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CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC

Roles and Responsibilities for Institutions and the Agencies Managing the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Masterís Program

Table of Contents


Definitions

In this document, these terms have the following meanings:

Agency: CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC
Alternate: an applicant whose application is deemed meritorious but ranked below the allocation cut-off
Award: funding provided by one of the agencies through the CGS M Program
Award holder: a graduate student who is receiving CGS M funding from an institution
CGS M: Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s
CIHR: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Fiscal year: April 1 – March 31
Institution: a Canadian university or other post-secondary institution that receives an allocation of CGS M offers of awards
NSERC: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Foreword

The aim of the CGS (master’s and doctoral) Program is to develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of scholarly achievement in undergraduate and graduate studies. They are available to Canadian students and permanent residents while studying in Canada at eligible Canadian institutions. Scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence.

The purpose of this document is to outline the roles and responsibilities of the agencies and institutions in the administration of the CGS M Program.

In 2013, the agencies implemented a new harmonized model of delivery of the CGS M Program. Briefly, each eligible Canadian institution receives an allocation of offers of award. The institutions receiving the CGS M applications manage their own selection process and make offers of awards. The agencies authorize the transfer of funds and make payments to the institutions for the award holders.

The distribution of CGS M across the agencies is as follows:

Agency Master’s Scholarships (annually)
CIHR 400
NSERC 800
SSHRC 1,300
Total 2,500

Agencies’ Roles and Responsibilities

The agencies are responsible for delivering federal government programs of support for research training in accordance with Government of Canada Acts and policies, and setting the policies and guidelines related to the administration of programs and awards supporting research training of graduate students.

Specifically for this funding opportunity, the agencies are responsible for:

  • Delivering the CGS M Program;
  • Providing institutions with policies and guidelines for the CGS M Program;
  • Providing institutions with an allocation of CGS M offers of awards;
  • Providing institutions with harmonized tools to manage the selection process and the offers for the CGS M Program, including:
    • A common web-based application portal (the Research Portal);
    • Guidelines for the selection of offers of awards and administration of the awards at the institutions;
    • The Terms and Conditions of the Awards for successful candidates;
  • Authorizing the transfer of funds and making payments to the institutions for the award holders;
  • Providing distinct agency reports to the Canadian Parliament and central agencies on the use of CGS funds and outcomes related to the program;
  • Reserving the right to interpret and enforce the policies and guidelines for the CGS M Program set out in their published materials.

Institutions’ Roles and Responsibilities

Institutions are responsible for:

  • Complying with the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions;
  • Agreeing to the roles and responsibilities described in this document;
  • Abiding by the policies and guidelines for the CGS M Program;
  • Administering the selection process to award the CGS M;
  • Using the Research Portal and the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet in support of the delivery of the CGS M Program;
  • Providing the agencies with the list of award recommendations using the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet in accordance with their policies and instructions;
  • Informing applicants of the competition results using the Research Portal;
  • Administering the awards once they are approved by the agencies;
  • Reporting to the agencies on the use of CGS M funds and outcomes related to the program, by each agency’s mandate area.

Privacy

The personal information provided through the Research Portal is collected by the agency or agencies under the authority of the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act, the This link will take you to another Web site Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act or the This link will take you to another Web site Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Act; it is stored in a series of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC data banks, described in This link will take you to another Web site Info Source Publications. The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided to the agencies are outlined in the Research Portal and policy documents found on the agencies’ respective Web sites (This link will take you to another Web site CIHR, NSERC, This link will take you to another Web site SSHRC).

The institutions must follow all applicable laws, including privacy laws, or policies within their jurisdiction. The institutions will store CGS M information in a secure manner, not use or disclose it for any other purpose without the applicants’ consent, and destroy it in a secure manner in accordance with any applicable laws or policies within their jurisdiction. Institutions are also expected to report any privacy breaches related to the Research Portal to the agencies.

The Official Languages Act

Under the This link will take you to another Web site 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:

  • Ensuring that their funding opportunities enable the participation of both official language communities;
  • Providing applicants with equitable access to the information and resources in the official language of their choice;
  • Monitoring and promoting the participation of Official Language Minority Institutions, researchers and students in their programs.

Applications can be submitted through the Research Portal 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.

Terms and Conditions for Applicants and Award Holders

As part of the submission process, applicants must agree to the Terms and Conditions of Applying as described in the Signatures section of the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program Instructions for Completing an Application. The agencies keep a record of this agreement; therefore, institutions are not required to do so.

As part of the award acceptance process, applicants to whom an offer of award has been made must agree to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the Awards.

