Application/nomination instructions

Candidates must be nominated by the institution at which they want to study. Candidates cannot apply directly to the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program.

Candidates should verify institutional internal deadlines with the administrator at the nominating institution. Candidates should read the Selection committee guide prior to commencing their application. This guide lists the three evaluation criteria and has useful information on how the criteria are evaluated. To be considered eligible for funding, candidates must attain an average score of at least 3.1 in each of the three criteria.

Competition process

  1. Applications are initiated in one of two ways. Either:
    1. the student informs the faculty of graduate studies at the selected institution of their intent to apply to the Vanier CGS program; or
    2. the institution initiates the nomination process by contacting the desired candidate.
  2. Applications are prepared by the student and submitted to the nominating institution by their internal deadline (set in ResearchNet by the nominating institution) using the ResearchNet application system.
  3. The nominating institution performs the internal candidate selection process.
  4. The nominating institution forwards recommended nominations to the Vanier-Banting Secretariat (the Secretariat) by November 4, 2015 (20:00. Eastern Time).
  5. The Secretariat coordinates the review process.
  6. The Secretariat presents the recommendations to the Tri-Agency Programs (TAPs) steering committee.
  7. The TAPs steering committee endorses and approves final decisions for the Vanier CGS program.
  8. Successful candidates are notified of the competition results in April 2016.

Important notes:

Application/nomination instructions

Before beginning an application please read the application instructions carefully. The Vanier CGS agency-specific selection committees are multidisciplinary and applications should be written with a non-specialist research audience in mind.

Individual application documents can be submitted in either English or French.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete, including referee assessments.

ResearchNet application process: general information

  1. In ResearchNet, complete all tasks listed for the Vanier CGS application.
  2. Preview the Full Application Package version of your application in ResearchNet, using the "Preview Application Materials" task, to ensure that your application is complete. Note: What you see previewed is exactly how your application will look when submitted electronically to the Canadian nominating institution and to the Vanier CGS program.
  3. Print the entire application.
  4. Save the PDF version of the entire, completed application.
  5. Submit the completed electronic application through ResearchNet by completing the "Consent and Submit Application" task. Note: The nominating institution cannot accept your application until you complete this task.
  6. For technical help, call 1-888-603-4178 or 613-943-7777 or email from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
  7. For program-related help, please contact


There are two deadlines pertaining to the 2015-2016 competition:

  1. Institution internal deadline: Following the student's identification in ResearchNet of the institution proposed for doctoral study, an additional deadline date and time will appear at the top of each page. This is the deadline by which your application must be submitted to the institution through ResearchNet. This deadline is set and controlled by each institution. You will not be able to submit your application past this precise date and time.
  2. Program deadline: Institutions must forward their selected nominations to the Vanier CGS program by November 4, 2015 (20:00 Eastern Time).

Completing a Vanier CGS application

Tips: The following tips may help you in completing your application on ResearchNet. They are tips only; it is the responsibility of the student to submit a complete application:

1. Confirm eligibility

Confirm that you meet the Vanier CGS program's eligibility criteria. Applications that do not meet all the eligibility criteria will not be accepted.

2. Contact your desired nominating institution

Inform the faculty of graduate studies at the selected institution of your intent to apply to the Vanier CGS program.

Applicants are responsible for supplying their referees with the documents necessary for them to write their respective letters. ResearchNet does not grant the referees access to view the application or its attachments.

3. Register for Canadian Common CV (CCV) and ResearchNet accounts

Make sure you have the following or click the links to register:

You should only have one CCV and one ResearchNet account. If you have already accessed ResearchNet and/or CCV, do not register for new accounts.

You need a CCV account to create a validated CCV (Vanier-Banting Academic template). See Task 4: Create CCV (Vanier-Banting Academic template) and link to ResearchNet application.

You are responsible for preparing and submitting your application, including compiling and uploading the documents required from others as indicated below.

4. Create a CCV (Vanier-Banting Academic template) and link to ResearchNet application

You must create a Vanier-Banting Academic CV on the CCV website and link it to your ResearchNet application.

Free-form CVs are not accepted. A CCV is required regardless of the citizenship of the applicant.

