Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

The Government of Canada launched the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program in 2008 to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health.

The Vanier Scholarships were named in honour of former Governor General Georges Vanier - statesman and hero. The Vanier CGS program is administered by the Vanier-Banting Secretariat (housed within CIHR) on behalf of Canada's three granting agencies - Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). 

Awarded at $50,000 a year for three years, the Vanier is one of Canada's most prestigious graduate awards.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada and international students are eligible to apply. All applicants must:

• be enrolled full-time in a doctoral program no later than January 2025.
• be pursuing their first doctoral degree (including joint undergraduate/graduate research programs, such as MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD - if it has a demonstrated and significant research component). Note that only the PhD portion of a combined degree is eligible for funding.
• have completed no more than 20 months of full-time study in their doctoral program as of May 1, 2024;
• have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program, by May 1, 2024 if enrolled in a joint graduate research program, e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD, DVM/PhD. Applicants that fall into this category have access to the 32-month window whether or not they were previously enrolled in a Master's program; or
• have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by May 1, 2024 if accelerated directly from a Bachelor's to a PhD (no time spent in a Master's program); or
• have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by May 1, 2024 if accelerated from a Master's degree into a Doctoral program without obtaining the Master's degree.
• have achieved first-class average (GPA of at least 3.5 on the U of A grading scale) in each of the last two years of full-time study (or equivalent)
• not hold, or have held, a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC to undertake or complete a doctoral program.

Note: Indigenous applicants are highly encouraged to apply. Institutions may nominate applicants who self-identify as Indigenous (First nation, Inuit and/or Métis) without those nominations being counted towards their quota. Applicants who wish to self-identify themselves as an Indigenous (First Nation, Inuit, and/or Métis) have been instructed to complete the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS): Voluntary Self-Identification Form and upload it within their application.

Please visit the Vanier website for complete eligibility details.

Application Procedures

New for the 2023-24 competition: This is a direct application, whereby students apply through Vanier’s on-line portal ResearchNet. After university adjudication, candidates selected to be forwarded to the federal competition will require a support letter from their Department (see Nomination Procedures for additional details). Therefore interested eligible applicants should contact their proposed or admitting Department to notify them of their intent to apply to the Vanier CGS. 

Applications submitted this Summer 2023 term are for awards to start May or September 2024, or January 2025.

1) Review the Vanier CGS program website for complete eligibility criteria and requirements:

  • Applications that do not meet all of the eligibility criteria will be deemed ineligible. It is the applicant's responsibility to read all instructions and be familiar with the application process before applying.
  • Relevant document attachments (CCV, lay abstract, research proposal, project references, and transcripts) required for online application submission can be written and obtained without access to ResearchNet. Due to tight timelines, applicants are encouraged to start their application early.

2) Start Vanier’s Online Application:

Applicants are to complete an application in ResearchNet by following Vanier's application instructions. GPS is the university designate for the Vanier CGS program and thus have access to applications in ResearchNet for institutional review.

  • Submission of the application in ResearchNet constitutes students’ intent to apply to the program at the University of Alberta.
  • Students should consider requesting their leadership reference letters as early as possible in order to meet the application submission deadline of August 8, 2023. 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 reference letters are uploaded to ResearchNet in PDF format; referees cannot submit using the online portal.
  • Edits or corrections such as spelling, grammar, formatting, attachments, etc. are the responsibility of the student and will not be checked by GPS. Students who do not follow Vanier’s application instructions and Presentation standards for attached documents may jeopardize their application.

3) Transcripts:

GPS Award Services will reach out to applicants to request transcripts after students submit their full application through ResearchNet (see step 4).

4) Application Deadline and Submission:

August 8, 2023: Students must submit their complete application (including leadership letters of reference and other attached documents as described in Vanier’s application instructions) through ResearchNet by the institutional deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.

  • It is highly recommended that students submit their application well ahead of the institutional deadline.
  • Only completed applications will be reviewed. Changes cannot be made after the application has been submitted and students will not be offered the opportunity to revise their applications. Incomplete applications will automatically be deemed ineligible.
Nomination Procedures

As this is a direct application whereby students apply through Vanier’s on-line portal ResearchNet, Departments are not required to review applications and submit eligible nominees to GPS. However, Departments will be asked to serve as the ‘Department Head nominating the candidate [equivalent or designate]’ (as outlined in Vanier’s instructions) should their students be selected as candidates for the federal competition. The process is as follows:

  1. Once the application closes in ResearchNet, Departments will be notified by GPS of the students who applied. They will be given the opportunity to decide whether or not to support the student in this year’s Vanier CGS competition. Note that applications will not be shared with Departments, but Departments may request copies from the student should they want it for their own internal review purposes.
  2. GPS's Graduate Scholarship Committe (GSC) will adjudicate the applications and will select a shortlist of candidates. Departments will be notified by GPS of the shortlisted candidates selected to be forwarded to the national competition.
  3. Departments that support their shortlisted candidates for federal review will be required to write a 2 page nomination letter (as the ‘Department head equivalent’). GPS will provide instructions and deadlines at this time.
Timelines and Deadlines

May 5, 2023 (10-11:30 AM): Academic Success Centre Virtual Workshop on writing the Leadership Statement

August 8, 2023 (11:59 PM MST): Deadline for students to submit full application through ResearchNet

Additional timelines will be provided to shortlisted candidates and their respective departments after the final adjudication in mid-September 2023.

Additional Information
Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement: Active Vanier holders (if eligible) who wish to undertake research outside of Canada for a defined period of time may consider applying for this supplement.