Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships

2020 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships

Award Overview

Student Submission Deadline: Fall 2019 – December 11th 2019, 4:30pm. Student to submit directly to SGS (revised)
$40,000 (+ up to $20,000 travel) per year for three years
Level of Study:
Required Legal Status:
Domestic or International
SGS will notify all applicants of the University competition results in January.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship Program aims to 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. Up to twenty (20) Scholars will be selected in the 2020 competition.

Value & Duration

Scholars 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
  • $20,000 per year for three years, as a research and travel allowance.

Scholars must:

  • Attend a community retreat and two Institutes of Engaged Leadership during the first year of their term;
  • Collaboratively plan and participate in a conference event during the second year of their term;
  • Work with other Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows on a creative knowledge sharing and dissemination project during the third year of their 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.

Successful applicants may receive multiple awards and accumulation is permitted to a certain extent. Beginning in 2019, the first $20,000 of the $40,000 stipend will be guaranteed to all Scholars. For those who receive multiple awards, the Foundation will reduce the amount of the remaining stipend in accordance with the value of the award such that a Scholar who receives an external award of $20,000 or less would qualify for $40,000 and those with external awards of $50,000 or more would receive $20,000.

Eligibility to Apply
At the time of application:

  • Applicants must have been accepted into or be currently registered in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd year of a full-time doctoral program in the humanities or social sciences*;
  • Applicants’ doctoral work must relate to at least one of the Foundation’s four themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and People in their Natural Environment;
  • Applicants who are Canadian citizens are eligible whether they are at a Canadian institution or an international institution;
  • Applicants who are permanent residents or foreign nationals must be enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution.

* The Foundation recognizes that many doctoral students are working on research projects that are interdisciplinary and qualify as advanced research in the social sciences and humanities, regardless of their faculty or department affiliation. Most importantly, all applicants must relate their research to one or more of the Foundation’s four themes. Due to the large volume of requests, the Foundation is not able to assess the eligibility of individuals’ research topics by email or over the phone.

* To date, the Foundation has offered scholarships to students in many fields, including public health, anthropology, communications, criminology, law, economics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, environmental sciences and political science.

Selection Criteria
The Trudeau Selection Committee is looking for

  • Academic excellence;
  • Leadership experience and abilities;
  • Thematic relevance of the doctoral research to at least one of the Foundation’s four themes;
  • Public engagement;
  • Desire to contribute to public dialogue and share knowledge;
  • Communication skills; and
  • 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. The Foundation encourages First Nations, Métis, and Inuit candidates.

Application & Nomination Process
Applicants must be nominated by the Canadian or foreign institution where they are currently accepted or enrolled in a doctoral program. Complete details on the application process can be found on the SGS website.

Revised: Due to recent application launch and deadline changes from the Foundation, applicants will be applying directly to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) for the centralized University competition (i.e. evaluation at the graduate unit level has been removed from this year’s application process).

The online application will be launched on the Trudeau Foundation’s website on November 15th. To assist in the preparation for the application, SGS has posted a PDF of the previous year’s Trudeau Doctoral Scholarships online application on the SGS website under the “Application Requirements” section.

In order to be considered for a nomination, applicants must:

  • Register for an account on the Foundation’s application portal;
  • Receive a username and password by email within 4 business days (check spam folder);
  • Complete the online application form through the Foundation’s portal, including:
    • Uploading scanned copies of their current official transcripts covering all of their post-secondary education, including grading legends (CEGEP exempted);
    • Entering the contact information for three (3) referees; and
    • Submitting the complete application online.
  • New: Email the SGS Graduate Awards Officer, Internal at tara.lock@utoronto.ca with a screenshot of their submitted application status and to notify SGS that they wish to be considered. This ensures that the application will be included in the university’s selection process.

Note: It takes up to 4 business days for applicants’ online registration requests to be processed and applicants are encouraged to check their spam folders for the login information. Applicants who already have an account from a previous scholarship competition can login using their existing login credentials or visit the Foundation’s portal and click on “Reset or create password” to receive new login credentials.

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their referees upload the letters of reference to their online application before they submit their application or by 4:30pm on Wed. December 11, 2019 at the latest. Incomplete applications and late materials will not be considered.

All complete applications will be reviewed by the SGS Awards Committee, which will select the top four applicants for the University nomination to the Foundation.


The SGS Graduate Awards Officer, Internal will notify all applicants of the University competition results in late-January (graduate units will receive a separate email notifying them of their applicants’ results).

In Winter/Spring 2020, the Foundation will select and invite finalists to an in-person interview in Montréal. The interview will be held in English or French, or in both of the official languages of Canada, depending on the language skills and preference of the finalist. Unsuccessful nominees will be directly notified by the Foundation via mail. Up to 20 Scholars will be chosen and notified by late April but will not be publicly announced by the Foundation until May.

Safety Abroad Requirements for Travelling Scholars
Safety Abroad procedures are mandatory for all U of T students travelling outside of Canada, including to the U.S.A., and must be completed before the travel occurs (regardless of receiving scholarship support). Contact safety.abroad@utoronto.ca for further information on the process and/or requirements below:

The following steps must be completed prior to departure and cannot occur retroactively:

  • Review the Safety Abroad website for details on what is necessary prior to travel date;
  • Complete a profile if a first-time user;
  • Log upcoming travel dates on the Safety Abroad Registry;
  • Complete the online Safety Abroad Workshop (valid for 1.5 years); and
  • Obtain supplementary health insurance (if not already covered).

For travel to a region designated by the Global Affairs Canada as “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” or “Avoid All Travel” students must contact U of T Safety Abroad at safety.abroad@utoronto.ca as soon as possible to learn about the additional requirements they will need to complete.