Changes to doctoral funding offer strategic opportunities for recruiting

By Julian Dierkes, Associate Dean, Funding

Many graduate programs are already sifting through doctoral applications, others will begin to do so soon. Two changes to the structure of central doctoral funding programs will give programs more opportunities to be strategic in deploying fellowships to recruit the best students:

  • The merger of the International Doctoral Fellowship (IDF) and Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship into the 4-Year Fellowship (4YF), and
  • The future return of funds to programs when 4YF students succeed in Tri-Agency competitions.

When programs look through their applications, they will now have a slightly expanded pool of 4YFs allocated to them by their Faculty, which they can offer to the strongest candidates immediately, without having to wait for a central adjudication process. Also, they will be able to offer more 4YFs in the future when fellowship holders win Tri-Agency fellowships and those 4YFs are returned to their program’s allocation. For example, if a student is awarded a Tri-Agency doctoral award at the end of their first year, roughly 3/4 of the 4YF (depending on timing of awards, etc.) will be returned to the program’s pool of available 4YF places. As these “partial” 4YFs accumulate to make up a full 4YF, the freed-up 4YF place can then be offered to another student. Thus, depending on applicant pools, programs will be able to maximize use of the 4YF as a recruitment tool for the best domestic students, many of whom will have a good chance at winning Tri-Agency fellowships; but they will also be able to choose to dedicate 4YFs to the more expedient recruitment of international students without a central adjudication process.

These changes give graduate programs more flexibility in making fellowship offers, but they also reinforce the 4YF in its status as one of UBC’s premier fellowships, guaranteeing outstanding doctoral students four years of financial support, allowing them full concentration on their courses and research.