The CCV website stores data in a secure database that you can access at any time, and from any computer. You may save your CCV (Vanier-Banting Academic template) in progress and return to complete it at your convenience. The data you enter can be reused in future applications which use the CCV.

The CCV website will validate your CV (Vanier-Banting Academic template) and provide you with a confirmation number. You must input the confirmation number in ResearchNet in order to link your CV to your Vanier CGS application.

To create a CCV (Vanier-Banting Academic template) and to link it to your Vanier CGS application on ResearchNet:

5. Start a ResearchNet application

After launching an application in ResearchNet, you will be presented with the ResearchNet login screen. If you login using your ResearchNet account, you will arrive at the main Vanier CGS application menu. This menu lists a series of tasks that must be completed before you are able to submit your application. Information on how to complete these tasks is provided in the sections below.

You should only have one Vanier CGS application. If you have already started an application, login to your ResearchNet account. You will find your Vanier CGS application in the Current Activities tab under the applications heading. Clicking on it will bring you to the main Vanier CGS application tasks list.

6. Identify area of research

This task serves to determine which selection committee your nomination will be assigned. Nominations related to health research will be channeled to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), those related to natural sciences and/or engineering to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and those related to social sciences and/or humanities will go to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). For more information, please refer to Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency. When applying to the SSHRC area of research, please also consider the information found on SSHRC’s website.

If you still aren't sure of the most appropriate research area, please send an email to with a one-page summary of the proposed research for assistance. This process can take up to 5 business days. The Secretariat reserves the right to make the final assignment of nominations based on the mandate of the selection committee assigned to review nominations in that area.

If your research does not fall under any of the listed categories, please choose the closest research area. Ensure to add the area to the keywords section of the application/nomination form.

7. Identify participants

In this task, you will enter information about yourself and your nominating institution.

You must also input the confirmation number of the CV you created in the CCV system in order to link your CV to your Vanier CGS application.

The "Edit" action is a link to the task for attaching supporting documents.


Under this task, you will attach the following documents:

Content of documents: For questions related to the content of the following attachments, applicants are encouraged to consult with their faculty or department at the nominating Canadian institution.

Format of documents: Applicants must prepare their Vanier CGS application and supporting materials using specific formatting standards. Refer to "Presentation standards for documents" for the required format.

Attachment: Description of leadership and communication skills (maximum 1 page)

Write a self-assessment detailing the impacts of your academic and non-academic activities/accomplishments, your leadership activities and why you judge yourself to be deserving of a Vanier CGS. Your communication skills are reflected by the clarity of your application, which speaks to your leadership potential and demonstrated ability. For those who have volunteer/professional experience outside of their domain of study, remember to provide context for the selection committee that demonstrates how your contribution went beyond the expectations of your work/volunteer position.

Attachment: Leadership reference letter (maximum 2 pages)

The leadership reference letter should be written by someone who knows you in a non-academic capacity and should describe how you have demonstrated and will potentially continue to demonstrate leadership. Faculty members may provide this letter, as long as they know you in a non-academic capacity and are addressing your leadership in a non-academic environment. It is recommended that applicants request the Leadership reference letter from an author that has not provided an assessment of the nomination; however applications that contain letters from two sources will not be declared ineligible.

Note: Candidates are responsible for procuring and uploading this letter in PDF format in ResearchNet. It cannot be submitted by the letter-writer via ResearchNet.

Attachment: Research contributions (maximum 1 page)

From the research contributions listed in your CCV (Vanier-Banting Academic template), choose up to five that you judge to be the most significant and relevant to your research proposal. For each of these contributions:

This nomination element speaks directly to the following selection criterion: Research potential and leadership (potential and demonstrated ability)

Special circumstances (maximum 1 page)

Identify any administrative responsibilities, family or health reasons or any other factors that might have delayed or interrupted any of the following: academia and/or career advancement, scientific research, other research, dissemination of results, training, etc. Common examples of an interruption/delay might be a bereavement period following the death of an immediate family member, maternity/parental leave or relocation of your research environment. Include the start and end dates; the impact areas; and the reason(s) for or a brief explanation of, the absence.

