Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements Program

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This foreign study supplements program is available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who hold a Joseph-Armand Bombardier, an Alexander Graham Bell, or a Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the master’s or doctoral level, or a Vanier CGS at the doctoral level.

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Program overview and objectives

The Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS) Program supports 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 will be divided among the three granting 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]) to reflect 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.

Each institution will be allocated a set number of supplements by each granting agency, as appropriate. CIHR may choose not to allocate a predetermined number of supplements to each institution. The Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) will be informed of the number of supplements available to them in each of the three areas of research disciplines. The Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) is required to set up an internal selection process to select which applications (requesting CGS-MSFSS funds) are to be forwarded to the respective granting agencies.

To be eligible to apply for this program, you must:
  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada by the application deadline date;
  • be registered at an eligible Canadian institution at the time of application;
  • be in a discipline area supported by the granting agencies and have accepted or currently hold one of the following CGS:
    • Joseph-Armand Bombardier (SSHRC);
    • Alexander Graham Bell (NSERC);
    • Frederick Banting and Charles Best (CIHR); or
    • Vanier CGS (if eligible);
  • undertake your proposed trip abroad no earlier than the competition deadline date; and
  • 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 full-time 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; and
  • return to complete your degree at your Canadian institution.

What can be the duration of the research study period abroad with your CGS-MSFSS?

The minimum length of stay abroad the CGS-MSFSS Program will support is three months, and the maximum duration of support will be for six months.

Note: The CGS award must be active at the time the research study abroad begins.

When can you travel with your CGS-MSFSS?

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. If you do decide to leave before the results from the competition are announced, the agencies would not be liable for any costs incurred if the application was deemed ineligible.

Where can you travel with your CGS-MSFSS?

You may use your CGS-MSFSS for travel to any eligible foreign university or research institution. The choice of location for your research study period abroad, and how it will further your research goals, must be justified in your application.

Host institutions and supervisors

Eligible host institutions include foreign universities, inter-university research centers, international or national research institutes or laboratories, or other institutions that actively carry out research.

A host supervisor must be a researcher affiliated and employed full-time at an eligible host institution. Research assistants are not eligible as host supervisors. If the host supervisor’s primary place of employment is outside academia, they must demonstrate that they have supervised graduate student researchers.

Note: If you are unsure about the eligibility of a particular host supervisor or host institution, you should contact the respective granting agency prior to submitting your application.

Award value

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 separately from the related CGS or Vanier CGS.

What kind of expenses does the CGS-MSFSS cover?

The supplement covers costs associated with travel, living and other expenses such as accommodation, meals, tuition, insurance and other necessary, non-research related costs during the research study period abroad. Costs directly related to the research must be covered by other funding sources.

Application procedures

Institutions are allocated a predetermined number of CGS-MSFSS supplements on an annual basis, in proportion to the number of CGS and Vanier CGS held at that institution. Allocations are specific to each granting agency. If you are a qualified applicant, you must complete the necessary documentation and submit it to your Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) for consideration.

The common tri-agency application form is available on the websites of the respective granting agencies. Only this form can be used to apply for the CGS-MSFSS.

You will be required to provide the following information:

  • the name and contact information of your current research supervisor and of the host supervisor, and the name and location of the foreign institution where you intend on pursuing your research/study activities;
  • a maximum two-page description of your intended research activities during your research study period abroad (including objectives, methodology, timelines and expected outcomes), an indication as to how this relates to your main graduate research topic, and a description of the potential benefits that you will derive from working at, or attending, 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; and
  • a copy of your most current CGS research proposal (for CGS Master’s and Vanier CGS recipients only).

In addition, both your current research supervisor and the potential host supervisor must submit letters detailing their support of your research study period abroad (maximum one page each). The host supervisor must also indicate that they have the resources available (financial [if any], supervision time, equipment, library access, etc.) to support your planned research activities. If the host supervisor’s primary place of employment is outside academia, they must demonstrate that they have supervised graduate student researchers.

Application deadlines
Granting agency

The two deadlines for the CGS-MSFSS Program are June 10 and October 10.

Applicants should verify if their institution has an earlier internal deadline for applications.

Late and incomplete applications will be rejected.


Your institution’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) has an internal deadline for your application and selects which applications to submit to the granting agencies.

Note: If an institution's allocation for CGS-MSFSS has been reached by the June 10 deadline, there may not be an opportunity for further applications to be accepted at the October 10 deadline from that institution. If, however, a granting agency’s total CGS-MSFSS allocation has not been reached by the October 10 deadline, an additional opportunity for further applications may be added in February, as appropriate.

Review procedures

Each institution is given an allocation of CGS-MSFSS to administer. It is up to each institution to decide how to distribute this allocation. The Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) at each Canadian institution is responsible for coordinating the institution review of CGS-MSFSS applications. Based on the allocation received, the institution will submit a select number of eligible applications to the appropriate granting agency.

The selection process and review procedures adopted by the institution must maintain a focus on excellence. Applications must be evaluated using the criteria listed below.

Selection criteria

Linkage between the current program of research goals, the proposed research/study activities at the host institution and the candidate’s future research/career goals, including consideration of:

  • significance, feasibility and merit of the proposed research study activities at the foreign institution;
  • justification for the choice of host institution and/or host supervisor; and
  • relevance and anticipated benefits of the proposed research study period abroad to the candidate’s current graduate degree training.

It is the responsibility of the institution to notify candidates of the internal results of their competition.

Granting agency

The granting agencies will review the applications received from institutions for eligibility and completeness, and a CGS-MSFSS will be awarded to the eligible applicants through the institutions.

Notification of decision

The granting agencies will notify students of the results within two months following receipt of applications. The CGS-MSFSS will be paid directly to the institutions who will administer the supplements for the students on behalf of the granting agencies.

The granting 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 .


You must receive approval from the respective granting agency before making any changes pertaining to the dates of your research study period abroad, your choice of host supervisor, your choice of host institution or your proposed activities. Refer to the Award Holder’s Guide for more information.

Post-activity deliverables

Within two months of completing your research study period abroad, you and your host supervisor must submit, to the respective granting agency, an activity report of your experience abroad. For more information, refer to the Reporting Requirements in the Award Holder’s Guide.

For more information

Program Design and Delivery Branch
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0W9
Tel.: 613-952-0763


Scholarships and Fellowships Division
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H5
Tel.: 613-943-0703


Research Training Portfolio
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6G4
Tel.: 613-943-7777

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