The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program – Evaluation Summary

About the Vanier CGS Program

The Government of Canada (GOC) launched the Vanier CGS program in 2008 to strengthen Canada’s ability to attract and retain the world’s top doctoral students and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning.

Results: What We Found

Recommendations and Management Response

  1. The Vanier CGS program needs to change its current objectives and/or design and delivery model in order to more effectively attract top doctoral students to Canada and retain top domestic students in Canada at the time of application. Given the similar levels of achievement by recipients and applicants related to leadership opportunities, post-graduation retention and career outcomes, the changes to the Vanier CGS program need to be made with due consideration of other federal doctoral scholarship programs.

    Response: Management agrees and CIHR will lead the assessment of the purpose and design of the Vanier CGS program in coordination with the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) Tri-agency Training Strategy initiative, NSERC and SSHRC, and in alignment with the suite of federal research training award programs.

  2. In light of the evaluation findings and the Tri-agency Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Vanier CGS program should examine the nature and extent of EDI barriers, including GBA+ analysis, related to the potential biases associated with the leadership selection criteria, the nomination process, and the selection of international doctoral students in order to more equitably assess and select Vanier recipients.

    Response: Management agrees and will review options for assessing leadership as well as undertake an examination of the potential EDI barriers in the design and delivery of the Vanier CGS program.

About the Evaluation

CIHR's Evaluation Unit conducted the evaluation in 2019, in collaboration with the NSERC-SSHRC Evaluation Division, to meet requirements of the Policy on Results and provide Tri-agency senior management with valid, insightful and actionable findings regarding:


  • Covered the period from 2013-14 to 2017-18

  • Second evaluation since the program's inception in 2008


  • Analyses of documents, end of award reports and other administrative data

  • Tracer survey of Vanier award applicants and recipients

  • Key informant interviews

Associated Links

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