The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program helps Canada's universities attract sought-after doctoral students from across Canada and around the world. These promising scholars help to create a dynamic and innovative environment within our institution campuses. Many will stay to pursue academic and professional careers in Canada, helping to foster innovation and creating future leaders.

The Vanier CGS was announced in the 2008 federal budget as part of a broader strategy to increase the supply of highly-qualified research personnel in Canada and brand Canada worldwide as a nation known for quality research and research training. These concepts are central to the Government of Canada's science and technology (S&T) strategy, announced in May 2007, which set out a multiyear framework for improving Canada's long-term competitiveness. Attracting and retaining the best minds to innovate within Canada is a government priority. Canada's prosperity as a nation is increasingly based on science and technology and the highly skilled and creative individuals whose talents bring innovations to life. Their ideas spark the creation of new products, services and policies that support Canada's economic competitiveness, strengthen social foundations, sustain the environment and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

The Vanier CGS program is one of a suite of elite federal research capacity development programs. The suite begins with early graduate student support through Vanier CGS, progresses to postdoctoral training through the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program and continues through the academic career progression (Tier 1 and 2 Canada Research Chairs) to a career pinnacle (Canada Excellence Research Chairs).

Together, these programs are intended to increase the supply of highly-qualified research personnel in Canada and brand Canada worldwide as a nation known for quality research and research training. They complement other training vehicles, including doctoral scholarship programs supported by the three federal granting agencies (Canadian Institutes for Health Research - CIHR, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada - NSERC, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada - SSHRC).

The Vanier CGS program allows highly motivated and competitive students to realize their full potential and develop their careers. Upon completion of their award, Vanier Scholars will be well positioned to contribute to the continued growth of Canada's research capacity and the country's economic and social prosperity.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships: Supporting world-class doctoral students (Transcript)

The Government of Canada's Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering and health.

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"If Canada is to attain the greatness worthy of it, each of us must say, 'I ask only to serve.'"
Major General The Right Honourable Georges Philias Vanier (1888-1967)

Keena Trowell
Vanier scholar 2017McGill University
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Keena Trowell:
The first people? Right away, I called my parents. We talk every Sunday, so, of course, me calling on a Friday afternoon, my mom said: “What’s wrong?” And I said: “Nothing Mom. I have the best news.” And I told her. I mean my parents have been so supportive of me, my entire life. And I don’t think a lot of parents would have been happy if their daughter had said, you know, ten years into one career, I’m going to quit and start all over, but my parents were very supportive, and so, being able to call them and tell them that I won this amazing scholarship was... It’s definitely been a highlight of my life.

Emily Bremer
Vanier scholar 2016
McMaster University
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Emily Bremer:
The thing with Vanier that I find really nice is that it allows me to really focus on my research without the added stress of worrying about everything else in life, and other financial pressures and even academic career pressures. It has kind of enabled me to relax and kind of gain that extra confidence in myself that there are external agencies and people recognizing the merit that I do have and my research capability and potential and it allows me also to you know focus in and dedicate my time to my research rather than being stressed about you know working extra jobs or worrying about anything else like that, that's external to the research that I do.

Tyrone Hall
Vanier scholar 2017
York University
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

Tyrone Hall:
Vanier opened up some tremendous opportunities for me and the research that I want to do. I came into graduate studies with all sorts of ambitious projects in mind and it would have been almost impossible to pursue a four-country project, running around various villages in different parts of the world without having the sort of substantial support that Vanier gives.

Emily Bremer:
I've always, since I got into research, in my undergrad, as soon as I started doing it, I really fell in love with the research and figured, from undergrad, I wanted to do a masters and PhD and move that into a post-doc and hopefully an academic position at a research-intensive university. 

Tyrone Hall:
It was a huge commitment. I’m happy I made that commitment, I’m happy I didn’t let the sort of rigour that it demands throw me off. You’re supposed to be engaged by that sort of thing. And it’s a great way to think about what you want to do for your research way ahead of time.

Keena Trowell:
Everybody I asked to write a letter, they were thrilled to do it. These people who have supported you in the past, they only want to see you succeed. And so they're happy to write these letters for you. Yes, absolutely I would say go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Text Slide: Position yourself as a research leader in Canada

Vanier Scholar and Banting Fellow – Dr. Bouilly (Transcript)

The impact of being selected for these prestigious awards resonates with our past recipients. Among Dr. Delphine Bouilly's impressive repertoire of significant achievements, her resumé includes both the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (Banting PDF). We caught up with her to speak to her about the impact that these awards have had on her, her research field and future directions.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Delphine Bouilly
Vanier Scholar 2009

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
Delphine Bouilly
Banting Fellow 2015

Université of Montréal
Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC)

Delphine Bouilly:

For the past year, I've been a physics professor at the University of Montréal's Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC). This is where I'm starting my research program as an independent researcher. I now have a small research team with students, and we use nanotechnology to develop new technologies for biomedical applications. In particular, we want to study biological molecules like DNA and proteins directly at the molecular scale.

We are truly at the interface of physical and biological sciences. We are interested in building extremely miniaturized electric circuits that would allow us to immobilize biological molecules – we only need one – and then follow interactions, changes in shape and biochemical activity over time. This is a tool that we think will be useful in understanding how biological molecules function as well as their roles in health, among other things.

Much of what I do now as a professor, as a researcher, come from ideas I had during my postdoctoral studies, while I benefited from my Banting Fellowship. That's really when I started exploring some ideas myself, testing types of prototypes and projects that led me to what I am doing today. That's when I started mixing my field – physics – with applications in other fields, like biology. That's really when all of this came about.

Absolutely, you need to do it! There's no question. It's a really well-made program, even just in terms of design: you have to propose a project – broader than just a research project, it's more of a training project. And it's really interesting to develop the project itself, and then when you put it into action, that's even better! There's no reason not to apply, not to try the program. There can only be good things that come from developing the project – and receiving the funding, obviously!

Being where I am today, it's like a dream come true. That's for sure. I can teach science, conduct high-level research and work with my fantastic, hard-working students. Engaging with my students and helping them to go further and discover new things about nature – there isn't much more I could ask for in a job.

Text: Position yourself as a research leader of tomorrow

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
For more information on this graduate scholarship, visit Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships website

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
For more information on this postdoctoral fellowship, visit Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships website

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