CIHR Doctoral Research Awards - Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the FAQ page for the open competition of the CIHR Doctoral Research Award program. Please bookmark this page for future reference.

The information below is intended to supplement the information provided within the most recent version of the open competition CIHR Doctoral Research Award funding opportunity.

For all other doctoral award funding opportunities, please consult the individual funding opportunity announcements, as these opportunities may have different requirements.

Application Questions

  1. Where can I find the most recent CIHR Doctoral Research Award competition funding opportunity and instructions on how to complete a Doctoral Research Award application?
  2. I am trying to determine under which funding agency's mandate my research proposal applies?
  3. What are the specific assessment criteria for this program?
  4. Does my supervisor(s) need to submit a Canadian Common CV?
  5. Do I need to submit my official transcripts?
  6. I do not yet meet the educational requirements; am I still eligible to apply?
  7. Will the interruptions/delays in my schooling be taken into account when determining my eligibility?
  8. Does the chosen theme classification have any bearing on my application?
  9. How are applications assigned to a specific Peer Review Committee?
  10. Is there anything I need to mail in to CIHR?
  11. How do I verify that my application has been successfully submitted to CIHR?
  12. Who can I choose as a sponsor?
  13. How do the Sponsorship Assessments work in ResearchNet and where can I find a sample form?
  14. How long should the "Research Project Summary", "Training Expectations" and Space, Facilities and Personnel Support" sections be?
  15. What are priority announcements?
  16. Can I still be considered for funding through the open competition if I apply for a priority announcement?
  17. Can I update my application after the deadline?
  18. Can I submit more than one application?

Award Administration Questions

  1. How much time do I have to respond to an offer of award?
  2. What documents will I need to provide before I can start my award?
  3. Do I need to do anything if I'm planning to decline the award?
  4. How does CIHR calculate when my award ends?
  5. What should I do if my status changes before my award expires?
  6. Do I need to provide Proof of Registration every year?
  7. What happens if the required paperwork isn't received by CIHR until after my chosen start date?
  8. How much time am I required to spend on the research training to maintain my eligibility to hold the CIHR award?
  9. Am I allowed to receive funding from other sources while holding the CIHR award?

For more information related to the open Doctoral Research Awards competition and how to apply, email DRA@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

For questions related to the Priority Announcements, email PA-AP@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

For technical help related to ResearchNet, email support@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

Application Answers

1. Where can I find the most recent CIHR Doctoral Research Award competition funding opportunity and instructions on how to complete a Doctoral Research Award application?

The most current version of the Doctoral Research Award funding opportunity can be found here and we strongly encourage applicants to read the Doctoral Research Awards - Application instructions.

2. I am trying to determine under which funding agency's mandate my research proposal applies?

Applicants should review the mandates of CIHR, SSHRC and NSERC. Specifically, CIHR accepts applications in all areas of health research; biomedical research, clinical research, health services research, and social, cultural, environmental and population health research. Definitions of these four research themes can be found at Section 1: Application Administration.

3. What are the specific assessment criteria for this program?

Read through the CIHR Reviewers’ Guide for Doctoral Research Awards to learn more about how your application will be assessed.

4. Do my supervisor(s) need to submit a Canadian Common CV?

The applicant and all supervisors, regardless of their citizenship, must submit an Academic CV (validated for CIHR) using the Canadian Common CV (CCV) website. For details about how to complete the CCV, please consult the Doctoral Research Awards - Application instructions.

Once the Academic CV is submitted, the system generates a confirmation number. The CCV data is sent directly to CIHR on the condition that, on ResearchNet, the Nominated Principal Applicant/Candidate enters the confirmation number for each required CV associated with the application.

5. Do I need to submit my official transcripts?

Yes.  For details on how to provide official transcripts, please consult the Doctoral Research Awards - Application instructions.

6. I do not yet meet the educational requirements; am I still eligible to apply?

Yes. Applicants that do not yet meet the educational requirements may still apply to the funding opportunity; however, they must meet these requirements by the latest possible start date on which their award must start.

7. Will the interruptions/delays in my schooling be taken into account when determining my eligibility?

Interruptions and delays in your studies may be taken into account in determining eligibility if information on the interruptions and delays is provided in the specific section of your Academic CCV. For details about how to complete this section of the CCV, please consult the Doctoral Research Award- Application instructions.

8. Does the chosen theme classification have any bearing on my application?

Doctoral Research Award applications are reviewed by one of two peer review committees according to the theme: biomedical/clinical, or health services/social, cultural, environmental and population health.

9. How are applications assigned to a specific Peer Review Committee?

Doctoral Research Awards applications are assigned to a specific committee based on the theme identified in the application. For more information, please refer to the Peer Review Committees and Mandates – Doctoral Research Award.

10. Is there anything I need to mail in to CIHR?

No. All application material is submitted electronically through ResearchNet.

11. How do I verify that my application has been successfully submitted to CIHR?

It is highly recommended that applicants submit their application well ahead of the CIHR deadline. If the applicant’s institution is part of eApproval, their institution’s research office may return the application to the applicant with comments or questions. Many institutions have internal deadlines for receipt of applications ahead of the CIHR deadline, and applicants are to confirm with their institution what the internal deadline is.

If the applicant has performed this task correctly they will receive the following confirmation email(s):

With eApproval

If the applicant’s institution participates in the eApproval process, the applicant will receive two confirmation emails:

  • The first when the Institution Paid (participating in the eApproval process) receives the application, and
  • A second once the application has been submitted by the Institution Paid to CIHR.

