Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (VCGS)


Value and Duration

  • $50,000 per year for three years.

Timelines and Deadlines

  • June: Competition launches nationally
  • September 30:
      • Deadline for candidates to submit applications in ResearchNet
      • Deadline for Graduate Programs to submit the following to SGPS for each application:
        • University Nomination Letter (PDF)
        • Official transcript file (single PDF)
  • October 2-4: Applications made available in GradNet for University Committee access
  • October 5-31: University Committee convenes to review and select applications according to agency quotas
  • November 1: Deadline for universities to submit nominated applications to the Vanier-Banting Secretariat
  • March 31: Results released by the Secretariat to universities under a public announcement ban

Invitation to Apply

A candidate is invited to apply for the Vanier in one of two ways:

  • An interested student may approach the Graduate Chair for Vanier consideration
  • The Faculty Associate Dean or the Graduate Chair may invite a competitive student, or a competitive applicant for admission, to apply

The following points must be clearly addressed in the University Nomination Letter:

  • Rationale for the choice of candidate
  • Research Training Environment
  • Potential Benefits to Western by Recruiting the Candidate
  • Recruitment and Student Mobility


  • Academic Eligibility: At Western, an eligible applicant must have achieved a minimum of 80% in each of the last two completed years of full-time study, or equivalent to full-time study. Eligibility averages for competitive scholarship are rounded ONLY to the nearest decimal place. The eligibility averages are based on grades on the transcript(s) up to August 31st of the year of application.
  • Important Note: Vanier nominees must apply separately to the agency-specific doctoral scholarships program if they wish to be considered for both. 
  • Eligibility for Nomination
    • Basic Criteria
    • Calculating Months of Doctoral Study


  • How to Apply 
  • Online Application *Note: The Research Institution Deadline will only appear once the applicant selects the 'Canadian University Proposed for Doctoral Study' using the search option in the 'Project Details' subtask on the 'Enter Proposal Information' task. 
  • Referee Assessments (4 assessments are required from 2 academic referees and from 2 leadership referees)
  • Important Reminders when Requesting Assessments:
    • Academic referees complete their assessments online. Leadership referees each complete their assessments in a letter on their official letterhead, ink-signed, converted to PDF and relayed to the candidate who attaches each letter to their application.
    • Candidates must not complete the 'Identify Academic Referees' task before completing the 'Enter Proposal Information' task. See *Note above.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow up with all of their referees in a timely manner to ensure they are aware of the Research Institution Deadline for candidates and the earlier Academic Referee Assessment completion deadline.
    • Academic Referees face an automatic 48-hour earlier deadline than the candidate's deadline.
    • Candidates will not be able to submit their applications until the Academic Referee Assessment tasks are complete and all required documents have been attached.

Administering the Competition - Roles and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Chair to:

  • Monitor each candidate’s progress in the application phase to ensure timely submission of documents.
  • Write the 2-page University Nomination Letter addressed to the members of the Vanier-Banting Secretariat which incorporates all elements required by the agency, and have the Department Chair sign the final copy which must be on letterhead.

It is the responsibility of the Invited Candidate to:

  • Provide official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, except Western, to the Graduate Program Coordinator who will cretae the PDF transcript file for submission to SGPS.
  • Submit a complete Vanier application in ResearchNet by midnight September 30.

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Program Coordinator to:

  • Ensure that all official post-secondary transcripts have been received from the candidate well before the September 30 deadline
  • Create a single PDF file containing a complete record of the candidate’s transcripts as follows:
    • Each transcript set (i.e. a set of all pages belonging to one university) must include a scan of each page, in order, followed by a scan of the legend at the end
    • Combine all transcript sets, starting with the most recent transcript
    • Rotate all pages for optimal viewing (Document>Rotate Pages>Save)
    • Save the PDF following this example: LastnameFirst_NSERCV_txpt.pdf
    • Save the University Nomination Letter (Word) drafted by the Graduate Chair following this example: LastnameFirst_SSHRCV_ltr.doc.
  • For each candidate, send SGPS (pmenzies@uwo.ca) an email with two attachments - the transcript PDF and nomination letter (PDF). Enter the Subject line according to this example: Vanier CIHR -Biochemistry -LastnameFirst

It is the responsibility of the Faculty to:

  • Identify competitive candidates early in the year (5-6 months ahead of the annual September deadline)
  • Coordinate the completion of draft applications for SGPS review in spring/early summer

