Queen Elizabeth Scholarships 2019 – FAQs

Key dates and figures

What is the deadline for the request for proposals?

The submission deadline is Friday, November 4, 2019 at 4:00pm (EST).

What is the duration of the program?

Universities are invited to submit one project proposal. All project activities and final reports must be completed by December 31, 2024.

What is the proposed start date for student activities?

Student activities are anticipated to begin April 1, 2020 (subject to the signing of a Contribution Agreement between Rideau Hall Foundation and the Canadian university).

What is the total value of this program?

The total value of this program is expected to be up to $1,800,000 CAD.

Projects must be completed by December 31, 2024. Does this include final reporting, or can that be completed in early 2025?

Final reports will be due no later than December 31, 2024. Universities Canada will require January to March 2025 to review final reports, issue final payments and compile the results of the program.

With regards to the potential for 1 or more Canadian universities to submit a joint proposal, would the maximum amount of the proposal still be $300,000, split between the partnering Canadian universities? Or could the proposal amount exceed $300,000 and then be shared between the joint institutions?

The maximum amount per project proposal is $300,000. If the Canadian university chooses to submit a joint proposal, the maximum amount would still be $300,000.

The guidelines states that the funding is maximized at $300,000 per project proposal. Is the $300,000 the total amount for the proposal including the Canadian university funding contribution, or is that the amount we can request from the project, and compliment it with the Canadian university funding? (So, the total amount of the project would exceed the $300,000).

The $300,000 is the maximum contribution that can be requested from the QES per project. Universities will be expected to contribute to project costs and higher (but realistic) contributions will be viewed favourably by the selection committee. There is no maximum amount to Canadian university’s contribution. Please note contributions may include: in-kind or cash contributions. The cash, in-kind and leveraged contribution(s) provided by the university, the partner institution/organisation and/or participant.

Could you clarify the expected start date of the program? It seems like we will only find out in January if we are successful, but should we plan our program around a spring 2020 or a fall 2020 start date?

We anticipate sending results to universities in late 2019 or early 2020. Subject to the signing of the contribution agreement, it is at the discretion of the Canadian university when to implement program activities, but April 1, 2020 would be a realistic target date.

When you refer to ‘year’, is this the calendar year, the university year or other? When will financial reports be due?

The QES program operates on a fiscal year that runs from April 1 to March 31.   Financial reports must be submitted no later than:

  • October 31 for the period of April 1 to September 30; and,
  • April 30 for the period of October 1 to March 31.

Eligibility requirements

Can you confirm if previously-funded/current projects would be considered eligible for the current competition?

Yes, all current or previously funded projects are eligible to apply.

What will the program fund?

This call for proposals will fund a) awards for Canadian students to undertake internships in an eligible country and b) awards for incoming international graduate level students from eligible countries to study or undertake research at a Canadian university.

Are students who have previously received a QES award eligible?

We would encourage all universities to offer funding to as many students as possible but in exceptional circumstances and with prior approval, a previous award holder may be eligible.

What are the rules surrounding students with dual nationalities (Canada +)?

In the case of Canadian interns going abroad, they are required to travel on their Canadian passport and well as meet all visa requirements based on their Canadian citizenship as well as register with Global Affairs Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad.

In the case of incoming international students who have a status in Canada (refugee, permanent resident or citizen), they are not eligible for funding as an incoming international student.

“The program will ensure that 100% of funding will be issued to Canadian universities and at least 75% of QEScholars are Canadian students.” What does this mean? Does it mean that each proposal should ensure that 75% of the budget is aligned towards Canadian students going out on internships and only 25% towards incoming international students?

The overall program will ensure that at least 75% of QEScholars are Canadian (not that 75% of the program funds are awarded to Canadian students). The selection process will ensure that the overall program criteria are met; universities do not need to address these criteria in their proposal.

What is the definition of an internship?

As defined in the guidelines, “internship” is broadly defined as an opportunity for students to gain practical or professional skills, also often referred to as experiential learning. This does not include study abroad nor does it include conducting research related to the student’s Canadian university degree. Internships may include research undertaken for the host institution/organization.

Internships may be paid or voluntary positions.

Which academic disciplines are eligible?

The program is open to all academic disciplines, but the focus of all project activities must be in at least one of the following areas: health, education or social services.

What are examples of community engagement activities?