Subject Matter Eligibility

The subject matter of the research proposed must be aligned with the legislated mandate of one of the agencies and must meet the eligibility guidelines of the agencies. Additional information on subject matter eligibility is available on the This link will take you to another Web site Science.gc.ca website. Institutions are required to refer to these guidelines when assessing the eligibility of the applications and when selecting the area of research the applications fall under, i.e., health (CIHR), natural sciences and engineering (NSERC) or social sciences and humanities (SSHRC). Agencies reserve the right to review the eligibility of applications to ensure that eligibility guidelines are met.

Public Communications

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

Institutions must not publicly announce the award holders of the CGS M awards before the official announcement of the results by the Government of Canada. Each competition year, institutions will be provided with the details on the announcement, when confirmed. In the meantime, award holders are permitted to share the news confidentially with friends, family members, and colleagues. The This link will take you to another Web site Public Communications Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations applies to this funding opportunity.

Competition Process

In an effort to assist institutions in obtaining consistent results with the selection process, the agencies propose the guidelines outlined below.

Award Allocations

Each eligible institution is assigned a separate allocation of awards to offer from each agency (refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Award Allocations for the number of offers of awards available to institutions for the 2017 competition). Institutions must respect the agency-specific allocation.

Institutions must offer the scholarships according to their agency-specific CGS M allocations by year. Allocations are not transferable to a subsequent year nor to another agency.

Application Process

Applicants to the CGS M Program must complete and submit their application using the Research Portal. The institution must ensure that the applicant is eligible once the application is received based solely on the information therein. For information regarding applicant eligibility, consult the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program description and its instructions.

Applicants can select up to five institutions where they intend to hold the award. Refer to the Application Procedures section of the CGS M Program description.

Deadlines and Competition Results

The agencies set the deadlines for the submission of applications and communicating the offers of awards.

The deadline for the submission of applications to the CGS M Program is December 1, before 8:00 p.m. (ET). Applications are submitted through the Research Portal. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications must be submitted by the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET).

If an application is deemed ineligible, the institution must inform the applicant by modifying the status of the application in the Research Portal. This can be done as early as the day following the deadline.

By mid-March each year, Scholarships Liaison Officers (SLOs) will be able to enter the results of the CGS M competition into the Institution Portal within the Research Portal. The exact date when the Institution Portal will open will be confirmed by the agencies in advance. Official offers of awards can only be made using the Research Portal. Institutions cannot release the results through any avenue before April 1.

Applicants will have 21 days from the date of the offers to accept or decline the offers. Once the offers have been made, and accepted by the applicants, the agencies will review the institutions’ recommendations before authorizing the transfer of funds to the institution for payment to award holders. Institutions may make subsequent offers to eligible alternate candidates should some of the offers be declined, until they have used up all of their allocations; this process must be completed before January 31 of the following calendar year. Should any offers of award be declined after January 31, institutions will no longer be able to make subsequent offers; therefore, institutions should encourage applicants to accept or decline the offers promptly using the Research Portal.

Institutions are accountable for the accuracy of award recommendations that they enter into the Research Portal.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify the Research Portal between April 1 and January 31 for results of the competition.

Selection Process

Institutions will conduct a rigorous and transparent merit review selection process to identify applicants to whom an award should be offered. The applications will be available to institutions using the Research Portal in electronic format (PDF). Only application material submitted using the Research Portal can be considered during the merit review selection process. Pages in excess of the number permitted must be removed before the selection process begins.

Appointment of the Institutional Selection Committee(s)

Each institution will establish the number of selection committees required to conduct the selection process that will determine the meritorious applicants. It is anticipated that committees will be interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary in nature and by field of research (health, natural sciences and engineering and social sciences and humanities), where appropriate and where warranted (depending on institution allocations).

The appointment of institutional selection committee(s) will be managed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent). 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.

Individuals unaffiliated with the host institution may be members of the selection committees, particularly for the purposes of dealing with subject matter gaps caused by conflicts of interest and to ensure that applications in both official languages can be reviewed. In all cases the members of the selection committees will agree to respect the institution’s confidentiality and privacy rules. Institutions may refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations for additional information.

Conflicts of Interest

Institutions will have in place conflict of interest rules for the review and selection of CGS M applications. Institutions may refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations for additional information.

Review of Applications by the Institutional Selection Committee(s)

Applications will be assessed according to the selection criteria. The purpose of the review is to identify those who will be offered a CGS M and to establish a ranked list of alternate candidates who would be offered a scholarship if offers made to other candidates are declined.

Selection Criteria

The merit review of CGS M applications will be based on the selection criteria below. Particular weights are assigned to the criteria and committee members will take each into consideration when assigning a global score to an application. Institutions may use their own marking scheme to assign scores to applications so long as the proportional weight of each criterion is respected. Institutions will not add criteria to this list.

In applying the evaluation criteria, it is important to take into account all information provided within the application as well as the individual applicant’s stage in his or her academic program. Committee members will also take into consideration special circumstances that may have interrupted or delayed the completion of an applicant’s current or previous degree, as described in the application. Only information included in the application will be taken into account.

