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Graduate Studies

CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral

 CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Awards provide special recognition and support to students pursuing a doctoral degree in a health-related field in Canada.

Key Dates

  • Monday, October 2, 2023, 11:59 p.m. – McMaster internal ResearchNet deadline
  • Early October 2023 – Quotas given to departments by Associate Dean
  • Thursday, November 2, 2023 at 12:00 noon – Recommended Candidates due to SGS from departments or Associate Deans.
  • No later than Tuesday, November 21, 2023 8:00 p.m. – McMaster will submit the selected applications to CIHR and inform the applicants of the internal results.

Value and duration

  • $35,000 per year for 36 months

CIHR’s Assigned Quota: 47

CIHR provided national quotas to Universities for the number of Recommended Applicants that can be submitted to the national CIHR competition.

Note: All applicants registered in a degree program at a Canadian university during the 2023 calendar year (January 1, 2023 to December 31,2023 ) must apply through that University even if they intend to pursue their studies at another institution. Students who were registered at McMaster during the above mentioned dates MUST apply through McMaster’s Internal CIHR Doctoral competition. For students not enrolled at McMaster in 2023, they can use CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC’s simplified flowchart to clarify where they should submit their application.

NOTE: Failure to submit an application through the correct channel will result in an application being rejected.


To be eligible to apply, you must

  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a Protected Person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), as of the application deadline
  • have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in your doctoral program or the PhD portion of your joint professional undergraduate/PhD program (such as MD/PhD, JD/PhD, DVM/PhD) by December 31 of the calendar year of application if previously enrolled in a graduate program
  • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in your doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled directly from a bachelor’s to a PhD program (without having completed or enrolled in another graduate program)
    • direct-entry applicants must be enrolled in their doctoral program at the time of application
  • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in the PhD portion of your joint professional undergraduate/PhD program (such as MD/PhD, JD/PhD, DVM/PhD) by December 31 of the calendar year of application if you have not previously enrolled in another graduate program
    • if you have not previously completed or enrolled in another graduate program, you must be enrolled in your joint MD/PhD program at the time of application
  • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in your joint program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled in a joint graduate program (such as, MA/PhD, MSc/PhD, MBA/PhD)
    • if you fall into this category, you have access to the 36-month window whether or not you were previously enrolled in a master’s program

Number of months

Eligibility for CGS D is based on the number of months of full-time study, including summer months, toward the degree for which you are requesting funding by December 31, 2023. Two terms of part-time study count as one term of full-time study.

Note: The agencies count all studies toward the doctoral degree for which funding is requested, whether or not they were completed at the degree-granting institution.

Fast-track and joint programs

Fast-track: If you were registered in a master’s program and subsequently transferred to a doctoral program (fast-track), the months of study completed are calculated starting from the date on which you transferred into the doctoral program.

Joint programs: If you are registered in a joint program and a master’s degree is obtained as part of the program (for example, MA/PhD, MSc/PhD), the months of study are calculated starting from the date on which you are officially registered in the joint program (including the master’s portion of the program).

If you are registered in a joint professional undergraduate/PhD program (such as MD/PhD, JD/PhD, DVM/PhD), only the months of study in the PhD portion will be counted.

Other restrictions

• You can submit a maximum of one scholarship or fellowship application per academic year to either NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC. Should more than one application be submitted, the eligible application submitted first chronologically will be retained. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program and applications to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program do not count toward this limit (other exceptions may apply to CIHR internships)
• You cannot have already received a doctoral-level scholarship from NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC (does not apply to CIHR Fellowships)
• You cannot hold a tenure or tenure-track appointment concurrently with your CGS D award

Program of study

An eligible doctoral program must include a significant research component that leads to the completion of a thesis, major research project, dissertation, scholarly publication, performance, recital and/or exhibit that is merit/expert-reviewed at the institutional level as a requirement for completion of the program.

Joint programs with a professional degree (e.g., MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD) as well as clinically oriented programs of study, including clinical psychology, are eligible if they have a significant autonomous research component as described above.

Black student researchers

The Government of Canada has deployed additional funds to increase direct support for Black student researchers. CGS D applicants who self-identify as Black and provide consent to be considered for funds targeted towards specific groups may be selected to receive this funding. Each agency has a limited number of additional CGS D awards reserved for this initiative.

