UBC Public Scholars Award


12 May 2023

Annual Value

Up to $10,000


Permanent Resident

Degree Level


applications for Public scholars initiative 2023/24 cohort are now open and will run until friday, may 12th 2023. application documents and links for the 2023-24 cohort are below, in their respective entries (see 'application procedures' for details, and 'further information' for the application files).

see below for details on the general information sessions and registration.

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.

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. 

The general PSI Information Sessions will be held on zoom, on Tuesday March 28th 2023 from 12:00 to 1:00; and Tuesday, April 25th 2023 from 12:00 to 1:00. You can register for the March session now.



  • 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 


Sign up for an information session to connect with students, advisors and faculty from across UBC and gain application advice and insight.