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 and the research funding policies and guidelines outlined in the CIHR Grants and Awards Guide.

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. If I'm not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, are there any other opportunities that support graduate students pursuing a doctoral level degree in a health related field to which I can apply?
  4. What are the specific assessment criteria for this program?
  5. Do my supervisor(s) need to submit a Canadian Common CV?
  6. How do I submit my official transcripts?
  7. I do not yet meet the educational requirements; am I still eligible to apply?
  8. Will the interruptions/delays in my schooling be taken into account when determining the amount of time spent in graduate study?
  9. Does the chosen theme classification have any bearing on my application?
  10. How are applications assigned to a specific Peer Review Committee?
  11. Is there anything I need to mail in to CIHR?
  12. How do I verify that my application has been successfully submitted to CIHR?
  13. Who can I choose as a sponsor?
  14. How do the Sponsorship Assessments work in ResearchNet and where can I find a sample form?
  15. What is the maximum number of pages allowed for the "Research Proposal Summary" and "Training Expectations" sections?
  16. What are priority announcements and how can I apply for them?
  17. Can I still be considered for funding through the open competition if I apply for a priority announcement?
  18. Can I update my application after the deadline?
  19. I accidentally clicked the Submit button. How do I unsubmit my application so I can make changes to it?

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 Award application instructions.

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

Candidates 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. If I'm not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, are there any other opportunities that support graduate students pursuing a doctoral level degree in a health related field to which I can apply?

Yes, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships is open to international students studying in Canada. You can also search our entire list of Funding Opportunities.

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

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

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

The candidate 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 Award 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.

6. How do I submit my official transcripts?

Official transcript(s) must be provided by scanning both sides of the required transcript(s) as a single .pdf document (even if there are multiple transcripts) and attaching them under "Transcripts" in the "Attach Other Application Materials" task. The total file size cannot exceed 30 MB. Please verify that the scanned documents are complete and legible when you perform the "Preview" task in ResearchNet.

Note that CIHR considers scanned versions of official paper transcripts issued by the Registrar's Office to the student to be official transcripts. Opening the envelope to scan the transcript will not render it unofficial for CIHR's purposes; however, screenshots/printouts from websites will not be accepted. Please retain the paper copy of any uploaded transcripts as you may be asked to provide these to CIHR for verification purposes at any point in the process.

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

Yes. Candidates that do not yet meet the requirements may still apply to the Funding Opportunity; however, they must meet the eligibility requirements by the latest possible start date on which their award must start.

8. Will the interruptions/delays in my schooling be taken into account when determining the amount of time spent in graduate study?

Interruptions and delays in your studies may be taken into account in determining eligibility if information on the interruptions and delays is provided. To provide interruptions and delays, you must follow the submission requirements indicated under the "Eligibility" section of the Doctoral Research Award Funding Opportunity.

9. 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 indicated by the applicant: biomedical/clinical, or health services/social, cultural, environmental and population health. Please note that applications are assigned to a specific committee based on the theme.

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

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

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

No. All application material is submitted electronically through ResearchNet.

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

If you have successfully submitted your application through ResearchNet, you will receive an automated email message confirming the submission. No further confirmation is provided.

13. 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 sponsor assessments provided are considered by the Peer Review Committee.

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

Once you have identified your sponsors, ResearchNet will generate an automatic email message to the sponsors. The email will contain a unique link where they will enter their assessment and submit it directly to CIHR.

The assessment form must be completed and submitted online by the sponsors 48 hours prior to the competition deadline and be written in either English or French. Once an assessment is submitted, it will automatically attach itself to your application.

You do not have access to the content of the assessment submitted by sponsors. However, you may follow the status of the assessment directly under this task.

Note that it is your responsibility to follow up with sponsors to ensure the assessments are submitted prior to the deadline date and therefore ensure the application completeness. After all three sponsors have submitted their assessments, this task will be marked as Complete in your ResearchNet Application Task List.

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.

15. What is the maximum number of pages allowed for the "Research Proposal Summary" and "Training Expectations" sections?

The "Research Proposal Summary" section is one page maximum. The "Training Expectations" section is limited to 2 pages maximum. These page limits include references.

16. What are priority announcements and how can I apply for them?

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. Your application must still meet the eligibility criteria and requirements for the open competition to which you are applying.

You apply for a priority announcement through the task "Apply to Priority Announcements / Funding Pools" in your ResearchNet application. You can select up to three priority announcements. For each priority announcement you want to be considered, select the priority announcement title then the relevant research area addressed by your research proposal under the "Identify Priority Announcements and Relevant Research Area" section, then press 'save'.

After pressing 'save' if the priority announcement requires a relevance form, a text box will then appear for you to complete.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. I accidentally clicked the Submit button. How do I unsubmit my application so I can make changes to it?

There is no way for you to accomplish this yourself. You must email support@cihr-irsc.gc.ca before the deadline date.

Award Administration Answers

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

Successful candidates 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 either mailed or scanned in and emailed to us:

  • 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 who will be administering the funds on your behalf. You and your Research Institution need to sign the printed form. This form must be emailed to us within 15 business days of the date on the funding decision letter.
  • 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 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 candidate 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 PhD. 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 on which your revised thesis was accepted.

5. What should I do if my status changes 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. You may 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.

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.