Vanier CGS 2023-2024 competition launch

The 2023-2024 Vanier CGS competition has been launched. This memo is to inform you of program news for this competition.

I) 2023-2024 Vanier CGS Competition Timelines

Key dates are highlighted below:

  2023-2024 Vanier CGS Competition Timelines
Competition Launch

June 22, 2023 – Posting of updated program literature on program website.

List of Indigenous applicants for Institutions October 18, 2023
Application Deadline November 1, 2023 (8:00 pm EDT)
Funding Decision Release Early April 2024

II) Vanier CGS program news and updates

Special Circumstance document Revised

The Secretariat acknowledges that certain circumstances may legitimately affect an applicant's record of research achievement. Applicants are encouraged to explain any personal circumstances (including gender, race, diversity, ability, sexuality, health disparities, educational access, etc.) that have played a role in shaping their path in order to allow for a fair assessment of their research productivity.

Committee members are entrusted with the responsibility to assess the impact and significance of research contribution while taking into account the impacts of career interruptions as well as interpersonal, community, and career responsibilities.

Applicants can describe circumstances such as administrative responsibilities, health problems, family responsibilities, disabilities, trauma and/or loss, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, pandemic impact or other circumstances (for example, the time necessary to complete a monograph or research project, file a patent, or academia and/or career advancement, scientific research, other research, dissemination of results, training, etc).

They should include the start and end dates; the impact areas; and the reason(s) for or a brief explanation of the absence. Applicants may explain any gaps in the chronology of their experience. However, they are not required to justify circumstances when noting considerations related to personal identity considerations. Should they choose to include this information, please note that it will be reviewed by selection committee members.

Please note that in order to maintain equitable application requirements for all nominees, no information other than that outlined above will be forwarded to the committee. Any information that does not conform to the requirements will be removed with no further notification to the applicant and/or Nominating Institution.

Personal Leadership Statement Revised

The Personal Leadership statement has been revised to only include elements of what personal experience have shaped the doctoral research of an applicant. The statement should go beyond a list of accomplishments. Applicants should outline to the committee the ways in which these accomplishments demonstrate their leadership abilities and skills.

Circumstances that may legitimately affect an applicant's record of research achievement should be written in the Special Circumstance document.

Attach Other applications materials (Option) New

Part-time and joint research graduate program information

Students must now upload information about Part-time studies in this section. The information must be reflected in the transcripts.

Students registered in a joint program (e.g., MD/PhD), must upload the timeline of their undergraduate/graduate versus doctoral program studies, broken down by semester in this section.

This calculation must be consistent with the transcripts provided. For purposes of this calculation, the undergraduate/graduate portion will not count towards the number of months completed.

Note: In order to maintain equitable application requirements for all nominees, no information other than that outlined above will be forwarded to the committee. Any information that does not conform to the requirements will be removed with no further notification to the applicant.

San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) New

San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is a global initiative whose purpose is to support the development and promotion of best practices in the assessment of scholarly research. DORA recognizes the need to improve the ways in which research is evaluated, beyond widely used journal-based metrics.

As a signatory of DORA, the agencies have reaffirmed their commitment to excellence in research evaluation and the importance of knowledge translation.

The agencies recognize and value a broader range of contributions, including outreach and mentoring, and emphasize their quality and impact. Please note that these are examples/not an exhaustive list.

Quality indicators include:

Impact indicators include:

First-Class average New

The Vanier CGS program will allow institutions to apply the first-class average requirements at their discretion. The following note in the box will be added to the eligibility criteria to apply that states: "…have achieved a first-class average, as determined by your 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;"

Note: Institutions may, at their discretion, accept Vanier CGS applications from individuals who have not obtained a first-class average; contact your proposed host institutions to determine their use of this eligibility criterion.

Equity, diversity and inclusion Reminder (updated)

The Vanier CGS program encourages equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), as part of the Tri-Agency's broader commitment to excellence in research and research training in Canada. EDI considerations must be taken into account throughout the Vanier CGS competition, including during the selection committee member recruitment process and during the selection, endorsement and review processes of an application.

The EDI page of the Vanier CGS website provides guidelines and resources geared towards applicants, host institutions, referees, and reviewers and readers, and addressing the following topics: research respectfully involving Indigenous communities; reducing unconscious bias, and promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.

An important component ensuring EDI which is reflected in our selection process is the careful consideration of each applicant's career interruptions and personal circumstances. The review of an applicant's track record will take into consideration the availability of research and leadership opportunities. Applicants are thus encouraged to identify any circumstances that may have delayed or interrupted their academic and/or career advancement (if applicable) in the Special Attention attachment of their nomination.

Tri-Agency Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council are committed to excellence in research and research training. Achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. Read more.

Integrity of nominations submitted Reminder

Submission of an application via ResearchNet will serve as a formal attestation that the applicant has provided true, complete, and accurate information in the application and its related documents.

French Applications: Personal Leadership Statement and Research Proposal Page Limit Reminder

In order to ensure an equitable amount of space for the personal leadership statement and the research proposal written in either official language, the Personal Leadership Statement and the Research Proposal attachments for nominations submitted in French are now permitted to be a maximum of 2.5 pages. This is due to evidence demonstrating that documents written in French require approximately 20% more space than similar documents in English.

