Funded Canadian Doctoral Study for Graduates in the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program 2021

Get your institution to nominate you for the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program 2021 for a chance to pursue a doctoral study in Canada with the costs covered. 

If you are selected, you will join the ranks of world-class Vanier Scholars with leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement, receive word-class education in your area of research/study and receive funding for the duration of the doctoral study.

Application Deadline: November 3, 2020


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elected candidates in the 2021 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program receive:

  • Study/research opportunity in any of these areas:
    • Health research
    • Natural sciences and/or engineering research
    • Social sciences and humanities research
  • The costs of the study, valued at $50,000 per year for 3 years during doctoral studies


Application is open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and foreign citizens. 

To be considered for a Vanier CGS, Applicants must 

  • Be nominated by only one Canadian institution, which must have received a Vanier CGS quota
  • Be pursuing their first doctoral degree (including joint graduate research program such as MD/Ph.D., DVM/Ph.D., JD/Ph.D. – if it has a demonstrated and significant research component) 
  • Intend to pursue, in the summer semester or the academic year following the announcement of results, full-time doctoral (or a joint graduate research program such as MD/Ph.D., DVM/Ph.D., JD/Ph.D.) studies and research at the nominating institution
  • Have completed no more than 20 months of full-time study in their doctoral program as of May 1, 2021
  • Have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program, by May 1st, 2021 if enrolled in a joint graduate research program, e.g., MD/Ph.D., MA/Ph.D., DVM/Ph.D. (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)             


  • Have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by May 1, 2021, if accelerated directly from a Bachelor’s to a Ph.D. (no time spent in a Master’s program)     


  • Have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by May 1, 2021, if accelerated from a Master’s degree into a Doctoral program without obtaining the Master’s degree.
  • Have achieved a first-class average, as determined by their institution, in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent. Candidates are encouraged to contact the institution for its definition of a first-class average
  • Must not hold, or have held, a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC to undertake or complete a doctoral program.

Requirements for the Study Program

As a requirement for completion of the program, 

  • An eligible doctoral program must include a significant research component that leads to the completion of a thesis, major research project, dissertation, scholarly publication, performance, recital, and/or exhibit that is merit/expert-reviewed at the institutional level.
  • Joint graduate research programs with a professional degree (e.g., MD/Ph.D., DVM/Ph.D., JD/Ph.D.) as well as clinically-oriented programs of study, including clinical psychology, are also eligible programs if they have a significant autonomous research component, as described above.
  • Without exception, the Vanier CGS is tenable only at the eligible Canadian institution that submitted the nomination.

To hold the Vanier CGS, the candidate must:

  • be registered as a full-time student at the nominating Canadian institution and be pursuing a doctoral program (or joint graduate research program MA/Ph.D., MSc/Ph.D., or MD/Ph.D.); and
  • not hold a faculty appointment concurrently with a Vanier Scholarship unless they arrange for a leave of absence from the appointment
  • remain enrolled and demonstrate continued satisfactory progress in their doctoral program.
  • not hold, or have held, a doctoral-level scholarship from CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC to undertake or complete a doctoral program.
  • not be concurrently holding any other SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR training award (note: Michael Smith Foreign Studies Supplement excepted). 

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Application/Nomination Instructions

To apply

  • Applicants must read the Application Guide before initiating any process
  • Applications are initiated in one of two ways. Either:
    • the student informs the faculty of graduate studies at the selected institution of their intent to apply to the Vanier CGS program


    • the institution initiates the nomination process by contacting the desired candidate.
  • Applications are prepared by the student and submitted to the nominating institution by their internal deadline (set in ResearchNet by the nominating institution) using the ResearchNet application system..

Nomination Process

  • Candidates must be nominated by a Canadian institution with a quota (i.e., a predetermined number of applications that can be put forward to the national competition) to host Vanier scholars.
  • Candidates should only seek a nomination from the institution at which they want to study.
  • Click here to apply.  

About the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program

Launched by the Government of Canada in 2008, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) program is one of a group of special federal research capacity development programs intended to increase the supply of highly-qualified research personnel in Canada and brand Canada worldwide as a nation known for quality research and research training.

The program helps Canadian institutions attract highly qualified doctoral students. It aims to solidify Canada’s capability to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and establish Canada as a global center of excellence in research and higher learning. 

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program helps Canada’s universities attract sought-after doctoral students from across Canada and around the world. These promising scholars help to create a dynamic and innovative environment within our institution campuses. Many will stay to pursue academic and professional careers in Canada, helping to foster innovation and creating future leaders.

The Vanier CGS program allows highly motivated and competitive students to realize their full potential and develop their careers. Upon completion of their award, Vanier Scholars will be well-positioned to contribute to the continued growth of Canada’s research capacity and the country’s economic and social prosperity.

Up to 166 scholarships are awarded annually and a total of up to 500 scholarships are active at any time.

Discover more opportunities from Government of Canada 

Key Dates and Order of Program


  • The deadline for application


    • For Students: Determined by nominating institution.
    • For nominating institutions: November 3, 2020 (20:00 EST)
  • November 2020 – March 2021: Review and evaluation of nominations.
  • Early April 2021: Notification of results.

Nominees will be notified by email when the results are available on ResearchNet.

May 1, 2021, September 1, 2021, or January 1, 2022: Payments begin.

The internal candidate selection process is conducted by the nominating institution.

The nominating institution forwards recommended nominations to the Vanier-Banting Secretariat (the Secretariat) by the deadline for applications. 

The Secretariat coordinates the review process. Afterward, the Secretariat presents the recommendations to the Tri-Agency Programs (TAP) Steering Committee.

The TAP Steering Committee endorses and approves final decisions for the Vanier CGS program.

Selection is based on 3 criteria: 

  • Academic Excellence
  • Research Potential
  • Leadership

Nominated candidates are notified of the competition results in April 2021

Networking and Partnership Opportunities

The scholarship program is jointly administrated by Vaniers and, 

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
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