Applications Now Closed

Thank you to all who applied to the Scotia Scholars Award (PhD). Applications are now closed.
View 2020/21 PhD Scotia Scholars Award recipients


The Scotia Scholars PhD Award provides financial support to research trainees with exceptional potential who are engaged in health research at participating Nova Scotia institutions.  The award is designed to support the growth, acquisition, and retention of highly skilled individuals who are advancing and translating knowledge in the areas of health innovation, mental health, continuing care, accessible health services, or the well-being of Nova Scotians.  For the 2020-21 academic year, funding for this award is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. 

Research Nova Scotia pursues equity, diversity and inclusion in Nova Scotia’s research enterprise and will integrate these values in designing and implementing its programs and services.

Health Research Funding Priority Areas

Research Nova Scotia is mandated to support research that reflects provincial health research priorities:

  • health innovation
  • mental health
  • continuing care
  • accessible health services
  • the well-being of Nova Scotians

Participating Institutions 

For the 2020-21 academic year the following institutions are participating in the Scotia Scholars PhD Award opportunity. Each institution determines annually how many awards and at what level of study will be issued.

Acadia University
Dalhousie University
Saint Mary’s University


To apply for a Scotia Scholars Award, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • At time of application have applied to, be accepted in, or be enrolled in Year 1, 2 or 3 of a full-time thesis-based doctoral degree program.
  • Be engaged in research activities relevant to Research Nova Scotia’s provincial health research priorities.
  • Achievement of first-class average is recommended, as determined by the host institution, in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent). *  
  • Be in good standing for enrollment in the upcoming school year.
  • If successful, maintain all applicable eligibility criteria for full duration of award. Awards are not transferable. 

*Institutions may, at their discretion, offer a Scotia Scholars Award to applicants who have not obtained first class average.

Funding Amount and Duration

Funding may be issued to PhD level recipients in an amount up to $15,000/year, renewable for 3 years.  See outline of maximum eligible funding available based on enrolment status below:

Enrolment Status at Time of ApplicationMaximum Eligible Funding Available 
Applied to/ Accepted in program$15,000/ year for 4 years
In Year 1 of program$15,000/ year for 3 years
In Year 2 of program$15,000/ year for 2 years
In Year 3 of program$15,000/ year for 1 year
In Year 4 of program or laterIneligible to apply

Please note: A student’s total funding from both the Scotia Scholars Award and external funding sources may not exceed annual funding caps established by each individual institution. It is the responsibility of the student to notify their institution of all external funding received.

Important Dates

Each participating institution has established individual deadlines for applications. Applications will not be accepted beyond these dates and times.

Deadline for applications and references   

Application Deadline: April 15, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. (AT)
Reference Deadline:
April 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. (AT)

Results will be provided to all applicants in June 2020 and funding can begin in September 2020. 
View 2020/21 PhD Scotia Scholars Award recipients

Application Process 

Step 1: Confirm Eligibility

Consider whether you meet the eligibility criteria (outlined above).

If applicants have any questions related to their eligibility, they are encouraged their graduate studies offices. Contact Information is available here. 

Step 2: Review Application Requirements 

Be sure to carefully review all application requirements, as outlined in the document below:

2020-21 Scotia Scholars Award PhD Application Requirements (PDF)

Note: Two letters of reference and all academic transcripts are also required. Please ensure you arrange for these documents well in advance of the application deadline.

Reference Deadline: April 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. (AT)

Step 3: Register in the Grants Management System (GMS)

Applications must be submitted through an online Grants Management System (GMS). Visit the site and select “sign up here” to create an account. 

Step 4: Complete Application

To apply, login to GMS to access the application, where information will be either entered directly into GMS or uploaded as PDF documents. Be sure to refer to the Application Requirementsfor detailed instructions.

Step 5: Ensure Letters of Reference are Submitted

Ensure your reference letters have been submitted by the referees directly to Research Nova Scotia prior to the application deadline. Applicants are encouraged to request letters from their referees specifically relating to this award and its objective. For additional direction on references please refer to the Application Requirements. 

Reference Deadline: April 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. (AT)

Step 6: Complete Application

To apply, login to GMS to access the application, where information will be either entered directly into GMS or uploaded as PDF documents.  When application complete select ‘submit’. Confirmation of your successful submission will be available in your applicant portfolio. 

Review Process 

  1. Each institution will assess applications to determine whether they are complete and meet the eligibility criteria.
  2. Eligible applications will be reviewed by each institution in accordance with their scholarship review practices and the assessment criteria outlined for this award.
  3. Institutions will submit to Research Nova Scotia a list of applicants recommended for funding, alternate candidates (if applicable) and applicants ineligible for funding.
  4. Research Nova Scotia will notify successful applicants of all funding decisions and implement the process for award acceptance and payment. 

Assessment Criteria 

The following criteria will be used by each institution to assess Scotia Scholars Award PhD applications:


Research Ability and Potential 

Indicators of research ability and potential:

  • Quality of research proposal
    • specific, focused and feasible research question(s) and 
    • clear description of the proposed methodology
    • significance and expected contributions to research in a provincial health research priority area
  • Relevant training, such as academic training, lived experience and traditional teachings
  • Research experience and achievements relative to the applicant’s stage of study, lived experience and knowledge systems
  • Quality of contributions and extent to which they advance the field of research. Contributions may include: reports, posters, presentations, creative outputs, knowledge translation outputs, community products etc.
  • Demonstration of sound judgment and ability to think critically
  • Demonstration of responsible and ethical research conduct, including honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to safety and to the dissemination of research results and adherence to the use of professional standards




Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia

Indicators of relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia:

  • Scholarships, awards and distinctions (amount, duration and prestige)
  • Academic record:
    • Transcripts
    • Duration of previous studies
    • Program requirements and courses pursued
    • Course load
    • Relative standing in program (if available)
  • Professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as:
    • managing projects
    • participating in science and/or research promotion
    • community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement
    • participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs



Application Support 

Application support for this award is provided by each participating institution. Please contact your institutional representative with any questions well in advance of the application deadline: 

Scotia Scholars Award PhD Institutional Contact Information

Acadia University
Theresa Starratt
Graduate Studies Officer

Dalhousie University
Niki Power
Scholarships Liaison Officer

Saint Mary’s University
Heather Gray
Graduate Studies Officer

Grants Management System (GMS) Support 

Please click here to download and view a Grants Management System (GMS) User Guide for applicants outlining how to navigate the online system. 

For any technical questions regarding the GMS, contact the GMS Help Desk:
GMS Help Desk

Please allow 1-2 business days for a response. Ensure any technical issues are communicated with the help desk before the award deadline.