In an effort to support students in broadening their research horizons and seeking new challenges, the Vanier CGS program strongly encourages candidates to pursue their studies beyond the institution that granted their undergraduate and/or previous graduate degrees. Applicants who chose a nominating institution which is the same as the institution where they completed their previous degree(s) must provide a strong justification for this exceptional circumstance which will be assessed as part of the selection committee review process. The more similar the proposed research environment is to that of the previous degree environment, the stronger the required justification.

If you are registered in a combined undergraduate and doctoral program (e.g., MD/PhD) please provide a calculation of all months of doctoral studies, regardless of the research discipline for eligibility purposes. You must specify the part-time periods (if applicable). This calculation must be consistent with the transcripts provided. For purposes of this calculation, the MD portion will not count towards the number of months at the doctoral level.

The Secretariat and the selection committees will take these special circumstances into consideration when evaluating your nomination. If your potential or current PhD supervisor is unable to provide you with a reference letter, you may use this section to provide an explanation for this.

8. Identify referees

Before you complete this task, ensure that you have identified your nominating institution (Task 10) in order to display the correct deadline date.

This task seeks to collect information on the two referees whose assessments will accompany your application. Note that when identifying referees, the language specified will determine the language in which they will receive their assessment form; the assessments must be completed in either English or French.

Applicants should contact their selected referees to seek their agreement to provide an assessment well in advance of the application deadline date. Applicants are required to enter the name and contact information for each referee in ResearchNet. ResearchNet will then send email requests to the referees providing a secure link to each referee to complete their assessment online. You are responsible for supplying your nominating institution and referees with the documents necessary for them to write their respective letter. ResearchNet does not grant the referees access to view the application.

You will not be able to submit your application until this task is completed. It is important to note that it is the applicant's sole responsibility to follow up with referees to ensure the assessments are submitted prior to the internal institution deadline date and thus ensure the application's completeness. If a referee informs you that a report cannot be submitted before your deadline, you may delete that referee from your list and add a new referee to your list.

Once an assessment is submitted, it will automatically attach to your application. Applicants do not have access to the content of the assessment submitted by referees. However, you may follow the status of the assessment under this task and are encouraged to follow up with your referees if the task is not completed shortly before the Institution internal deadline.

Applicants are encouraged to consider the full range of potential referees, including arm's length experts who could best provide relevant evidence, perspectives and insight to support the review of the applicant's application in light of the selection criteria. It is recommended that applicants request the Leadership reference letter and these assessments from three different authors; however applications that contain letters from two sources will not be declared ineligible.

The following instructions are provided to the referees:


The referees' letters are governed by the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.

Note: The Leadership reference letter is attached to the nomination package by the applicant, and is not completed as part of this Task. See Task 7 for instructions about the Leadership reference letter.

9. Enter degree information

This task collects information on any degrees, qualifications, certificates and/or licenses in progress, as well as on the degree for which support is being requested. Include all previous institution studies with their relevant dates (including incomplete degrees) in the common CCV.

Please note that in order to complete this task, you must indicate whether there is a degree in progress and must specify at least one degree for which support is being requested.

10. Enter proposal information and supporting documents

This task has four sub-tasks to collect information related to your research project.

Project overview

The Title of Research Proposal is used by the Vanier CGS program to identify your research project. (maximum of 640 characters)

The Lay Title is used to inform the public and Parliament about the valuable research supported through public funds. Provide a title that is accessible to a lay audience. (maximum of 200 characters)

The Lay Abstract is used for promotional purposes outside the research community to inform the public and Parliament about the valuable research supported through public funds. Provide a summary of your research proposal written in clear, plain language. It should be written in non-technical terms that can be clearly understood by reviewers/readers with various areas of expertise (i.e., minimal academic terminology and references to methodology).

Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the work to be done. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, the anticipated outcomes and how your field and Canada will benefit. (maximum of 2000 characters)


Enter information on your nominating institution for proposed doctoral studies, your expected Start Date to take up the award and the Language in which your Research Proposal is written. Selecting your nominating institution will display the institution’s internal deadline.

Project descriptors/keywords

Provide descriptors/keywords to describe your research project, the techniques and the methodologies it will employ, and the areas of interest and complete any subsequent project descriptor fields using the drop-down menus. If you cannot find an exact descriptor, choose one that most closely matches your project.