Community engagement activities go above and beyond the daily activities being funded by the QES (internships or graduate level studies/research). They are mandatory activities that give back to the host community. Volunteer activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Volunteering within the local community;
  • Participating in community events, such as roundtables, fora and panel discussions;
  • Peer mentoring, knowledge sharing and networking between alumni and current scholars;
  • Strengthening character and professional skills through public speaking, networking, problem-solving, and leadership activities; or
  • Applying global experiences or knowledge to enhance the local community.
Are the terms of reference for internships to be prepared once funding has been secured or as part of the proposal for funding?

The terms of reference do not need to be prepared as part of the proposal. Note that in the application form we ask how your university will help ensure the success of the partnership and how the QEScholars will contribute to the objectives of the partner institution.

Do you need to identify specific partners in the proposal?

If you will be sending Canadian interns abroad, you need to identify specific partners, or a strategy to identify partners if you do not have them by the time of submission.

With regards to the incoming international student coming to the Canadian university, how will the whole issue of `credit` be managed. Do they have to be obtaining a Canadian degree or can the study/research done while in Canada be transferred back to their home institution graduate degree?

The incoming international student may complete an entire degree at a Canadian institution or can be funded to undertake short term course work or research, as long as they meet the program criteria. In the case of incoming scholars undertaking short term study or research, QES funded activities must be directly linked to the Masters or Ph.D. program in which they are registered in their home country and the activity must be recognized by their home institution as directly relevant to their graduate degree.

The guidelines say “The program aims for a 50% contribution." Is this a target for the entire program or, is this recommended for each individual submission? Is there a minimum recommended cost-sharing percentage for this call?

The 50% contribution is the aim for the overall program. There is no minimum recommended for each project proposal; though a higher, but realistic, contribution may be viewed more favourably by the selection process. Note that as defined in the guidelines, the university contribution refers to the cash, in-kind and leveraged contribution(s) provided by the university, the partner institution/organization and/or participant. This may include:

  • Tuition paid by the Canadian students directly related to the credited QES funded activities, tuition waivers or discounts; other discounts or waivers to academic, living or travel costs;
  • Administrator/Supervisory time, researchers’ salaries and/or research assistants’ stipends, publication costs, communication costs, technical costs, conference registration fees, costs for organizing an academic event/conference and interpretation. The partner institutions/organizations may also contribute toward airfares, ground transportation, accommodation, stipend, etc.; and
  • Financial contributions from other sources including foundations, community and/or industry partners and other funding agencies.
Do medical residencies in the field qualify as internships for Canadian students?

Medical residences in the field (outside of Canada) qualify as internships if they meet all the program requirements.

Please define “Project” as per the QES program. What classifies as a project?

Universities are to apply for funding for one or more of the following:

  • Internships for Canadian students going to eligible countries
  • Scholarships for international graduate students from an eligible country to study or do research at a Canadian university

This application or “bundle” of activities is what is referred to as a “project.” How these activities are linked together is at the discretion of the Canadian university. A university may choose to limit their proposal to outgoing Canadian internships or to incoming international students or do both, all of which are acceptable options. Priority will be given to project proposals that focus on diversity and inclusion and which offer innovative solutions to complex community issues.

Is there any limit for overseas partners in terms of how many partnerships they can strike up for this program? We are in contact with an overseas partner about a potential partnership for this program and as they have already been approached by other Canadian institutions, they were concerned about whether or not this is a problem.

It is possible for an overseas partner to collaborate with multiple Canadian institutions on this program.

Is it possible for Canadian students to undertake research related to their degree or working with a Canadian researcher as part of this program?

Conducting research related to the student’s Canadian university degree would not be considered an internship. Internships may include research undertaken for the host organization.

Do international students have to come from partner organizations in one of the eligible countries or can they come from any eligible country (without having a partner in place)?

Incoming international students must be from an eligible country but do not have to come from a partner institution.

Do all internships have to be with university partners or can a student identify a placement and receive QES funding?

All internships must be with a university partner organization.

We would like to have students already enrolled at one of our partner universities come to Canada and do a full-time term at our university as a visiting graduate student. The students would register with our university but they would remain as enrolled students at their home university and would not get their degree from our university. They would take courses/programs/workshops and do community engagement while here. Would these students be eligible for the scholarship?

Incoming international graduate students are not required to pursue their entire degree at the Canadian institution; however, they must still meet all program requirements as described in the guidelines, and their time in Canada as part of the QES program must be recognized by their home institution.

