IDRC Doctoral Research Awards

Études Bourses Bourse de doctorat  Canada
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The award

IDRC offers these awards twice a year in April and October toCanadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing doctoral studies at a Canadian university. These awards are intended for field research in one or more developing countries. Candidates must conduct their research in areas corresponding to IDRC program priorities.

Since 1982, IDRC has helped graduate students undertake thesis research in the field of international development. IDRC Doctoral Research Awards are intended to promote the growth of Canadian and developing-country capacity in research on sustainable and equitable development from an international perspective.

Research proposals that include comparative research between a developing country and Canada, or that have a Canadian component even if it is not comparative research, will not be considered for this competition. For such research, candidates should apply for a Canadian Window on International Development Award.

Have questions? Read the FAQs about the IDRA award.

Countries subject to approval

In principle, IDRC supports research in all developing countries. At this time, however, we do not offer awards for research that involves Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of),Somalia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia. 

Before issuing the award and contract, field research proposed in the following countries or territories must be approved by IDRC:

Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Eritrea, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Small Island States [including Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, São Tomé and Principe, Seychelles, Timor-Leste and Oceania (Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Kiribati, Palau, Marshall Islands, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna)], South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Who can apply
To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:  

  • be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a citizen of a developing country
  • be enrolled at a Canadian university at the doctoral level (when you submit your application, you must have completed several courses of the doctoral program but not necessarily all the courses)
  • your research proposal must be approved by your thesis supervisor
  • your proposed field research must take place in one or more developing countries and be conducted for a doctoral dissertation
  • you must provide evidence of affiliation with an institution or organization in the developing region(s) in which the research will take place
  • you must have completed coursework and passed comprehensive exams before taking up the award.

(You have up to 12 months to start your field research from the date we make the final selection.) 

Award tenure corresponds to the period of field research. In general, it will be no less than 3 consecutive months in each developing country researched and no more than 12 months. IDRC is responsible for field research expenses occurring only after the announcement of the results and from the date indicated in the official letter to successful candidates. The award is not retroactive: field research expenses that took place before the results announcement will not be covered.

The award will cover justifiable field research expenses up to CA$20,000 a year. The budget covers one return trip from Canada to the developing country or countries. It also covers housing, food, insurance, travel within the country(ies) of research, and several field research expenses. The award does not support expenses related to your relatives, spouse, or children.

You may apply for funding renewal for a second year of field work if the research requires a second season of data collection. However, renewals are an exception and are provided for research that may need to deal with the uncertainties of growing seasons and climatic conditions that affect data collection.

Number of awards
Approximately 20 to 25 awards are offered per competition.

April 1, 2013 (competition closed). Awards will be announced by the end of September 2013.
October 2, 2013. Awards will be announced in March 2014.

April 2, 2014. Awards will be announced in September 2014. 

To apply

Complete the eligibility and application forms online, and upload scanned copies of the documents listed in the checklist.
You must complete and submit your application before the deadline. We will NOT consider late and/or incomplete applications. You may submit your application in English or French only (Canada’s two official languages).

We will only consider applications submitted online through the link provided above. Please read carefully the information and eligibility criteria provided on this page before beginning the application process.

Re-application policy
If you are re-applying and your previous research proposal was reviewed and unsuccessful, please explain, in the application form, what changes have been made since the last application and specify where to find the changes in the proposal. Please note that IDRC policy stipulates that an individual cannot apply more than twice, if unsuccessful, for the same IDRC award.

Learn about the Evaluation process.

If your research poses ethical concerns, you may, at IDRC’s discretion, be required to submit the appropriate approval from your university's ethics committee.

Announcement of results
We thank all applicants for their interest. Candidates recommended for an award will be advised by email. Their names will also be added to the list of Candidates Recommended for an Award. Candidates not recommended for an award will also be informed by email.

For more information, contact us at


Checklist of required documents

Template of letter of approval by research supervisor
Frequently asked questions

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