Information and instructions for Research Administrators for managing the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program

Table of contents


Agency: Any of the three federal granting agencies — CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.
Quota: The maximum number of applications that an institution can forward to each agency’s national competition.
Award holder: Individual who has an active award from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC
CGS D: Canada Graduate Scholarships - Doctoral Program.
CIHR: Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
eApproval: Electronic Approval Tool on ResearchNet.
Institution: A Canadian institution that receives a quota for the CGS D program.
NSERC: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Roles and responsibilities

Institutions are responsible for:

Management of applications via ResearchNet

ResearchNet provides a single point of entry for applicants and institutions. The Electronic Approval Tool on ResearchNet is used to manage applications and submit applications to CIHR. The step-by-step guide for Research Administrators entitled Electronic Approval for Research Institutions is available on ResearchNet under Administration, Electronic Tool (No Quota) – Access Administrator.

ResearchNet roles and access privileges

Below is a summary of each role available on the Electronic Approval Tool for the Research Institution on ResearchNet:

  1. Access Administrator (AA)

    The access administrator is granted the highest level of permissions. CIHR collects the name of one contact person from each institution who is given the role of access administrator.

    Note: If there are changes to the role of the Access Administrator (AA), CIHR must be informed by the institution as soon as possible in order to avoid any delays to the running of the competition.

    • As the access administrator of the Electronic Approval Tool, it is your responsibility to:
      • Manage the access of the principal users for each program. (there can only be one principal user per program per institution). Note that the Principal User can also be the Access Administrator.
      • Manage secondary and read-only access should the principal user be unavailable.
  2. Principal User (PU)

    • The principal user is given access by the Access Administrator (AA) to the Electronic Approval Tool activity for a specific program. If the principal user changes in your institution, the Access Administrator is the only one that may assign a new person to this role.
    • As the principal user for each program, you will have the ability to:
      • Manage the access of the secondary and read-only users
      • Manage internal deadlines (global and individual)
      • Manage all applications process (access, review, approve and submit) to the funding organization.
  3. Secondary User (SU)

    • The secondary user is given access to the Electronic Approval Tool activity for a specific program.
    • As the secondary user for each program, you will have the ability to:
      • Manage all applications (access, review, approve) to the funding organization.
  4. Read-Only User (ROU)

    • The read-only user is given access to view an applicant’s full application once a principal user has assigned them to a specific program and application(s). They will not have the ability to return, approve or submit the application to the funding organization.
    • As the read-only user, you will have the ability to:
      • Review applications assigned to you.

Submitting applications to CIHR using eApproval on ResearchNet

In order to submit applications to CIHR, Research Administrators must be assigned the role of AA, PU or SU in ResearchNet. Otherwise, they must liaise with the AA at their institution to electronically submit the applications via the eApproval process. Once the application is reviewed and approved by the institution, it can be submitted electronically to CIHR on behalf of the applicant.

Information for applicants on the eApproval process

Applicants may find detailed instructions on the eApproval process in the "Electronic Approval tool - Applicant's Guide" under the "Enter Proposal Information" task, "Details" subtask.

Institutional quotas

Each eligible institution is assigned a separate quota from each agency for the CGS D Program. For more details on quotas for CIHR, refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral Awards (CGS D) Quotas.

Applicants who self-declare as Indigenous are NOT be considered as part of the institutional quota.

Applicants who wish to self-declare themselves as an Indigenous applicant have been instructed to complete the Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Awards (CGS D): Voluntary Self-Identification Form for Indigenous Applicants [ PDF (253 KB) ] and upload it within their application. This form may be used by Research Administrators to determine self-declared Indigenous applicants. It is the responsibility of the Research Administrators to list which applicants will be included as self-identified Indigenous applicants above and beyond the institutional quota within the List of Applications-Form [ PDF (194 KB) ]. For further information, consult the “Application deadline” section near the end of this document.

If an applicant has submitted an application in error directly to the institution, Research Administrators should reject the application so the applicant can re-submit via the proper channel. Applicants who should submit their application directly to CIHR have been instructed to complete the Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Awards (CGS D): Self-Declaration of No Institutional Affiliation with a Quota Form [ PDF (108 KB) ] if applicable and upload it within their application. This form may be used by to identify applicants who have submitted their application to the institution in error.

Important: The “Institution Paid” field in the applicant’s ResearchNET application determines which organization will receive the application (Canadian institution with a quota or CIHR).

After consulting the flowchart to determine if the applicant is required to apply to an institution with a quota or directly to CIHR, refer to the following for what must be put in the institution paid field:

For more information on where and how an applicant should apply, consult the Doctoral Research Awards – Application instructions. For further clarification, contact CIHR directly.

Eligibility review

Research Administrators are responsible for reviewing the applications for completeness, applicant eligibility, and subject matter eligibility. Applications must be compliant with the CGS D funding opportunity.

It is recommended that the Research Administrators perform a thorough review of the eligibility window, as this is one of the primary reasons for the rejection of applications.

In addition, Research Administrators are responsible for:

Note 1: Transcripts printed from the applicant's personal institution account are not accepted.

Note 2: Up-to-date official transcripts are defined as transcripts issued by the Registrar's Office and dated or issued in the fall session of the year of the application (if currently registered), or after the last term completed (if not currently registered). Opening the envelope to scan the transcript will not render it unofficial for CIHR's purposes.