Selection process

How many proposals will be selected for the QES program?

There is no predetermined number of proposals that will be selected for this program. The selection process will award the best candidates based on the applications received through the call for proposals based on available funding.

What does the selection process involve?

A selection committee including Canadian and other representatives from academic, public and non-governmental organizations will review all complete, eligible proposals received by the application deadline). Convened by Universities Canada the committee will assess proposals against the program’s selection criteria and will have the option of accepting, rejecting or providing conditional approval to proposals. It may also elect to approve only certain components or elements of a proposal the recommended proposals will be sent to the Rideau Hall Foundation for approval.  Results are expected to be emailed to applicants in late 2019/early 2020.

In the guidelines, it states that “at least 75% of QE Scholars are Canadian students.” Does this mean that applications with an emphasis on incoming international grad students will not be reviewed favourably?

The selection process will ensure that the overall program criteria are met. Selection will be based on the quality of the proposed activities the university is undertaking. Therefore, a proposal that has a very strong approach with only one activity may be received more favourably than a proposal with weak approaches over the two activities and vice versa.

What is eligible as "academic credit"?

All students must receive academic credit for the successful completion of their QES funded activities. How the credit is attributed is to be determined by the Canadian university. In the case of incoming scholars undertaking short-term study or research, QES funded activities must be directly linked to the Masters or Ph.D. program in which they are registered in their home country, and their home university must confirm that the QES funded time in Canada is a recognized part of the graduate-level program in which they are enrolled.

Will submissions made in French be reviewed by the submissions committee on equal footing with submissions made in English? In other words, could the selection committee give preference to proposals submitted in English over those submitted in French?

All submissions will receive equal consideration by the selection committee and French proposals will be evaluated by French-speaking members of the selection committee.

Submitting an application

What is the maximum amount awarded for a call for proposal?

Canadian universities may submit one project proposal and seek QES project funding of up to $300,000 CAD.

Who can apply for funding?

Canadian universities which have recognized provincial degree-granting powers or their affiliates may submit a proposal to the QES program. Universities may partner with another Canadian university (or universities) for a joint proposal; however, each university may only be the lead applicant in one submission to the program.

Do universities need to apply for both types of activities (internships and international students)?

No, universities may submit a proposal for projects that comprise of one or both program activities.

When will universities be notified of the results of their applications?

Results are expected to be emailed to all applicants in late 2019/early 2020.

How frequently will Universities Canada update its FAQs page? Are we going to receive responses to our requests individually or should we be referring to the Universities Canada’s page?

Universities Canada will respond to all email inquiries sent to QES2019@univcan.ca within one working day if received by Monday, October 28, 2019 at 4 pm EST. All responses are posted on our FAQ page, which is updated weekly. The last update to the FAQ page will be on Wednesday, October 30, 2019.

It is mentioned that one of the requirements are letter(s) of support from each partner. Does this mean that we need letters of support from both the collaborator from the partner organization and from our university? For the letters of support, is it OK to have the letter(s) from the person that would collaborate with us on this project, and from ourselves, or do these letters of support be from a representative of the partner/ our university?

The letter of support would be from the partner organization(s), not the Canadian university. The letter may be from whoever is most appropriate from the partner organization, which is at the discretion of the Canadian university.

Can the letters of support from the partner institutions be written in French and others in English?

It is possible to submit some letters written in French and others written in English.

Is it possible to submit a bilingual proposal (with a combination of the 2 languages)? In other words, can parts of the submission be written in English and others in French? Or does the submission form have to be completed in only one language (English or French)?

It is possible to submit a bilingual proposal with some parts in English and other parts in French.

Is it necessary to include with our application letters of support confirming matching funds (e.g. from the university or other sources), or is it sufficient to simply add the amount of external funding we have secured in the budget under the “university contribution” column?

Letters of support to confirm matching funds are not required; however, we expect strong applicants to provide a detailed explanation of where the funds are coming from in the Cost-Effectiveness and Budget” section of the application form. The Canadian university will be responsible for maintaining all documents concerning financial contributions, including those pertaining to the partner institution’s financial contributions.

Eligible costs

Are any funds available for university program administration activities?