For more information, consult the Frequently asked questions about the new Black scholars funding.

Before beginning

Applicants and their supervisor(s) must make sure they have the following:
• a ResearchNet account
• a CIHR PIN in ResearchNet
• a Common CV account (applicant only)

General application process

This document provides general instructions but does not necessarily represent an exhaustive list of all information required to complete an application.
• Applications must be prepared, finalized and submitted by applicants using ResearchNet.
• Any information that is not required or exceeds the page/character limits will be removed from the application prior to peer review.
• Applicants must preview all components of their application to ensure its completeness.
• Applicants who wish to self-identify as an Indigenous applicant to their Canadian institution with a quota may do so by completing the Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Awards (CGS D): Voluntary Self-Identification Form for Indigenous Applicants [ PDF (253 KB) ] and uploading it to their application. See details on page 6.
• CIHR cannot legally accept an application until the “Consent and Submit” task is completed on ResearchNet.
• Applicants are not required to indicate their name, the project title, the section title (e.g., Research Project Summary) and the page number for each application section.
• For the submission of attachments, candidates must use either Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman font size of 12 point, black type (other font may be used, but must be of similar size appearance of those indicated). Maximum of six lines per inch, margin of 2 cm (3/4 inch) – minimum – around the page. Do not use condensed/narrow font sizes or type density. Use a minimum of single line spacing. Do not use narrow line spacing. Smaller text in tables, charts, figures, 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 application in a competition.

Institution Paid

Important: The institution paid field determines which organization will receive your application (Canadian institution with a quota OR CIHR).
• To submit an application to our competition, select McMaster University from the “Institution Paid” drop down menu.

Sponsor Assessments

Applicants should refer their selected sponsors to the Information for Sponsors web page for useful tips.

Note: Applicants can manage the deadline by which sponsors must submit their assessments.

By default, the Sponsor Required Deadline in ResearchNet is set for two days before the application deadline. However, applicants can adjust this to any date prior to the application deadline.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to follow up with sponsors to ensure the assessments are submitted prior to the deadline date and therefore ensure the application completeness. Only after all sponsors have submitted their assessments will this task be marked as complete in the ResearchNet Application Task List. Applicants do not have access to the content of the assessment submitted by sponsors. However, applicants may follow the status of the assessments’ submission directly under this section and are encouraged to follow up with the sponsors if the task is not completed shortly before the deadline.

Clarification of Signature Pages

  • Only supervisor(s) signatures are required. Printed names should always accompany signatures.
    • Ensure your supervisor is also listed as the primary advisor under the participant list.
  • No institutional signatures are required on the pages at the time of application.
  • Scan and upload the signed signature pages, including the routing slip, as one PDF (unprotected and not exceeding 30 MB), in the Print/Upload Signature Pages task in ResearchNet prior to submitting the application.

McMaster internal application deadline: Monday, October 2, 2023, 11:59 p.m.

Applications are prepared and submitted by students in ResearchNet by the internal deadline set by McMaster. You will not be able to submit your application to ResearchNet until all the required tasks are completed, including the letters from your sponsors.

Tasks required for completing a Doctoral Research Award application:

A. Complete the Common CV
B. Complete the Doctoral Research Award ResearchNet application
1. Identify Participants
2. Identify Sponsors
3. Enter Proposal Information
4. Attach Other Application Materials *
5. Apply to Priority Announcements / Funding Pools (Optional)
6. Print/Upload Signature Pages
7. Preview
8. Consent and Submit

* Other Application Materials

Official Transcripts

Applicants are required to provide the following documents, which must be uploaded as a single PDF document (unprotected) not to exceed 30 MB under “Transcripts” in the “Attach Other Application Materials” task:
1. Complete and print the Doctoral Studies Timelines form available from the CIHR website under Index of Funding Related Forms.
2. Up-to-date official transcripts of the applicant’s complete academic record (this includes all undergraduate and graduate studies, completed or ongoing). Instructions below must also be followed:

  • One copy of the legend (reverse of each transcript) must be included;
  • Transcript text must be horizontal. Original copies of any uploaded transcripts must be retained since they may be requested by CIHR for verification purposes at any point in the process.