It is the responsibility of SGPS to:

  • Communicate the Vanier program information and university process instructions to all participating units at Western
  • Verify academic and program eligiblity of potential candidates.
  • Update each applicant’s status in the External Funding Portfolio’s tracking record as appropriate
  • Make applications available in GradNet 
  • Convene the University Vanier Selection Committee
  • Ensure strategic use of the Vanier triennal allocation and annual quotas in the selection of nominations per agency and make recommendations for file corrections
  • Electronically submit the nominated applications to the Secretariat by the November deadline
  • Communicate an update on the university competition results to the graduate community, and run notifications in Student Center.


The agency indicates that the release of funding decisions will take place on March 31st. Nominated applicants are notified individually of their results via ResearchNet. Shortly after, each university receives its own results via the Tri-Agency Secure Site. SGPS updates each nominated candidate’s status in Student Center which prompts individual notifications to be sent to them.

The Vanier-Banting Program, similar to the other Tri-Agency scholarship programs, implements a ban on any form of public announcement until the federal government makes the annual public funding announcement. A press release normally takes place in the late summer/early fall.

Access to Results

Graduate Chairs and Deans

  • Access GradNet using Western personal computer account information
  • Under the Launch Menu, select External Scholarships
  • For Vanier, select the agency-specific competition (CIHRV, NSERCV or SSHRCV), the Aid Year (2018 for results that will be released in April 2017), and the status (Awarded, Not Awarded or Waitlisted)

External Scholarship Coordinators

  • Access Student Center
  • Select Financial Aid > Awards > External Funding > External Assessment
  • Select the criteria to view the desired competition results (i.e. Competition, Aid Year, Cohort)
  • Select “Populate Students”

Holding the Award at Western

Acceptance and Activation

A new Vanier Scholar must:

  • Accept the offer of award from the agency following the instructions provided in the letter of offer, and then activate it for payment by completing the required agency forms.
  • Initiate the payment process at Western by following these steps:
    • Access the Student Center
    • Select ‘Self Service’ from the main menu, then 'Campus Finances'
    • Select ‘My External Scholarships’ and follow the activation steps for the Vanier CGS
    • Choose the start date that matches the date stipulated by the agency in the offer

Method of Payment

SGPS administers the payment of Vanier CGS awards to Western recipients. The annual value of the award is divided into three equal installments and applied to the recipient’s Student Center account at the start of every term (September, January and May).

Terms and Conditions

NEW! The Tri-Agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) have harmonized their post-award policies (where possible) for research training programs and have incorporated these policies into a harmonized Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder's Guide. These policies are effective as of September 1, 2016 and the Guide is available on NSERC's website. The Guide applies to Tri-agency directly-funded training award holders. It contains all the forms that training award holders and the University need to facilitate post-award activities allowed by the Tri-Agencies.

Your responsibilites:

  • Access and review your Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder's Guide and comply with the regulations governing use of the award
  • Complete an annual SGPS Progress Report Form
    • Submit the form by the deadline specified by SGPS in the annual notification email
    • Annual deadlines will vary for each Vanier Scholar depending on the anniversary of the award start date, but will annually fall in either August, December, or April
    • A Progress Report can be submitted no earlier than 60 days prior to the anniversary date
    • Failure to submit the annual Progress Report will result in the suspension of further payments



The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both superior leadership skills and an outstanding record of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health. International and domestic candidates are eligible to be nominated for a Vanier CGS.

The two primary aims of this federal scholarship program are:

  • International Recruitment – in order to build strong brand recognition for the Vanier CGS, comparable to the world’s most valuable, prestigious, and sought-after awards, universities are strongly urged to strengthen their efforts to nominate new foreign candidates

  • Student Mobility – in an effort to support students who choose to broaden their research horizons and seek new challenges, the Vanier CGS program strongly encourages candidates to pursue their studies beyond the university that granted their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees.

NEW! The Tri-Agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) have harmonized their post-award policies (where possible) for research training programs and have incorporated these policies into a harmonized Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder's Guide. These policies are effective as of September 1, 2016 and the Guide is available on NSERC's website. The Guide applies to Tri-agency directly-funded training award holders. It contains all the forms that training award holders and the University need to facilitate post-award activities allowed by the Tri-Agencies. 

Spotlight on a Western Vanier Scholar:

Updated May 30, 2017.