UBC Public Scholars Award


Likely May 2020

Annual Value

Up to $10,000


Permanent Resident

Degree Level


psi applications for the 2019/20 period Are now closed. The 5th cohort of public scholars will be announced in september!!

applications for the 6th cohort of public scholars will start in march 2020.  

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)

Every year funding is available for up to 30-40 new students . Students may be eligible for renewal for a second year (pending new PSI funding).



  • UBC Vancouver doctoral students (PhD, EdD, and DMA) in years 1-5
    • Applicants must have completed no more than 48 months of doctoral study as of 31 August 2019
    • Applicants must be registered in a UBC doctoral program as of 1 September 2019
    • Applicants in their 6th year (48 to 60 months of doctoral study) will be accepted only in the most 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 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

First download and read the instructions carefully. When you're ready:


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 June.

Profiles of Award Holders

Severn Cullis-Suzuki

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)
Learning the Ancestral Language of My Children: Charting a Course to Fluency in Xaayda Kil

Lily Ivanova

Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
Institutionalizing empathy: The Role of Culture in the Representation and Interpretation of Genocide

Saori Ogura

Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
Devising Strategies for Food Security and Responses to Climate Change in Indigenous Villages in Zimbabwe and the Himalayas: Folding Visual Art into an Evidence-Based Project

Sophie Lewis

Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
The interaction of the International Forest Regime with forest governance and forest dependent peoples in Cambodia.

Laura Melissa Guzman

Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
Improving R Instruction in Undergraduate Statistics Courses Using Educational Theories

Stefan Pauer

Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD)
Border Tax Adjustments in Support of Domestic Climate Policies: Explaining the Gap Between Theory and Practice

Jonathan Eaton

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)
Exploring Cultural Heritage as an Opportunity for Recovery in the Aftermath of Disaster

Lois Evans

Doctor of Philosophy in Library, Archival and Information Studies (PhD)
More Zeros, Less Ones: Digital Storage Management, Big Data, and Climate Change

Khia Johnson

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
Investigating how Cantonese-English bilinguals produce and perceive speech sounds

Further Information

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