CIHR Doctoral Research Awards

The CIHR Doctoral Research Awards Program funds applications in any area of health research. Two streams of scholarships are administered through a single application:

  • The Frederick Banting & Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral Awards (CGS-D)program provides special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree in a health-related field in Canada.
  • The Doctoral Foreign Study Awards (DFSA) program provides special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree in a health-related field abroad.

Canada's three federal granting agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have been working together to harmonize the Canada Graduate Scholarships - Doctoral (CGS-D) Program which involves a new common CGS-D webpage, a harmonized timeline, and harmonized evaluation criteria.

CGS-D harmonization will not impact the agency-specific doctoral awards (CIHR – Doctoral Foreign Study Award, NSERC – Postgraduate Scholarship, SSHRC – Doctoral Fellowship) nor their eligibility conditions. 

More information on the CGS-D program including eligibility, application process, and selection process is posted on the new Tri-Agency Canada Graduate Scholarships - Doctoral Program webpage.


  • $35,000 per year for 36 months

Timeline and Deadlines

  • August 1 : Application opens in ResearchNET
  • September 25 (8:00 p.m. EDT) : ResearchNET Application Deadline for Western University
    • This is a hard deadline and applications cannot be returned for corrections/revisions after this date
  • Between October 1 and October 7: Application access provided to Faculites 
  • October 28 : Faculties submit ranked A-lists by agency to SGPS
  • October 30 to November 13 : SGPS selection committees select A-list applications for the three agency quotas 
  • November 23 : Agency Deadline for universities to submit selected applications to CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC
  • April : Anticipated notice of decisions


How to Apply:

Application Support

  • Graduate Writing Resources
  • Responsive Research: Competitive Scholarship Applications in the Medical and Health Sciences The CIHR CGSD and DFSA programs provide special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree in a health-related field in Canada or abroad. All applicants are expected to have an exceptionally high potential for future research achievement and productivity. Listen to Erin Huner, Director (Student Experience) explain how you can best position yourself for success in competition.
  • CIHR Scholarship Information Webinars
    These are interactive one-hour webinars offered by CIHR on how to apply. Attendees must register to join here:
    • English: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 starting at 1:00pm EDT 
    • French: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 starting at 10:00am EDT 
    • English: Thursday, September 10, 2020 starting at 10:00am EDT 
    • French: Thursday, September 10, 2020 starting at 1:00pm EDT 

Institutional Signatures:

Western uses the Electronic Approval Tool in ResearchNet to submit applications to CIHR. Applicants at Western no longer need to provide ink signatures on Page 3 of the Signature Pages section. It is, however, the responsibility of the applicant to obtain any other required ink signatures prior to submitting the application.


Holding the Award at Western

Acceptance and Activation

  • 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 
    • Choose the start date that matches the date stipulated by the agency in the offer

Method of Payment

  • At Western University the annual value of an award is divided into three equal installments and each is pre-paid to the award holder’s Student Center account at the start of every term (September, January and May).

Terms and Conditions

  • 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 were effective September 1, 2016 and the Guide is available on NSERC's website. The Guide applies to Tri-agency research training award such as Vanier CGS, NSERC PGSD/CGSD, SSHRC DF/CGSD, CIHR CGSD and all CGSM. It contains all the forms that training award holders and the University need to facilitate post-award activities allowed by the Tri-Agencies.
  • 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