UBC Public Scholars Award


Likely in March 2024

Annual Value

Up to $10,000


Permanent Resident

Degree Level


applications for Public scholars initiative 2023/24 cohort are now closed. Thank you for your interest in the psi.

This award is part of the UBC Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) which intends to build connections, community, and capacity for doctoral students who are interested in explicitly linking their doctoral work to an arena of public benefit and integrating broader and more career-relevant forms of scholarship into their doctoral education process.

Up to $10,000 twice, for a total of $20,000 per student is available to support innovative/collaborative scholarship which the student would otherwise be unable to pursue. Funding can be used for:

  • A research allowance (including allowance for professional development or travel relevant to the scholarly work)
  • Student stipend, if the student’s current funding source would not allow the alternative project(s)

Each year funding is available for up to approximately 30 new students from all faculties at UBC and UBCO. Scholars selected for the cohort will be eligible for a renewal funding a second year. The 2023-24 applications also features the special 'Health Equity Stream' created in partnership with UBC Health. The Health Equity Stream is a dedicated funding source to further increase the number of PSI scholars from all faculties and departments whose work address health issues and seek to impact health equity within local, national, and global health systems. There is a dedicated Health Stream FAQ section below, under the 'Further Information' heading.

Scholars intending to apply for the Health Equity Stream will be able to do so on the qualtrics page when they are submitting the application documents (see below). The applications are otherwise identical.



  • UBC Vancouver doctoral students (PhD, EdD, DMA, including part time PhD students) in years 1-5 and; UBC Okanagan doctoral students in years 1-5
    • Applicants must have completed no more than 48 months of doctoral study as of 31 August 2023
    • Applicants must be registered in a UBC doctoral program as of 1 September 2023
    • Applicants in their 6th year (48 to 60 months of doctoral study) will be accepted only in exceptional circumstances

Requirements for all funded students:

  • Submission of a report at the end of their first (and if applicable, second) year of funding
  • Presentation of their work at a Network event PhDs Go Public

All students, faculty, and collaborators will be asked to complete a questionnaire at the end of their funding/involvement. Student dissertations and student completion and career outcomes will also be reviewed as part of the assessment of this pilot initiative.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Student’s past accomplishments and future promise. Breadth of interest and accomplishment will be important, as well as an indication of the student’s fit with the proposed project.
  • Project’s relationship to PSI goals, which is to encourage and enable a broadened conception of doctoral education, such that:
    • Students' work extends beyond the academia and beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries; 
    • Students gain experience in the environments and types of scholarship they may productively engage in post-graduation;
    • Students’ work is evaluated as part of the degree, ensuring it is of the highest quality, and signaling that the university considers these diverse forms of scholarship worthy of recognition;
    • Students gain enhanced career opportunities and they foster positive public perception of the value of the doctorate;
    • Students can contribute to the public good in diverse ways through rigorous scholarship;
  • Quality of proposed scholarship. The following factors will be taken into account:
    • The work requires a high level of expertise in a discipline(s) and/or methodology;
    • The goals are clearly defined, realistic, and identify important questions;
    • Adequate preparation for and understanding of the subject is indicated;
    • Appropriate methods are proposed to achieve the goals;
    • Plans to document and disseminate the work are appropriate and effective;
    • The work has significance and is likely to contribute positively to the public good;
  • Need for alternative funding sources
  • Consideration will also be given to breadth of the initiative across disciplines

Application Procedures

(1) Download these 2 files from the link below (under the 'Further Information' section): PSI Fellowship Application 2023-2024; and PSI Fellowship Application Instructions 2023-2024

(2) Once the form is downloaded you can edit and save the form by renaming it. Name your application: LastName_FirstName_PSI

(3) Following the guidelines, complete the Application form. Please note that each section ("Outline of Proposed Scholarly Work" and "Relationship of Proposal to PSI Goals") is individually capped at 4000 characters and 1 page.

(4) Upload the completed PSI Fellowship Application 2023-2024 form and your Canadian Common CV as one pdf file (see instructions for details) to this page. The page is a Qualtrics form that will require 5 minutes to complete once all your documents are ready to be uploaded. Please read the Overview section on that page carefully before proceeding to ensure your application is submitted correctly.

(5) For the mandatory supervisor letter of support and the optional letter(s) of support from collaborators, your letter writers should go to this page. You can open the page, and share the link with them. The page is a Qualtrics form that will require 2 minutes to complete once the letter is ready to be uploaded.

(6) This will complete your application. 

Adjudication Procedures

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will convene a multi-disciplinary adjudication committee to review eligible applications and select funding recipients. Funding decisions will be announced in the second half of July.

Previous Award Winners

For profiles of all existing and graduated scholars, please check the profiles section of the Public Scholars Initiative webpage.  

Meet Award Holders

Further Information

For questions about the Public Scholars Initiative and application procedures, contact Public Scholarship Coordinator Serbulent Turan: serbulent.turan(at)ubc.ca 

PSI Health Equity Stream FAQs


What is the Health Equity Stream of the Public Scholars Initiative?

The Health Equity Stream is an additional funding stream within the UBC Public Scholars Initiative created in partnership with UBC Health. The Health Equity Stream aims to increase the number of doctoral students working on innovative interdisciplinary research projects that address health equity and expand the conversation around what health equity represents. For more information, including examples of proposed programming, please refer to the Public Scholars Initiative page on the UBC Health website. You can also watch a recording of the Health Equity Stream Information Session held on February 16th, 2023.

How many PSI Scholars will be accepted into the Health Equity Stream?

The program will accept 6 to 8 scholars into the Health Equity Stream.

Should I apply to the Health Equity Stream or the General Stream?

If your proposed project will have an impact on health equity on a local, national, or international scale, we encourage you to apply to the Health Equity Stream. This funding stream focuses on health equity in the broadest sense and is not limited to health care equity. If you are unsure about the fit of your topic, please refer to the Public Scholars Initiative page and the Definition of Health on the UBC Health website.

If I apply to the PSI Health Equity Stream and am not accepted, will I be considered for the General Stream?

Yes. If you apply to and are not accepted to the PSI Health Equity Stream, your application will still be considered for the general competition. You do not need to reapply.

How do the PSI application and adjudication process differ for the Health Equity Stream?

The application and adjudication process for the Health Equity Stream is similar to the general PSI competition. In the application, individuals must indicate their intent to apply for the Health Equity Stream on the Qualtrics form. Before adjudication, UBC Health will evaluate Health Equity Stream applications for eligibility. All applications will be adjudicated by a single committee regardless of application stream. Application procedures are outlined here.

Can I apply for the Health Equity Stream if I already hold research funding?

Yes, applicants who already hold funding from other agencies or funders are eligible to apply for and receive funding from the PSI Health Equity Stream.

Whom can I contact for more information on the Health Equity Steam?

Please contact Shelly Keidar, Project Coordinator, UBC Health, at shelly.keidar@ubc.ca if you have specific questions about the Health Equity Stream that are not addressed in these FAQs.




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