The Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS) are available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Protected Persons under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) who hold a Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the master’s or doctoral level, or a Vanier CGS at the doctoral level.
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Overview and objectives
The Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS) support high-calibre Canadian graduate students in building global linkages and international networks through the pursuit of exceptional research experiences at research institutions abroad. By accessing international scientific research and training, CGS-MSFSS recipients will contribute to strengthening the potential for collaboration between Canadian and foreign institutions.
Supplements of up to $6,000 are available to active CGS (master’s or doctoral) or eligible Vanier CGS holders to help offset the costs of undertaking research studies outside Canada for a defined period. A total of 250 awards are available each year and are divided among the three agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). This reflects the distribution of CGS and eligible Vanier CGS across the health-related disciplines, the natural sciences and engineering and the social sciences and humanities: 45 for CIHR, 80 for NSERC and 125 for SSHRC. Additional supplements may be awarded should funds become available.
To be eligible to apply for this supplement, you must:
- have accepted or currently hold a CGS (master’s or doctoral) or eligible Vanier CGS
- undertake your proposed trip abroad no earlier than the competition deadline date;
- not hold, or have held, any other CGS-MSFSS during the course of your graduate studies.
To remain eligible during the research study period abroad, you must:
- hold an active CGS at the time your research study period abroad starts
- be registered in a graduate research studies program at a Canadian institution for the duration of your research study period abroad
- take up the award within one year of receiving the notice of award for the CGS-MSFSS
- return to complete your degree at your Canadian institution
Duration and start date of research study period abroad
The minimum length of stay abroad that the CGS-MSFSS will support is two months and the maximum duration of support is six months.
The start of your research study period abroad must be after the competition deadline date, but within one year of receiving the notice of the award. Should you leave Canada before the results are announced, the agencies are not liable for any costs incurred if the application is not funded or deemed ineligible.
Note: The CGS award must be active at the time the research study period abroad begins.
Host institutions and supervisors
Eligible host institutions include foreign universities, inter-university research centres, international or national research institutes or laboratories, or other institutions with a research mandate.
A host supervisor must be a researcher affiliated with and employed full time at an eligible host institution. Research assistants and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to be host supervisors. If the host supervisor’s primary place of employment is outside academia, they must demonstrate that they have supervised graduate student researchers.
The choice of host institution and host supervisor must be justified in your application. The application must also explain how the research study period abroad will further your research goals.
Note: If you are unsure about the eligibility of a particular host supervisor or host institution, contact the respective agency prior to submitting your application.
Award value and eligible expenses
The value of the CGS-MSFSS is up to $6,000, based on the information and budget justification provided in the application. The supplements are non-renewable.
The supplement will be paid to the student through the Canadian institution where the CGS award is held.
The supplement covers costs associated with travel, living and other expenses, including accommodation, meals, tuition, insurance and other necessary costs unrelated to research during the research study period abroad. Costs directly related to the research must be covered by other funding sources.
Completed applications must be submitted to the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the institution where your CGS award is held. For CIHR candidates, if your CGS award is held at an affiliate institution, your CGS-MSFSS application must be submitted to that affiliate institution. Institutions are required to establish an internal selection process to rank applications based on the selection criteria outlined below, and to set internal deadlines to facilitate this process. It is the sole responsibility of the candidate to meet the institutional deadline. After the internal selection process, institutions will forward eligible applications to the appropriate agency (using the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet ) by the agency deadline.
The agencies will review the applications received from institutions for eligibility and completeness, and supplements will be awarded through the institutions on a first-come, first-served basis.
Late and incomplete applications will be rejected.
The internal selection process and review procedures adopted by the institution must evaluate applications using the selection criteria listed below:
- the linkage between the CGS research goals, the activities outlined for the proposed research study period abroad and the candidate’s future research/career goals, considering:
- the significance, feasibility and merit of proposed activities at the foreign institution
- the justification for the choice of host institution(s) and/or host supervisor(s)
- the relevance and anticipated benefits of the proposed activities to the candidate’s current graduate-degree training
The institution must notify candidates of the results of its internal selection process.
Each agency has its own application form , instructions, and consent forms and care should be taken to ensure that the appropriate form is used.
You will be required to provide the following information:
- the name and contact information of your CGS or Vanier CGS research supervisor and of the proposed host supervisor
- the name and location of the proposed host institution
- a maximum two-page description of your intended research activities during your research study period abroad (including objectives, methodology, timelines and expected outcomes) and how they relate to your main graduate research topic, and a description of the potential benefits you will derive from the host institution in relation to your current research objectives
- a budget that provides estimates for costs of travel, living and other expenses during your research study period abroad
- a letter from your CGS or Vanier CGS research supervisor detailing their support for your research study period abroad and confirming that your proposed research aligns with the research from your CGS award (maximum one page)
- a letter from your host supervisor detailing their support for your research study period abroad and the resources they have available—financial (if any), supervision time, equipment, library access, etc.—to support your planned research activities (maximum one page)
- for CIHR, 1) application consent form and 2) Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information ; for NSERC, Terms and Conditions of Applying Form (form-fillable); for SSHRC, Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information Form .
Notification of results
The agencies will notify candidates and institutions of the results within two months following receipt of applications. CGS-MSFSS funds will be paid to the institutions, which will administer the supplements for the students on behalf of the agencies.
The agencies will publish the names (and other basic award information) of supplement recipients on their respective websites. For more information, refer to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act .
Upon receiving a CGS-MSFSS offer from one of the agencies, CGS-MSFSS recipients will be expected to abide by the terms of the Award Holder’s Guide . This guide outlines the responsibilities of the award holder, including the steps required to make changes to the award and the requirement to submit an activity report following the research study period abroad.
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