Note 3: Certified true copies of official transcripts from the institution are accepted. A certified true copy is defined as a copy of the original document (or of the original translated document if official transcript is not in either English or French).

Note 4: Applicants who are or were registered at an institution that does not provide transcripts must submit, in lieu of a transcript, a letter bearing the official institution seal/stamp or a letter signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies confirming the applicant’s program of study, the applicant’s registration status, the date of initial registration, the degree obtained or sought and the fact that the institution does not provide transcripts.

Selection process

Appointment of the institutional selection committee(s)

The appointment of institutional selection committee(s) will be managed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent). Each institution will establish the number of selection committees required to conduct the review. It is anticipated that such committees will have the necessary expertise to review the applications.

Individuals unaffiliated with the host institution may be members of the selection committees, particularly to deal with subject matter gaps caused by conflicts of interest and to ensure that applications in both official languages can be reviewed.

Peer review must be conducted in accordance with the CIHR Reviewers' Guide for Doctoral Research Awards.

Selection review

The purpose of the review is to identify those who will be submitted to CIHR using the institution quotas. Institutions should not create an alternate list.

Institutions must conduct a rigorous and transparent merit review to identify applications that should be submitted to CIHR. Only application material submitted using ResearchNet can be considered during the merit review.

The merit review must be based on the selection criteria below. Criteria are weighted, and committee members must take each criterion into consideration when assigning a global score to an application. Institutions may use their own marking scheme to assign scores to applications, provided the proportional weight of each criterion is respected. Institutions may not add criteria to this list.

Considerations: Committee members must take into consideration special circumstances that may have affected the applicant’s research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Applicants have been instructed to identify any impacts in a Special Circumstances document (found in the Other section of their application).

Selection criteria

The evaluation of CGS D applications, whether by institutions or the agencies, is based on the following criteria:

Criteria Descriptor Weight

Research ability and potential

Indicators of research ability and potential:

  • Quality of research proposal
    • specific, focused and feasible research question(s) and objective(s)
    • clear description of the proposed methodology
    • significance and expected contributions to research
  • Relevant training, such as academic training, lived experience and traditional teachings
  • Research experience and achievements relative to the applicant's stage of study, lived experience and knowledge systems
  • Quality of contributions and extent to which they advance the field of research. Contributions may include: publications, patents, reports, posters, abstracts, monographs, presentations, creative outputs, knowledge translation outputs, community products, etc.
  • Demonstration of sound judgment and ability to think critically
  • Demonstration of responsible and ethical research conduct, including honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to safety and to the dissemination of research results and adherence to the use of professional standards
  • Enthusiasm for research, originality, initiative, autonomy, relevant community involvement and outreach
  • The ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats


Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia

Indicators of relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia:

  • Scholarships, awards and distinctions (amount, duration and prestige)
  • Academic record:
    • Transcripts
    • Duration of previous studies
    • Program requirements and courses pursued
    • Course load
    • Relative standing in program (if available)
  • Professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as:
    • teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching
    • managing projects
    • participating in science and/or research promotion
    • community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement
    • chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings
    • participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs


Privacy, confidentiality and conflicts of interest

Institutions must have conflict of interest rules in place for the review of CGS D applications. The members of the selection committees must agree to respect the institution’s privacy, confidentiality and conflict of interest rules. Institutions may refer to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations, Access to Information Act, and Privacy Act for additional information.

The Official Languages Act

Under the Official Languages Act, federal institutions, including the agencies, must ensure respect for the rights of individual Canadians to receive services from federal institutions and organizations that provide services on their behalf, in the official language of their choice.

The agencies are committed to promoting equitable access by the following:

Applications can be submitted in either official language; therefore, institutions must have mechanisms in place to review both English and French applications. All applicants are entitled to receive service in the official language of their choice.

If necessary, institutions can request support from the agencies to help them meet the standard of providing service in both official languages.

Application deadline

The competition deadline for applications submitted via an institution with a quota is November 21st using the Electronic Approval Tool on ResearchNet. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications can be submitted the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET).

Please note that CIHR will not accept modified or updated List of Applications-Form or additional applications after the deadline. Submitting an application to CIHR using the Electronic Approval Tool is final; this action cannot be undone.

Research Administrators must:

Note: Substitutions for ineligible or rejected applications will not be permitted.

It is the responsibility of the Research Administrator to inform all applicants of the outcome of the institution’s internal selection process by December 15th.

Post-award information


The Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide includes the post-award policies that apply to CGS D awards.


The agencies will conduct periodic reviews of institutional selection processes. Agencies may contact institutions to request corrective action if it is deemed necessary.

Public communications

Successful applicants, institutions and agencies all benefit from public awareness of federally funded research and research training, and from promoting the value of this investment for Canadians.

Names of selection committee members, as well as clear conflict of interest guidelines and selection processes, must be established by the institution and published on its website.

Contact us

Program information and technical support

The agencies ask Research Administrators to use the following email address when corresponding with CIHR about applications, awards or technical help with ResearchNet:

CIHR Contact Centre
Telephone: 613-954-1968
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178

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