Without eApproval

If the applicant’s institution does not participate in the eApproval process (i.e. institutions outside Canada), the applicant will receive one confirmation email once the application has been submitted to CIHR.

12. Who can I choose as a sponsor?

CIHR recommends that you choose 3 sponsors under whom you have trained and who have had a good opportunity to assess your potential for research. Be aware of the importance accorded to your choice as sponsorship assessments provided are considered by the Peer Review Committee.

13. How do the Sponsorship Assessments work in ResearchNet and where can I find a sample form?

For details about how the Sponsorship Assessments work in ResearchNet, please consult the Doctoral Research Awards - Application instructions. A sample of the "Sponsor's Assessment of a candidate for a Doctoral Research Award" form can be found in the Index of Funding Related Forms and is available for information purposes only.

14. How long should the "Research Project Summary", "Training Expectations" and "Space, Facilities and Personnel Support" sections be?

The "Research Project Summary" section is limited to a maximum of 3500 characters. The "Training Expectations" section is limited to a maximum of 7000 characters. As for the "Space, Facilities and Personnel Support" section, it is limited to a maximum of 2000 characters. These character limits include spaces and references.

15. What are priority announcements?

Priority announcements offer additional sources of funding for highly rated applications that are relevant to specific CIHR research priority areas or mandates. Each priority announcement has its own specific objectives and requirements; however, applications must still meet the eligibility criteria and requirements for the open competition to which the application is submitted.

16. Can I still be considered for funding through the open competition if I apply for a priority announcement?

Yes, your application is still first and foremost submitted to the open competition to which you are applying.

However, if your application is withdrawn from the open competition for any reason, you will not be considered for any priority announcements.

17. Can I update my application after the deadline?

In order to ensure fairness in the evaluation of applications, equivalent time must be guaranteed for the assessment of each complete application. As a result, CIHR will not accept updates to applications after the application deadline.

18. Can I submit more than one application?

Applicants may submit only one training or salary award application per year (September 1 to August 31) for funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). However, individuals eligible to apply to the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program or the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program may also submit an application to the CIHR Doctoral Research Award program (these are the only exceptions where an individual may submit two applications in the same year).

Award Administration Answers

1. How much time do I have to respond to an offer of award?

Successful applicants have 15 business days to accept or decline an award as of the date on the funding decision letter.

2. What documents will I need to provide before I can start my award?

In addition to the specific documents listed in the Notes section of the Offer of an Award, there are two mandatory documents that need to be provided:

  • Response to an Offer of Award: if you are successful in receiving an award, a pdf version of this form will become available to you in your ResearchNet account after you answer a few questions online regarding when you wish to start the award and the person and/or institution that will be administering the funds. Both you and the authorized official at the Primary Location of Research must sign the printed form. This form must be returned to us within 15 business days of it becoming available to you online.
  • Confirmation of Commencement: this form will become available to you in your ResearchNet account 2 months prior to the start date you indicated on the Response to an Offer of Award form (for example, if you chose a start date of September 1st , it will appear on July 1st). If your start date is within 2 months of the current date then the form will appear within a few hours of completing your Response to an Offer of Award. If it does not, it is because the information you filled in your Response to an Offer of Award form (Institution, Faculty and/or Department) does not match the information provided on your original application. In this case, please email the Program Delivery Coordinator for further information. The printed version of this form needs to be signed by both you and your primary supervisor and returned to us before we can process your award.

3. Do I need to do anything if I'm planning to decline the award?

Yes. As we will potentially be offering your award to the next applicant on the ranking list, we need to know that you are declining the award as soon as possible and certainly no later than 15 business days after the offer has been posted to your ResearchNet account. Please send us a signed copy of the Response to an Offer of Award form stating that you are declining the award and letting us know why.

Please note that if recipients decline or terminate their open CIHR award funding, for whatever reason, they will not be eligible to receive, or continue receiving (for prizes with multi-year commitments), any CIHR prize funds.

4. How does CIHR calculate when my award ends?

Your termination date is the day on which you have completed all the requirements necessary to obtain your Doctorate degree. Typically, this is the date when you successfully defended your thesis, but if revisions are required and you are still working in your supervisor's lab, it is the date when your revised thesis was accepted.

5. What should I do if my status change before my award expires?

You must contact CIHR as soon as possible if your eligibility changes at any point during tenure of the training award, as it may render you ineligible to receive funding. You must notify CIHR in writing by email at DRA@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

6. Do I need to provide Proof of Registration every year?

No. The Proof of Registration is required only to start your award and after a change of status.

7. What happens if the required paperwork isn’t received by CIHR until after my chosen start date?

As long as the delays fall within the allowable start dates stated in the Notes section of the Offer of an Award document, the only effect is that your payments will be delayed until we're able to process your paperwork. Payments can be made retroactively as of your indicated start date provided that you meet all the eligibility requirements.

8. How much time am I required to spend on the research training to maintain my eligibility to hold the CIHR award?

Award recipients must devote at least 75 per cent of their time to research training in order to maintain their eligibility.

9. Am I allowed to receive funding from other sources while holding the CIHR award?

Recipients may receive unlimited funding from any other sources, with the exception of other Canadian federal sources. Recipients are expected to respect the eligibility requirements and funding conditions throughout the tenure of the CIHR award.