    2) University Designate:
    FGSR Award Services is the University Designate.

    • In the “Transcripts – University” task of the online application, students are to indicate the following information for the University Designate (do not reverse the first and last name):

    First Name: Award
    Last Name: Services
    E-mail: grad.awards@ualberta.ca 

    • After completing the University Designate section/fields, students are to send the online request.

    • NSERC’s online system will then send an email notice to grad.awards@ualberta.ca with a link to access the student’s individual application portal in order to upload transcripts. Important: FGSR will not receive the email notice if only the University Designate fields are filled out, and the request is not sent. The email notice with the link is required for FGSR to upload each student’s transcripts. Students MUST send the request by the Transcript Submission deadline of September 23, 2020 (see step 3).

    • FGSR will upload student’s transcripts to the online portal after step 3 is completed.

    3) Transcript Submission:
    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm (MST): Deadline for students to submit copies of transcripts to FGSR.

    • Students are to ensure the University Designate request has been sent to FGSR.

    • FGSR does not provide copies of transcripts held on file at FGSR. Students are responsible for ensuring transcripts for all institutions attended are included in their application.

    • Missing transcripts may deem students’ applications as incomplete.

    • The following transcripts are to be scanned and submitted as one PDF (labeled Student ID_Last Name, First Name_Institution Name) to FGSR via the following Google Form link (note students must use their UofA CCID/email; further instructions are in the form):

    1) An up to date official UofA transcript; must show current Fall 2020 registration. Visit the Office of the Registrar’s website: How to Request Official University of Alberta Transcripts

    2) Official, up-to-date transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies undertaken. Transcripts associated with transfer credit MUST be included.

    NSERC acknowledges that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder the ability of some applicants to access official and up-to-date versions of their transcripts in advance of the deadline date. Where able, students are asked to submit copies of official, up-to-date transcripts. If students are unable to provide copies of official transcripts, unofficial transcripts will be accepted (copies must still be up to date).

    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 have provided true, complete, accurate information in the application and its related documents. Visit NSERC’s website for completed details.

    It is the students responsibility to follow NSERC’s Transcripts or proof of registration for transcript requirement guidelines (ex. definition of up-to-date; ALL postsecondary coursework undertaken, etc). Missing transcripts may deem students' applications incomplete or ineligible and will not be reviewed.

    4) Transcript Upload
    Week of September 28, 2020: FGSR will upload transcripts to the student’s application in NSERC’s online portal by using the University Designate link.

    • As per NSERC’s application instructions: It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that their transcripts are complete and legible once uploaded. In all cases, the applicant is responsible for ensuring that the application is complete by reviewing the final version of the online application.

    5) Application Deadline and Submission
    October 5, 2020, 11:59 pm (MST): Deadline for students to submit their completed application via NSERC’s On-line Services portal.

    • Once students have verified the completeness of the final version of their application (including Reports on the Applicant and uploaded transcripts), they are to click “submit”.

    • Changes cannot be made after the application has been submitted. Students will not be offered the opportunity to revise their applications.

    • Students are responsible for ensuring their references have completed and successfully submitted the Report on the Applicant via the NSERC online portal.

    • Edits or corrections such as spelling, grammar, formatting, attachments, etc. are the responsibility of the student and will not be checked by FGSR. Students who do not follow NSERC’s application instructions and On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards may jeopardize their application.

    • Clicking “Submit” does not mean that a student’s application has been forwarded to the national NSERC competition. All eligible applications will be shared to the Graduate Scholarship Committee (GSC) adjudicators for review.

  • Adjudication Procedures

    All complete and eligible applications are reviewed by the Graduate Scholarship Committee. A list of recommended applications is chosen and sent to NSERC for final adjudication at the national level
    by November 21, 2020. The University of Alberta’s quota for recommended applications for the 2021 is TBA.

    NSERC will notify all recommended applicants of final decisions by April 2021.

  • Deadline and Timelines

    September 16, 2020: Tri-Council Doctoral Program workshop/information session. Details about the workshop will be forthcoming.

    October 5, 2020, 11:59 pm (MST): Deadline for students to submit their completed application via NSERC’s On-line Services portal.

    October 6 - 16, 2020: FGSR Award Services reviews applications for eligibility and completeness. FGSR will share with Departments a list of their students who have applied for information purposes only. Note: Students will not be offered the opportunity to revise their applications.

    October 17- Mid November, 2020: FGSR’s GSC reviews applications and selects nominees to be forwarded to NSERC for review at the national level.

    November 21, 2020: Deadline for FGSR to forward university nominations to NSERC for the national competition.

    Mid - End of November, 2020: Results of the NSERC competition at the University level will be shared with Departments. Students whose applications have been forwarded to NSERC will receive a notification from FGSR. Unsuccessful students will be notified via the NSERC portal.

    Final NSERC doctoral results are expected to be announced in April 2021.