Scotia Scholars Award – PhD

This competition is now closed, thank you to all who applied.

The 2021 Scotia Scholars PhD Award provides financial support to students with exceptional potential who are or wish to be engaged in health research at participating institutions. Recipients will participate on a project supported by a research supervisor. This award will support the growth, acquisition, and retention of highly skilled individuals who are advancing and translating knowledge in disease detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, strengthening health care delivery systems, caring for vulnerable populations, and promoting better opportunities for future health and wellbeing.

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.

Funding for this award is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.

Participating Institutions 

For the 2021-22 academic year the following institutions are participating in the Scotia Scholars PhD Award opportunity:

  • Acadia University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Saint Mary’s University

Eligibility

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 Health Missions.
  • 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.

Subject Matter Eligibility

Research Nova Scotia uses a mission-oriented approach to research. This means we start with what we want to accomplish and build a research agenda and coalition of partners and projects to help achieve these goals. We seek to support creativity, diversity, and ingenuity in the research community’s responses to our mission challenges: proposed projects and research areas may include foundational/discovery research or applied research, in a wide variety of fields and disciplines.

All submissions considered for funding must reflect the health pillar of Research Nova Scotia’s mission-oriented strategy, which uses research to support a healthy population and strong health care system. Please demonstrate how the project contributes to one or more of the Research Nova Scotia health missions:

  • Advance disease detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention 
  • Strengthen our health care delivery system 
  • Care for vulnerable populations 
  • Promote better opportunities for future health and wellbeing

Additional information on the Research Nova Scotia Health Missions can be found on our website: www.researchns.ca/our-missions/

Funding Amount and Duration of Award

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

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (AST). Applications will not be accepted beyond this date and time. 

Reference Letters are due by Monday, April 12, 2021 at 11:59 pm (AST).

All applicants will be notified of decisions in May 2021. Funding may begin September 2021.

Supervisor

You must work under the supervision of a person who has been deemed eligible by your institution. An eligible supervisor is a person authorized to independently supervise students. If you have any questions about potential supervisors, please connect with the graduate studies representative noted below for your institution. 

Application Requirements

To be considered for an award, you will need to apply online and have the following items ready to provide via the online application:

  • Up to date CV. Formatting guidelines available in the online form
  • A 1000 word maximum Project Description. Provide a clear and concise description of the proposed project that includes:
    • A description of the issue/topic to be researched, the research objectives, and methodology. 
    • The potential impact these activities will have on the field of health research and the health of Nova Scotians.
  • A 1000 word maximum overview of applicant Research Expertise and Potential. The description should include:
    • Research instruments and techniques. 
    • Research discipline(s) and topic(s). 
    • Field of application. 
    • How past experiences have contributed to your interest in health research. 
    • Future career plans.
    • How you expect to be a leader in the health research community.
  • A 500-word description detailing Project Alignment with the RNS Health Mission area(s) identified.
  • Transcripts: Applicants must upload transcripts from all current and past academic institutions. PDF copies of official transcripts are required for all past institutions – you must also include legends and transfer credits. A PDF copy of your unofficial transcript or grade report is acceptable only for your current institution and will be validated by the institution to ensure authenticity.
  • Two Letters of Reference, one academic and one leadership, sent directly by the referee to apply@researchns.ca. All letters must be provided by the reference deadline. More information on the content of reference letters is available below. 

All uploaded documents for review must use minimum 1.0 line spacing, 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) left and right margins, and font must be 11pt minimum, black type. No condensed/narrow font types or spacing.

Letters of Reference 
Applicants must arrange for two (2) letters of reference (one from a supervisor and one leadership) to be emailed directly to Research Nova Scotia. Assessments should be completed by individuals that are familiar enough with your research and other abilities so that they can provide a meaningful commentary. You must contact your proposed references to ensure they are willing to complete an assessment for you in time for the application deadline. Referees must send letters directly to the following email address prior to the application deadline: Apply@researchns.ca.

Reference Letters are due by Monday, April 12, 2021 at 11:59 pm (AST).

Supervisor Letter of Reference
This letter should come from the applicant’s supervisor or potential supervisor and address the applicant’s demonstrated and potential academic and research abilities. Academic letters of reference must be submitted from an institutional email account. If a supervisor has not yet been identified, another faculty member may complete the academic reference letter. Please check with your institutional representative to clarify who is most appropriate for this role. The letter should specifically address the following attributes:

  • Critical thinking – judicious evaluation of all information, regardless of source (i.e., quality of analytical skills).
  • Independence – pursuit of knowledge or acting on own initiative, seeking guidance only when appropriate.
  • Perseverance – determined persistence in pursuit of goals despite obstacles or discouragement.
  • Originality – creativity or ingenuity in problem solving.
  • Organization skills – systematic, careful planning and coordination of activities, including ability to complete projects in timely manner.
  • Interest in discovery – an inquiring mind and a strong desire to pursue new knowledge.
  • Research ability – a natural talent or acquired proficiency for scientific investigation.
  • Communication skills – effective interpersonal and verbal and written communication skills.

Please note: if applicant has not met the requirement for first class standing, supervisor should justify why student should be considered for award.

Leadership Letter of Reference 
This letter must come from a person who can address the applicants demonstrated and potential leadership abilities. Specifically, the leadership letter of reference should address the following:

  • Personal achievement – significant achievement, for example, athletic, artistic, cultural, entrepreneurial, volunteerism, civic engagement, community outreach etc. 
  • Specific leadership qualities. 
  • Self-management – ability to prioritize and maintain a balance between work and personal life
  • Integrity – acts consistently according to ethical values and accepts personal accountability for the consequences of his/her actions and decisions. 
  • Social skills – develops positive relationships with a diverse range of people, cares about and listens to what others say, is supportive of his/her peers, is well respected, trustworthy, and dependable.

How to apply?

Applications must be submitted via Research Nova Scotia’s online submission portal, Jura. Follow the link below to create an account, select the opportunity, and upload all requirements as detailed above. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all the above requirements are provided for consideration. Additional details and guidelines regarding your Jura application are available in the submission form.

Jura Online Platform: researchns.smartsimple.ca

Please note: no applications or application components will be accepted after the posted deadline. All materials for review must be provided via the online submission form. Materials will not be accepted via mail or email. 

Review and Selection 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. 

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

Criteria


Research Ability and Potential 

Indicators of research ability and potential:


  • Quality of research proposalspecific, focused and feasible research question(s) and 
  • objective(s)
  • 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

Weight


50%

Criteria


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

Weight


50%

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
902.585.1914
Theresa.Starratt@acadiau.ca

Dalhousie University
Niki Power
Scholarships Liaison Officer
902.494.6246
fgs.slo@dal.ca

Saint Mary’s University
Heather Gray
Graduate Studies Officer
902.420.5069
Heather.Gray@smu.ca


Technical issues related to application submission via Jura can be directed to:
RNS Jura Helpdesk
helpdesk@researchns.ca | 902.424.8430
Jura Helpdesk Hours are 8am-4pm AST Monday to Friday.
Responses will be provided as soon as possible but please allow up to 24 hours for a response.