Note: Any pages over the allotted page limit for the Personal Leadership Statement and the Research Proposal (maximum of 2 pages for English applications and maximum of 2.5 pages for French applications) will be removed with no further notification to the Applicant.

Lay Abstract Reminder

To help the selection committee members identify the supervisor, nominee are asked to indicate the supervisor's name and Institution at the beginning of the lay abstract. If yet to be determined, nominee can mention "to be determined".

International Transcripts Reminder

If a nominee has international transcripts: Institutions must provide a 250- word summary explaining the grading system in effect at the Institution concerned. Institution may use the grading scale available at the World Education Services. The summary/grading scale should be a PDF document attached at the beginning of their transcripts. This information is being requested by the selection committee.

Reminder: College or CEGEP (college of general and professional education) transcripts should be submitted only if credits earned at a college or CEGEP have been transferred and the grade does not appear on the university transcripts.

International recruitment Reminder

In keeping with the aim of attracting doctoral students to Canada, we encourage you to continue to strengthen your efforts to recruit new foreign doctoral students to your respective institutions. Your collaboration is essential in achieving the goal of building strong brand recognition for the Vanier CGS program as Canada's most valuable, prestigious and sought-after doctoral scholarship. By attracting international candidates to Canadian institutions, we will enrich our campuses now and into the future.

Self-Identified Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and/or Métis) applicants Reminder

Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis) to the Vanier CGS competition above and beyond their institutional quota. Indigenous applicants must agree to their personal information being used for this purpose by making the appropriate selection in the application form by attaching the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS): Voluntary Self-Identification Form to their application in ResearchNet.

For those who choose to self-identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis) they have been instructed to complete the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS): Voluntary Self-Identification Form [ PDF (409 KB) ] for Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and/or Métis) Applicants and upload it within their application. This form may be used by Research Administrators to identify self-declared Indigenous applicants.

Should the institution wish to request a quota above and beyond the institutional quota, it is the responsibility of the Research Administrators to submit the list identifying Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis) applications and send it via email to the Vanier-Banting Secretariat (

Institutional Deadlines

Note: Substitutions for ineligible or rejected nominations will not be permitted.

Nomination Letter Reminder

The rationale for choosing the candidate should be emphasized in the letter. This is the primary purpose of the nomination letter.

Format of documents Reminder

Candidates must use either Arial, Calibri or Time New Roman font size of 12-point black type. Maximum of six lines per inch. Do not use condensed/narrow font sizes, type density, or line spacing. Smaller text in tables, charts, figures, and graphs and references (format at discretion of candidates) is acceptable as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%. Note: failure to comply with these requirements can negatively impact the status and evaluation of your nomination in a competition.

Sex- and Gender-based Analysis Plus (SGBA+) Reminder

In order to ensure the research we fund is impactful and relevant to the diversity of the population, we now require applicants to systematically examine how differences in identity factors (such as sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability) affect the outcomes of research and the impacts of research findings. Applicants are now encouraged to take SGBA+ principles into account in their proposed research (see Application/nomination instruction-Task 10).

Research respectfully involving and engaging Indigenous communities Reminder

The proposed research must be in accordance with the policies and principles outlined in the following three main documents:

Nominating institutions must describe how collaborations with Indigenous communities have been or will be developed and provide details corroborating information included in the research proposal.

In order to be funded, research involving and engaging with Indigenous communities must fulfill the pillars for respectful research engaging with Indigenous peoples.

Eligibility: Calculating months of doctoral studies Reminder

Regardless of disciplines, all prior doctoral-level studies that started in Canada or abroad, are considered in the evaluation of eligibility, and are considered to be continuous, full-time, and uninterrupted unless otherwise confirmed by the institution (including the summer months, unless on official leave). The Vanier-Banting Secretariat will count two months of part-time studies as one month of full-time studies.

Number of months of doctoral studies:

Internal deadlines at institutions Reminder

Nominating institutions should adjust the internal deadline date in ResearchNet as soon as possible for the Vanier CGS competition. Remember to allow enough time for the internal review of nominations. Currently, the internal deadline date is the same as the final submission deadline for the Vanier CGS competition.

Instructions can be found in the Electronic Approval for Research Institutions - Administrator's Guide, available in the support section in ResearchNet, under the Manage Internal Deadline task.

Institutions are also reminded to update the ResearchNet Electronic Approval Tool Users to avoid any further delays to the submission of nominations. If the Access Administrator (AA) of the Vanier CGS program on ResearchNet has changed since the last competition (2022-2023), please send an email to so that we can update our system with the new AA. Please note that it may take up to 5 days to complete the change in the AA.

For more information on user roles and responsibilities, please refer to the updated Electronic Approval Guide.

Subject matter eligibility (research area) Reminder

The onus is on the applicant and their supervisor to carefully consider which selection committee should review the application. For more details, please consult the Application/nomination Instruction – Task 6: Identify area of research.

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