Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP)

The Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) Grants are sponsored by the Polar Knowledge Canada (PKC). The block grant awarded to the University of Alberta is based on a submission of individual projects and reports on awards from previous years. These grants are open to graduate and senior undergraduate students (Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents) at the University of Alberta in a program leading to a northern specialization.

The NSTP grants are a supplementary source of funds intended to initiate rather than completely support northern projects. NSTP terms of reference and eligibility criteria are set by the NSTP Management Committee of Polar Knowledge Canada.

The geographic area of focus is Canada, north of the discontinuous permafrost zone. The terms of reference for these grants were extended in 1994 and the committee now accepts applications for research in other circumpolar areas, provided that the research has applicability to northern Canada. Please review the guidelines (page 10) for changes in eligibility in the other countries.

The NSTP online application and reporting link can be found here - please review the information below on the University of Alberta mandatory common application process before initiating your application. If you are eligible to apply for NSTP funding you must also apply for UANRA funding.

Link to the Google drive with the Common Application forms.

Link to the Google drive with the Guidelines and supplementary materials.

  • Value
    Awards vary between $2,500 and $3,000 with a maximum of $4,000.
  • Eligibility

    The applicant must be enrolled in a degree program at a Canadian university and must be a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident.

    Definition of the North

    For the purposes of the grants program, the term `North` is understood to include that part of Canada which lies north of the southern limit of the discontinuous permafrost zone in Canada (arctic and subarctic). The 'Circumpolar North" refers to the eight countries of the Arctic Council (Canada, Finland, Greenland [Denmark], Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States [Alaska]). Please refer to the NSTP guidelines for changes in eligible areas for each of the Countries listed.

    Additional Criteria

    For further information, please refer to page 5 of the NSTP Manual.

  • Application Procedures


    Submit both the UofA Common Application & NSTP Online Application.

    Grants are meant to help offset the higher or additional cost of conducting research in northern and/or remote areas; the budget should reflect this.

    Collaboration is encouraged for cost-efficiencies; members of research teams working on individual projects attached to a research program should coordinate multiple applications. Applicants must obtain all necessary signatures and provide ethics statements, apply for research licenses and permits, and undertake all consultations with all relevant communities and organizations for the project.

    Supervisors should assist students in completing their application.

    Submitting the Application

    Send an electronic copy of the Common Application Form and attachments, as well as PDF of the NSTP online application to: by October 26th, 5pm. 

    * Make sure you have submitted the online portion of the application to NSTP as well as the common application to UAlberta North.

  • Common Application


    Google Drive link for all forms for the Common Application

    Application Checklist for Students

    1. UAlberta North Signature Page: This form should be signed by you (as principal investigator), your supervisor (as co-investigator) and your department chair.
      Please note you are NOT required to have RSO sign this form - UAlberta North will coordinate with RSO on the final block application and UAlberta North is responsible for dispersing all Award funds for these programs.
    2. Electronic copy of the completed Common Application form to including:
      • - Detailed research proposal
      • - If applicable, additional sheet justifying project:
      • - if it falls outside the geographic area of focus in the case of the UofA Northern Research Awards;
      • - if the project falls in the northern regions of circumpolar countries other than Canada in the case of NSTP
    3. Supervisor's Evaluation form. Please ensure your supervisor sends the completed form directly to the Northern Research Awards Committee by email to by October 26th, 5pm.
  • Guidelines
  • Adjudication Procedures

    U of A Northern Research Awards Committee

    The UofA Northern Research Awards Committee is appointed each year to evaluate applications to the NSTP and the UofA Northern Research Awards program. As per the NSTP guidelines, the Committee that adjudicates award recommendations is required to be formally recognized as such by the President of the university.

    The committee comprises four academic staff members of the UofA, appointed to represent broad disciplinary areas (life/biological Sciences; earth sciences/engineering; social sciences/humanities/fine arts/medical sciences) for a three-year term (staggered), and serving as Chair in the third year appointment; one student representative, appointed for a one-year term; and one ex officio member from UAlberta North (non-voting).

  • Deadline

    APPLICATIONS DEADLINE for Common Application and NSTP:
    October 26th, 2020- 5pm for Digital Copies.

    DEPARTMENTAL DEADLINE: Most departments require a review of the application 10 days before submission. Please refer to your Department/Faculty deadlines.

  • Reporting Requirements
    Students who have received the 2020-2021 award must report by October 18th, regardless of whether they have completed their fieldwork. To access the reporting website, please click here. If you have any questions regarding this please contact Your reporting is part of the current year application. If your work is in the winter, you still need to do an interim report and a final update by April 30th, 2020. This is outlined in the guidelines for 2019-2020.
  • Additional Information

    Grants Application Workshop

    A Grants Workshop is held in September each year to provide an overview of the granting program, and advise on field research licensing, protocols, logistical issues, and other considerations.

    The Grants Workshops for the 2021-2022 application year:

    September 28th, 1:00 to 2:00

    September 29th, 11:30 to 12:30

    Please email uanorth@ualberta to request the zoom link.

    Link to the video and pdf of the presentation.

    You are welcome to set up a time to meet if you have any questions. Please email Trish at