Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) program helps Canadian institutions attract highly qualified doctoral students from across the country and abroad. The Vanier CGS program considers three equally weighted selection criteria: Academic Excellence, Research Potential, and Leadership.

Successful applicants will be awarded $50,000 per year for three years (non-renewable) to support their PhD studies.

Scholarships are distributed equally between the three federal granting agencies:

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


A student must be invited to apply for the Vanier:

  • An interested student may approach their Graduate Chair to discuss their possible candidacy for the Vanier.
  • The Graduate Chair may approach a competitive student to discuss their possible candidacy for the Vanier.
  • The Associate Dean officially invites selected candidates to complete the online application in July.


  • For full details about eligibility, review the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA on the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships website.

How To Apply

  • For full details about how to apply, review the APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS on the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships website.


Faculties are responsible for indentifying competitive candidates for the Vanier, and mentoring their candiates as they complete and submit their applications: 

  • February-June – Each Faculty sets their own internal deadline to receive application packages (see list of required documents below) from their graduate programs and selects the candidates for their quotas.
    • Associate Dean sets an internal application package submission deadline and sends a call for competitive eligible candidates to their graduate chairs.
    • Faculty and/or departmental mentoring teams guide their candidates throughout the completion of their application packages. See details below of required documents. This includes the 4 references – two complete 2-page leadership reference letters (signed and dated), and two complete 3-part academic assessments (which will have to be entered officially into the ResearchNet application by the academic referees in July for selected candidates.)
    • Associate Dean convenes the Vanier selection committee to select their quota of competitive candidates they will invite to complete the online application in ResearchNet.
    • By June 30, Associate Dean notifies each candidate of the committee decision regarding their application package and invites each selected candidate to complete the online application during the month of July.
  • By June 30 – Vanier-Banting Secretariat opens application portal in ResearchNet and competition information is updated on the agency website. Associate Deans must:
    • Invite selected candidates to complete their online applications.
    • Submit list of selected candidates to SGPS (, with cc to Graduate and Department Chairs of candidates.
  • July – Selected candidates file their official application online in ResearchNet. Referee deadlines are the same as the application deadline of August 1.
  • August 1Application Submission Deadline in ResearchNet (hard deadline)
    • If the annual August 1st deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline moves to the next business day.
  • August-September – University Selection Committee convenes to review submitted applications and to select the applications that meet the competitive criteria and expectations of the Vanier-Banting Secretariat for the national competition.
  • September-October – Nomination letters are officially requested by SGPS of Department Chairs of selected candidates. Official transcript files are compiled in SGPS and uploaded to selected applications. Feedback from the university committee is provided to selected candidates to polish their applications.
  • November 1 – Selected applications are submitted to the Vanier-Banting Secretariat

Please note: A Vanier nomination does not automatically provide entry into the regular CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC doctoral scholarship competitions.  A Vanier candidate must apply separately to the same agency's doctoral scholarship competition, if eligible to do so.

Application Package

For the Faculty selection, an application package (single PDF) submitted by a graduate program to their Faculty must include, in the following order: (see Application Instructions for guidelines and format requirements)

  • Cover page, that lists: (this is not required in the online application)
    • Candidate's name
    • Current degree and program, and proposed degree and program
    • Name of supervisor(s)
    • Research Agency Affiliation - CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC
  • Lay Title of research project 
  • Lay Abstract of research proposal (350-400 words)
  • Research Project Proposal (maximum 2 pages)
  • Project References (normally 1 page, up to 5 for SSHRC projects)
  • Research Contributions (maximum 1 page)
  • 2 Academic Referee Assessments, each completed in 3 sections – academic excellence (0.5 page), research potential (0.5 page), and leadership experience and potential (1 page)
  • Up-to-date official transcripts of all university studies (not required in the online application at this stage)
  • Special Circumstances (maximum 1 page, optional)
  • Personal Leadership Statement (maximum 2 pages)
  • 2 Leadership Reference Letters (maximum 2 pages each)
  • Canadian Common CV (completed from the CCCV site) 


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 for the Vanier CGS
    • 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.  The Guide applies to Tri-Agency research training awards 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


The agency indicates that the release of funding decisions will take place anytime in April. 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 Canada Graduate Scholarships 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 (2025 for results that will be released in April 2024), 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”