An activity fund of $1,000 CAD per student will be provided to support community engagement/networking/leadership activities and other project administration requirements. In the case of incoming international students undertaking studies/research for more than 12 months, $1,000 CAD is payable per twelve months. For example, if a university has an incoming international student doing a 2-year program, your budget can reflect $2,000 CAD for community engagement/networking/leadership activities and other project administration.

What is the minimum university contribution?

There is no minimum university contribution. A higher contribution will be viewed more favourably by the selection committee.  This program aims for an overall 50% contribution. University/partner/scholar contribution is defined as: The cash, in-kind and leveraged contribution(s) provided by the university, the partner institution/organization and/or participant. This may include:

  • Tuition paid by Canadian students related to the QES funded internship, tuition waivers or discounts; other discounts or waivers to academic, living or travel costs;
  • Supervisory time, researchers’ salaries and/or research assistants’ stipends, publication costs, communication costs, technical costs, conference registration fees, costs for organizing an academic event/conference and interpretation. The partner institutions/organizations may also contribute toward airfares, ground transportation, per diems, etc.; and
  • Financial contributions from other sources including foundations, community and/or industry partners and other funding agencies.

All contributions, be they cash or in-kind, must be justified and verifiable in the case of an audit.

Note: overhead costs are not considered an eligible contribution.

What is the expected student contribution to the program?

There is no mandatory or expected student contribution. Keep in mind that if the Canadian student is required to pay tuition while on internship; the tuition paid by the student can be counted as the student’s contribution.

What expenses are covered by the scholarships for incoming international students (i.e. tuition, airfare, visas, accommodations, etc.?

Please refer to the Guidelines, Annex C and D for a list of eligible expenses for incoming international students, based on the length of their program and host city. At a minimum, each international student must receive the living allowance and health insurance. Other expenses are eligible but not mandatory.

If the overseas host organization for the interns pays a stipend over and above the allowance paid by the project (even if it’s above the C$6,000 or $8,000 limit) or provides their housing free of charge, does that count as institutional contribution?

Yes, that would count as university/partner contribution. Please remember that in case of an audit, the Canadian university will be required to provide proof of all contributions, cash or in-kind.

Are costs that may be included in institutional contributions limited to costs that would be eligible to be covered by the program funds? For example, if the university paid the travel and living costs of a professor/administrator to travel to the partner institution/organization to supervise students, could that count as an institutional contribution?

The costs included in the university contribution are not limited to the costs covered by the program funds; however, they must be directly related to the project and be documented and verifiable in case of an audit. In the example of a professor or administrator to travel to the partner institution, that would be an eligible university contribution.

You say that the university contribution can include “financial contributions from other sources, including foundations, community partners, and other funding agencies”. Are there any limitations as to the source of external financial contributions?  

From the QES’s point of view, there is no limit to the source of external financial contributions.

Given a set of 4-month internships does all money have to be broken down into $6,000 increments? Hypothetically, if a university asks for $120,000 for a project does that mean they must have 20 interns or are they able to have fewer interns and use the balance of the money they receive to cover other costs related to the program (e.g. admin, flights etc.)?

Internships are for a minimum of three consecutive months (90 days) and a maximum of one year. The interns will be eligible to receive up to $6,000 for three to six-month internships and up to $8,000 for seven to twelve-month internships. These funds are for the intern. For the university, there is an activity fund of $1,000 per student per year to support community engagement activities in Canada and other project administration requirements which is not subject to audit.

Is there a breakdown of what the $6,000 or $8,000 provided to each Canadian student going on internship can be spent on?   What documents do we need to keep?

$6,000 is the maximum QES contribution for three- to six-month awards to Canadians and $8,000 is the maximum QES contribution for seven- to twelve-month awards to Canadians. Universities are to keep a copy of the transaction of giving the funds to the student as well as copies of air tickets and boarding passes for each student. The students are not required to submit any other financial documents.

Reporting requirements

What are the reporting requirements for universities and students?

Universities Canada will require successful Canadian universities to submit an initial workplan (narrative and financial), annual narrative reports, semi-annual financial reports as well as an end of project narrative report (templates to be provided). Before receiving any QES funds, all scholars will be required to complete a pre-departure form which must be approved by the university.  Scholars are also required to submit a scholar narrative report which will be due no later than 2 weeks prior to the end of their award. Universities and scholars will be encouraged to participate in program evaluation processes which may involve surveys, interviews and both summative and formative evaluations. The program will also collect data from alumni regarding the impact their participation in this program has had on their career and study paths.

Universities Canada