Upcoming Trudeau Scholarship Competition

by Julian Dierkes, Associate Dean, Funding, G+PS

When UBC graduate students are awarded prestigious fellowships we all benefit. Obviously, the students benefit directly, but your programs benefit by highlighting the accomplishments of your students and your ability to attract great students. And UBC benefits by being visible in national and international competitions, which contributes to a virtuous cycle of recruitment and placement of students. One of the most visible Canadian fellowships for PhD students outside of the Tri-Agency realm is the Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship. UBC has done well in these competitions (26 UBC graduate students hold or have held scholarships since 2003), but the program is undergoing some changes. As such, graduate advisors should consider whether any of their PhD students might be eligible on the basis of the most up-to-date description of the program.

All PhD students are eligible to apply, including international students, though eligibility is initially restricted to humanities and social sciences. But note that the Foundation explicitly embraces a broad definition of this restriction. As in so many competitions, interdisciplinarity is explicitly encouraged, so you may think about your students' research in terms of the themes identified by the Foundation, even if your program (or programs) perhaps does not explicitly fit within the social science/humanities classification. For this round of application, the themes are: "Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, People and their Natural Environment”. 

Also of particular note may be the scientific theme the Foundation has adopted for 2020-23, “Technology and Ethics,” highlighting "advances in genetics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence.” As this will be the theme for leadership development, applicants are not expected to demonstrate expertise on these topics, but to show an interest in developing their understanding of this area of research.

One of the aspects that is particular to the Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship is the emphasis on the personal story of the applicant. The evaluation criteria specified can thus be presented as a compelling narrative of motivation for research questions, leadership experience, and future ambitions, rather than as a mere listing of achievements.

If you feel doctoral students in your program would be competitive candidates for the Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship, the application deadline for UBC is December 13. To read about last year's recipients, view our archived news stories