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Graduate Studies


What is a Spices project?

  • Something that does not already exist.
  • An original idea – fills a need.
  • Includes team members who identify as part of the community it engages.
  • Involves great people trying to make a difference.
  • Driven by grad students and/or postdocs.
  • Allowed to fail.
  • Inspired by clear vision and leadership.
  • A passion project for those involved.

A Spices project is not

  • income for individual graduate students;
  • initiated by a department, staff, faculty, or professor;
  • CV- or resume-motivated (resume items will build themselves as a result of vision);
  • a way to fund an already existing group, club, seminar, conference, speaker’s series, or other activity that is already happening or has happened before;
  • academic research.


  1. Each Spices project will have up to 12 months to deliver one or a series of activities; project expenses to be reimbursed must be submitted before April 30, 2021.
  2. The maximum sponsorship awarded to any one project is $3,500.
  3. Awardees are required submit a report by May 31, 2020.
  4. All funds are fully accountable. Awardees are required to submit original receipts accounting for the full sum of the award within 30 days of the project’s completion, or April 30 (whichever comes first).
  5. A team member in the role of treasurer must remain enrolled as a student (or on staff if a postdoc) for the entire duration of the project.
  6. Students should have the support of their academic supervisor before undertaking a Spices-funded project.

Criteria: Is your proposal spicy?

Spices can approve proposals that best meet a combination of the following elements:

  • is unique and/or novel in nature (for example, proposals that request funds for graduate student
  • conferences will not be accepted);
  • creates a new initiative to enhance the experience of a given community/communities;
  • includes collaboration, particularly across academic disciplines, or with off-campus partners beyond the university’s traditional boundaries;
  • considers its governance model and models of community engagement;
  • considers equity and accessibility measures in its approach;
  • advances the mission and vision of McMaster University.


Funding will not be provided for:

  • travel or academic conference costs;
  • individual graduate student tuition;
  • research-related costs;
  • cost-of-living expenses; or
  • other forms of personal income.

Download the Spices Guidebook 2020-21.