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Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships 2021/2022 in Canada for Researchers

The Trudeau Foundation offers Doctoral Scholarships for Canadian Citizens and Foreign Nationals to study Social Sciences and Humanities at Canadian Universities 2021/2022.

Application Deadline: 5th January 2021

To be taken at (country): Canadian Universities

Accepted Subject Areas: Social Sciences and Humanities related studies, preferably one of the following:

  • Human Rights and Dignity
  • Responsible Citizenship
  • Canada and the World
  • People and their Natural Environment

About the Award:  The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship Program will help shape researchers into engaged leaders who are conscious of the impact of their research, connected to the realities of the communities in which they work, and open to non-conventional forms of knowledge. The Foundation is seeking candidates who are audacious, original, and forward-thinking.

The program will last for three years and will also provide generous support for Scholars’ doctoral work in the form of a stipend and a research and travel allowance.

While the pandemic will require that the process be much more virtual, the Foundation will seek the brightest emerging Scholars from Canada and abroad to receive this remarkable Scholarship, as has always been the case. Through the Foundation’s leadership development program, these Scholars will learn from a new cohort of Fellows and Mentors, leading lights in their institutions and communities, under the scientific theme beginning in 2021, Language, Culture & Identity. 

The selection criteria for 2021 ushers in important changes rooted in the Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024. Importantly, these criteria are built upon the definition of diversity outlined in the plan, including the commitment to a diversity of perspectives, now under the banner Plurality of Perspectives. We continue to seek scholars with the greatest intellectual capacity, while also looking for those committed to deep listening, profound curiosity, exploring grey areas, and demonstrating a willingness to engage with a diversity of people, cultures, ideologies, and perspectives. In tandem with this development, the Foundation is pleased its programs will bear the emblem Brave Spaces, accountable and democratic spaces where a multiplicity of ideas may be expressed and debated in an open and welcoming fashion. This commitment to Brave Spaces, privileging robust debates while offering a safety net of policy, empathy circles, and mutual respect, recognizes that challenging and sometimes uncomfortable discussions are important steps on the road to becoming an Engaged Leader. 

Also, of note, all eligible candidates must now apply to the Foundation directly. In the past, universities selected a shortlist of nominees, a step that will no longer be part of the process in 2021. Universities will remain a vital partner in our selection process, however, this open application will allow far more candidates to be considered for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. We look forward to applicants who demonstrate the greatest academic excellence and intellectual capacity, leadership and engagement, agility and resilience, and, importantly, a commitment to engaging with a plurality of perspectives.  

Selection Criteria

  • Academic excellence;
  • Leadership experience and abilities;
  • Thematic relevance of research to the Foundation’s themes;
  • Public engagement;
  • Desire to contribute to public dialogue and share knowledge;
  • Communication skills;
  • Desire to belong to a vibrant community made up of leaders from across sectors

The Foundation welcomes candidates embodying all forms of diversity, including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, language, region, and discipline. We encourage First Nations, Métis, and Inuit candidates.


  • You must be already accepted into or in year one, two, or three of a full-time doctoral program in the humanities or social sciences
  • Your doctoral work must relate to at least one of the Foundation’s four themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, People and their Natural Environment
  • Canadian citizens are eligible whether they are at a Canadian or an international institution
  • Non-Canadians (permanent residents or foreign nationals) enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution are eligible


  1. Candidates who are committed to a three-year leadership program and who meet the eligibility criteria can apply directly to the Foundation through the application portal.
  2. Universities play an integral role encouraging candidates to apply, recommending candidates (academic referees) and later, confirming the status of their students and other details.
  3. The Foundation reviews all applications and shortlisted candidates are invited to group interviews. Finalists proceed to interviews with the Application and Nomination Review Committee (ANRC) who ultimately recommend their choices to the Board of Directors for final approval.

Number of Awards: Up to 20 Scholars will be selected in 2021.

Value of Awards: If you are chosen as a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, you will receive:

  • Membership in a community of other Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows, all of whom are leaders and change-makers in their respective disciplines and sectors;
  • Leadership training from Mentors and Fellows;
  • $40,000 per year for three years to cover tuition and reasonable living expenses; and
  • Up to $20,000 per year for three years, as a research and travel allowance;

If you are chosen as a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, you must:

  • Attend a community retreat and two Institutes of Engaged Leadership during the first year of your term;
  • Collaboratively plan and participate in a conference event during the second year of your term;
  • Work with other Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows on a creative knowledge sharing and dissemination project during the third year of your term;
  • Work towards fluency in English and French with support from the Foundation;
  • Actively engage and collaborate with the Foundation’s community of Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows; and
  • Submit one research progress report per year.

Duration: 3 years

How to Apply: All eligible candidates must now apply to the Foundation directly. In the past, universities selected a shortlist of nominees, a step that will no longer be part of the process in 2021. 

  • It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.

Visit Award Webpage for Details

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