Institutions may offer a CGS M award to applicants who have not obtained a first-class average if there is a strong rationale. This must be documented and reported to the agencies in the Financial and Awards Report.

Criteria Description Weight
Academic Excellence As demonstrated by past academic results, transcripts, awards and distinctions.

Indicators of Academic Excellence:
  • Academic record (first class average)
  • Scholarships and awards held
  • Duration of previous studies
  • Type of program and courses pursued
  • Course load
  • Relative standing (if available)
50%
Research Potential As demonstrated by the applicant’s research history, his/her interest in discovery, the proposed research, its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field, and any anticipated outcomes.

Indicators of Research Potential:
  • Quality and originality of contributions to research and development
  • Relevance of work experience and academic training to field of proposed research
  • Significance, feasibility, and merit of proposed research
  • Good judgment and ability to think critically
  • Ability to apply skills and knowledge
  • Initiative, autonomy and independence
  • Research experience and achievements relative to expectations of someone with the candidate’s academic experience
30%
Personal Characteristics and Interpersonal Skills As demonstrated by the applicant’s past professional and relevant extracurricular interactions and collaborations.

Indicators of Personal Characteristics and Interpersonal Skills:
  • Work experience
  • Leadership experience
  • Project management including organizing conferences and meetings
  • The ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats
  • Involvement in academic life
  • Volunteerism/community outreach
20%


Award Administration

Lists of Meritorious Applicants and Alternates

For each competition, institutions will establish a list of applicants to whom awards will be offered as of April 1. All meritorious and eligible applicants who rank below the allocation cut-off should be included in the alternate list. Should awards become available prior to January 31 of the following calendar year, applicants on the alternate list may receive offers. Applicants with a status of Ineligible or Not Offered will be unable to receive an offer of award should one become available. Institutions must ensure to update the statuses for all applications received in accordance with the competition results by April 21 at the latest. Once this task has been completed, no application statuses should remain at the status of Received by Administrator.

Applicants may only accept one CGS M offer. If they accept an offer, any other potential or actual offers (if applicable) will be declined automatically by the Research Portal, and they will not be eligible to receive further offers. Applicants are not eligible to receive or accept a CGS M offer from an institution where they are not enrolled, or where they have not applied for admission to an eligible program of study by the internal deadline set by the institution(s). Only once admitted into the program of study will the applicant be eligible to hold the award. Should the applicant not become eligible to take up the award by the last available start date, the application status will have to be set to Ineligible.

Approval of CGS M by Agencies

Once the CGS M offers (including the Terms and Conditions of the Awards) have been accepted by the applicants, the institutions will provide the agencies with the list of recommended awards for approval using the Financial and Award Report in the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet. The agencies will authorize the financial transfer subject to the availability of funds.

Payment of Awards

The agencies will transfer funds to the institutions for awards that have been approved as described above. Institutions will administer the awards throughout their lifecycle.

Location of Tenure of Awards

Awards must be held at the institution where the offer of award originates. Awards are not intended to be portable; however, at the discretion of the host institution, according to their academic and administrative regulations, exceptions may be made for the following reasons:

  • extenuating circumstances (as determined by the host institution);
  • change of department or supervisor within the institution, as long as the award falls within the same field of research (Health, Natural Sciences and/or Engineering, or Social Sciences and/or Humanities) and award eligibility requirements continue to be met.

Allocations of offers of awards cannot be carried over from one year to the next. Unused allocations in one year cannot be added to the next year’s allocation. At fiscal year’s end, institutions must return unused funds to the agencies.

Institutions must ensure that the funds allocated for the CGS M awards are used for the purposes for which they are intended.

Institutions are responsible for ensuring that award holders have met all eligibility requirements before commencing payment of awards and on an ongoing basis.

Post-Award Administration

Institutions are responsible for CGS M post-award administration including declines, terminations, leaves of absences, deferments, and payments to students with full-time and part-time status. Questions about the program, as well as requests for changes in award holder’s status in the program, will be directed to the institution’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent). Refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Award Holder’s Guide for policies and requirements concerning post-award administration.

Award Reporting and Financial Management

Institutions are responsible for the financial management of the awards on a fiscal year basis. They must complete and update the Financial and Award Report available on the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet.

Monitoring

The agencies will conduct periodic reviews of the selection processes implemented at the institutional level. Agencies may contact institutions to request corrective action if they deem it necessary.

Appeals

Appeals related to the CGS M competition processes are to be managed at the institutional level in accordance with their own appeal policies.

For More Information

The agencies ask SLOs to use the following dedicated email addresses when corresponding with the agencies on all application and award related matters:

CIHR

Tel.: 613-952-0763
Email: cgsma@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

NSERC

Contact List
Email: schol-slo@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

SSHRC

Tel.: 613-943-7777
Email: uni.liaison@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

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