Note 1: Transcripts printed from the applicant’s personal institution account are not accepted.
Note 2: Up-to-date official transcripts are defined as transcripts issued by the Registrar’s Office and dated or issued in the fall session of the year of the application (if currently registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered). Opening the envelope to scan the transcript will not render it unofficial for CIHR’s purposes.
Note 3: Certified true copies of official transcripts from the institution are accepted. A certified true copy is defined as a copy of the original document (or of the original translated document if official transcript is not in either English or French).
Note 4: Applicants who are or were registered at an institution that does not provide transcripts must submit, in lieu of a transcript, a letter bearing the official institution seal/stamp or a letter signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies confirming the applicant’s program of study, the applicant’s registration status, the date of initial registration, the degree obtained or sought and the fact that the institution does not provide transcripts.

Indigenous Applicants

Applicants who would like to self-identify as Indigenous to be considered beyond McMaster’s quota must complete the Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Awards (CGS D): Voluntary Self-Identification Form for Indigenous Applicants [ PDF (253 KB) ]. Once completed, the form must then be uploaded as a single PDF document (unprotected) not to exceed 300 MB under “Other” in the “Attach Other Application Materials” task, by McMaster’s internal deadline of October 2, 2023.

Special Circumstances (1 page maximum-optional)

Applicants are encouraged to explain any personal circumstances (including when gender, race, diversity, ability, sexuality, health disparities, educational access, etc.) have played a role in shaping your path in order to allow for a fair assessment of their research productivity. All information about interruptions to your academic career and choice of nominating institution should be included which may include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, childrearing, illness, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, trauma and loss, pandemic impact or health-related family responsibilities) or the Research Proposal (which may include additional training taken outside of a degree-granting program, relevant work experience, co-ops and internships, etc.).
• 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, applicants are not required to justify circumstances when noting considerations related to personal identity considerations. Should an applicant choose to include this information, it will be reviewed by selection committee members.
• Part-time studies must be outlined in this section. If you have been enrolled part-time during your PhD studies, specify which semesters. The information must be reflected in the transcripts.
• If you are registered in a joint program (e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD), use the transcripts section of your application to provide a timeline of your undergraduate/graduate versus doctoral program studies, broken down by semester. 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.

Confirmation of Scientific Area Form (required)

Applicants must provide the Confirmation of Scientific Area Form as part of their application. Applicants must retrieve and print this form from the CIHR website under Index of Funding Related Forms. Once completed, the form must then be uploaded as a single PDF document (unprotected) not to exceed 30 MB under “Other” in the “Attach Other Application Materials” task. Detailed instructions on how to select the most appropriate scientific area are indicated on the form.

Helpful links

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program (CGS D)
CIHR Doctoral Research Awards – Application instructions

CIHR Contact Information

Applicants should consult the CIHR Doctoral Research Awards – Frequently Asked Questions. For information not addressed therein, email:
For technical help, you can contact CIHR Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

SGS Contact Information

Selection criteria

Expandable List

Indicators of research ability and potential:

  • Quality of research proposal
    • specific, focused and feasible research question(s) and objective(s)
    • clear description of the proposed methodology
    • significance and expected contributions to research
  • Relevant training, such as academic training, lived experience and traditional teachings
  • Research experience and achievements relative to the applicant’s stage of study, lived experience and knowledge systems
  • Quality of contributions and extent to which they advance the field of research. Contributions may include: publications, patents, reports, posters, abstracts, monographs, presentations, creative outputs, knowledge translation outputs, community products, etc.
  • Demonstration of sound judgment and ability to think critically
  • Demonstration of responsible and ethical research conduct, including honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to safety and to the dissemination of research results and adherence to the use of professional standards
  • Enthusiasm for research, originality, initiative, autonomy, relevant community involvement and outreach
  • Ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats

Indicators of relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia:

  • Scholarships, awards and distinctions (amount, duration and prestige)
  • Academic record:
    • Transcripts
    • Duration of previous studies
    • Program requirements and courses pursued
    • Course load
    • Relative standing in program (if available)
  • Professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as:
    • teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching
    • managing projects
    • participating in science and/or research promotion
    • participating in community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement
    • chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings
    • participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs