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.


Applicants are to review the Vanier CGS program website  for complete eligibility criteria and requirements. It is the applicant's responsibility to read all eligibility criteria and instructions and be familiar with the application process before applying. Applications that do not meet all of the eligibility criteria will be deemed ineligible.

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 2026.
  • 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, 2025;
  • have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program, by May 1, 2025, 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, 2025, 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, 2025, if accelerated from a Master's degree into a Doctoral program without obtaining the Master's degree.
  • have achieved a 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.
  • Applicants who self-identify as Indigenous (First nation, Inuit and/or Métis) are highly encouraged to apply. The U of A may nominate applicants who wish to self-identify as Indigenous without those nominations being counted towards the university quota. Applicants who wish to self-identify themselves as an Indigenous are to complete the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS): Voluntary Self-Identification Form  and upload it within their application.
Application Procedures

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 program. 

Applications submitted this Summer 2024 term are for awards to start May or September 2025, or January 2026.

1. Review the 2024-25 Vanier Memo Students & Departments   and the Vanier CGS website  for program details 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.
  • 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.GPS does not follow up with applicants regarding missing reference letters; it is also the responsibility of the student to follow up with their referees prior to the institutional deadline.

Leadership Reference Letters (non-academic capacity): Students should consider requesting their leadership reference letters a minimum of one week prior to the institution application submission deadline of September 5, 2024. Students are responsible for ensuring their reference letters are uploaded to ResearchNet in PDF format; leadership reference letter writers cannot submit using the online portal.

Referee Assessments (academic capacity): It is recommended students set the Assessment Required Deadline date by which the assessments must be submitted through ResearchNet, a minimum of one week prior to the institution application deadline of September 5, 2024. Students are responsible for ensuring their referees assessments are submitted and completed, in sufficient time prior to the application deadline.

3. Transcripts:

Students must submit copies of their transcripts to GPS via the Student Services Centre portal  ( Student Services Catalogue/Contact GPS/Scholarships, Loans, and Funding) no later than September 5, 2024 (application deadline and submission). Transcripts are used in the application review and final adjudication; transcripts submitted after September 5 will not be accepted. It is highly recommended students order transcripts as early as possible.

For candidates selected to be forwarded to Vanier for national review, GPS will upload all transcripts to the students’ ResearchNet application as part of the university’s nomination process. For international transcripts, GPS will include a summary describing the grading scale at that time.

Transcript requirements

U of A Transcripts: U of A unofficial transcripts (printed from BearTracks) will be accepted; however, students are to take note they must be able to provide an official copy if requested (see Vanier’s Application Instructions – Task 12).

  • U of A transcripts must show current full time registration (courses/thesis in progress) if the applicant is currently registered.
  • GPS will not print an unofficial U of A transcript for institutional review should the student submit an outdated or incomplete transcript. Outdated/incomplete copies will render the students’ application incomplete and will be rejected.

Other Institution Transcripts: For all other institutions attended, students are responsible for obtaining official transcripts.

  • GPS does not provide copies of transcripts from student records held at the U of A (includes transcripts from other Canadian/international post-secondary institutions, and transcripts included in former, recent, or in progress admission/award applications). Students are responsible for ensuring transcripts for all institutions attended are submitted to GPS by the deadline.
  • Missing, unofficial, or illegible transcripts may deem students' applications as incomplete and will not be reviewed. It is the students’ responsibility to follow Vanier’s  transcript requirement guidelines (ex. definition of up-to-date; ALL postsecondary coursework undertaken, etc). These instructions are imperative, as non-compliance with transcript-related guidelines is the primary reason for the rejection of applications.
  • Self-produced transcripts or mark sheets from institutions’ self-served student systems are considered unofficial and will not be considered.

4. Institutional Application Deadline and Submission:

September 5, 2024: Institutional deadline for students to submit their complete application (including leadership letters of reference, referee assessments, and other attached documents as described in Vanier’s application instructions ) through ResearchNet. Students must also submit their transcripts to GPS (via the Student Service Centre portal ; Student Services Catalogue/Contact GPS/Scholarships, Loans, and Funding) by September 5.

Late submissions of applications or transcripts will not be accepted.

  • It is highly recommended that students submit their application well ahead of the institutional deadline.
  • Only completed applications, including all transcripts, 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 online 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. Refer to the 2024-25 Vanier Memo Students & Departments  for complete details. 

Timelines and Deadlines

September 5, 2024 (11:59 PM MST): Deadline for students to submit their full application in ResearchNet, and to submit transcripts to GPS.

Students and departments may also refer to the 2024-25 Vanier Memo Students & Departments  for a timeline overview.

Postgraduate Supplements

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.

Award Acceptance

The Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) is the primary contact and administrator for the Vanier Doctoral award and its regulations for the term the student holds the award. Recipients planning to accept the award at the U of A (activate Payment of Award: Awards paid by Canadian institutions ) are to proceed with the following steps:

1. Respond to the award offer

  1. To accept the offer, students are to login to ResearchNet  and respond to the offer no later than the date specified in the Vanier Offer letter.
    When choosing a start date, if applicable, students are to consider other sources of funding that they hold or will currently hold (ex. other awards, department funding) to ensure these awards don't conflict with the Vanier.
  2. Students must complete the Confirmation of Commencement (CFC) form from ResearchNet  and submit a signed copy directly to

The CFC form is usually generated two months prior to the start of the award. However, awards beginning in May will be validated immediately and awardees will therefore soon receive their CFC. If the award starts in September, CFC will be available sometime in July.

2. Submit Required Documents to GPS

  1. Vanier Offer Letter and the Offer of an Award document
  2. Response to an Offer of Award
  3. Confirmation of Commencement (CFC) Form
  4. Authorization of Funding (AFF) - Vanier staff will generate the AFF and will be sent to recipients. Expect a 4 to 6 weeks turnaround time for the process to be completed by them. Once available, students are to send GPS a copy of the AFF at a later date.

3. Award Payments

Award payments will be processed according to the start date and the university's payroll schedule.

It is the students’ responsibility to read the Tri-Agency’s Research Training Award Holder’s Guide  and the GPS Scholarships and Awards Manual for all regulations and requirements relating to the award(s), including information on payment schedules, direct deposit, and renewal years (if applicable).

Award Renewals

Students’ renewable award will be viewable in the GSMS Awards Portal  under “My Awards” with the status of "Awaiting Renewal". GPS will notify students approximately 2 months prior to the renewal start date when it will be viewable in GSMS.

It is the student’s responsibility to send the renewal request to GPS via GSMS approximately 4 weeks before the start of the renewal year. Requests for renewals are subject to review by GPSS Awards Staff. Note that the value and specifics of the award may be adjusted. Renewal request requirements:

1. Student supervisor's authorization via GSMS

To request the supervisor's authorization and to renew the award, follow the complete GSMS Awards: Renew My Award  instructions (also available on GPS’s website under Awards and Funding/Award Resources/Student Resources/Renew my Award).

Enter a due-date for the supervisor sign-off that is as late as possible before the renewal deadline. Ensure the request is properly submitted; incomplete submission requests may result in delayed payments.

2. Required form for all Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, Vanier) Doctoral award holders

The completed Tri-Agency Doctoral Awards Progress Report  (also available in the Forms Cabinet (under Awards\Awards Management)):

  • the Progress Report must be signed by the Department's Graduate Coordinator/Chair (not the student’s program supervisor); students are responsible for securing the appropriate signature from their Department.
  • the Progress Report is required to initiate payments; it is students’ responsibility to ensure that the Progress Report is complete in every respect, once uploaded. If incomplete, including missing signature(s) and/or unmarked checkbox (Student Progress), delays in processing will occur and may result in delayed payments

3. Award requirements

Students must meet the eligibility requirements of their award set out within the Graduate Scholarship Committee Scholarships and Awards Manual (SAM).

4. Full-time registration

Students are to ensure they are full-time registered in their program during the tenure of the award. Students are to contact their home department if assistance with registration is required.