Under this sub-task, you will attach the following documents:

Research proposal (maximum 2 pages including graphs and images)

All applicants, including those in the areas of applied research, research-creation, or knowledge translation, provide a detailed description of your proposed research project for the period during which you are to hold the Vanier CGS. Be as specific as possible. Provide background information to position your proposed research within the context of the current knowledge in the field. State the objectives, hypothesis, research question and your specific role. Outline the experimental or theoretical approach to be taken (citing literature pertinent to the proposal), the methods and procedures to be used and the contribution of the project to the advancement of knowledge. Describe the benefit conferred by undertaking your research at the nominating institution (e.g. supervisor/departmental specialization, lab facilities, funding opportunities, support structures offered/in-place), as well any benefit your research proposal will bring to the nominating institution if you are awarded a Vanier CGS (e.g., role model, networking, etc.). Remember that your program of study will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary committee (non-specialist audience), and as such should be written in non-technical terms, avoiding jargon.

Your communication skills are reflected by the clarity of the proposal and speak to the research potential selection criteria and leadership (potential and demonstrated ability) selection criteria.

When writing your research proposal, employ the citation style common to your field of research. Do not use more than one citation style. Footnotes should be employed for citation purposes only, and should not elaborate on the information contained in the 2 page research proposal.

Project references (maximum 5 pages)

Enter the references/bibliography/citation of your research proposal. Limit the document to five pages. You must use this section to list publications and other works/sources that are cited in your research proposal.

11. Confirm documents sent

This task requires a confirmation that all official transcripts have been sent to the proposed nominating institution.

The nominating institution will attach your transcripts should your nomination be forwarded to the Vanier CGS program.

Unofficial transcripts will be accepted from nominating institutions only for programs completed or in progress at the institution nominating the student, and only where the institution will be able to provide an official copy of the transcript upon request. Note that all transcripts must be easily legible for the review committee, and must include the institution’s name and/or logo. Otherwise, the Secretariat will only accept official transcripts from your nominating institution.

12. Preview application materials

Review your application. If a task is incomplete, you must provide the missing information to successfully submit your application.

Note: If any of the documents provided (including attachments) do not conform to the requirements and/or exceed the page limit, the additional pages will be removed from the nomination prior to selection committee's review. Refer to "Presentation standards for documents" for the required format.

13. Consent and submit application

You must indicate your consent to the terms listed in ResearchNet before you submit your application.

You must click "Submit" to send your application to your nominating institution. You will be prompted to confirm that this is what you wish to do. If you accept, you will receive a confirmation screen with a ResearchNet confirmation number (this is not your application number, but a unique ResearchNet identifier). You will also receive a confirmation email that your application was submitted to the nominating institution's faculty of graduate studies.

14. Presentation standards for attached documents

All attachments to your application must be prepared according to the standards provided. Applications submitted that are not prepared according to the instructions provided may be deemed ineligible.

If you have supporting documents written in a language other than English or French, you are required to submit a certified translation of these documents.

Formatting instructions to prepare your documents:


After you have submitted your application to the nominating institution, the activity will move to your "Completed Activities" tab. You will not be able to make any changes to your application.

The nominating institution will review your application and either return it to you with comments or approve it. Note that it will not yet have been forwarded to the Vanier CGS program. Only authorized representatives can view submitted applications. Faculties of graduate studies have read-only access and cannot make any changes to your application.

If application is returned to you by the institution

If the faculty of graduate studies returns the application to you, you will receive an email from ResearchNet containing their comments. You will be given a revised institution deadline by which you must re-submit your application. Your application will move back to the "Current Activities" tab so that you can modify your application and re-submit it to the faculty of graduate studies. The institution will not be able to view your application while you are editing it.

Once you have completed all changes, you must resubmit your application to the faculty of graduate studies for review before the institution deadline.

If application is selected to be nominated

If the institution selects your application, the institution officials will electronically approve and submit your nomination to the Vanier CGS program. You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt by email shortly after deadline date. If you do not receive this confirmation email, you should contact the faculty of graduate studies to determine the status of your application/nomination.

Post-competition notification of results

Once the results from the Vanier CGS competition have been approved by the TAPs steering committee, candidates nominated by an eligible Canadian institution will receive notification of the results using ResearchNet.

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