Weston Family Awards in Northern Research – FAQs

Frequently asked questions

How many awards will be supported?

In the 2021 program year, the Weston Family Foundation (formerly The W. Garfield Weston Foundation) will aim to support the following awards:

  • Up to 15 awards for master’s level students. Each award is valued at $15,000 over one year.
  • Up to 10 awards for doctoral students. Each award is valued at $50,000 over two years.
  • Up to 4 awards for postdoctoral fellows. Each award is valued at $100,000 over two years plus up to $10,000 per year for travel and conference expenses.
Who can apply?

For master’s and doctoral level awards:

Students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program in the natural sciences at a recognized Canadian university, who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, and whose research aligns with northern scholarship are eligible for the program. Certain additional conditions apply. Please refer to the respective program guidelines (master’s and doctoral) or the online portal for more details.

For postdoctoral level awards:

Postdoctoral fellows whose research aligns with northern scholarship and who have support to begin a fellowship in the natural sciences at an eligible Canadian university or research institute under the supervision of a faculty member or research scientist are eligible for the program. Note that applicants must have completed or be scheduled to complete all requirements for their doctoral degree by September 1, 2021. Certain additional conditions apply. Please refer to the program guidelines (postdoctoral) or the online portal for more details.

What will I need to apply?

For master’s and doctoral level awards, you will need to submit the following documents:

  1. An application form, through the online portal
  2. Referee Reports
    a) Master’s award applicants: two referee reports (at least one from an academic reference, the other from an academic reference or northern community member/resident)
    b) Doctoral award applicants: three referee reports (two from academic references, one from a northern community member/resident)
  3. Official university transcripts
  4. Extended Stay project proposals (optional)

For postdoctoral fellowship awards, you will need to submit the following documents:

  1. An application form, through the online portal
  2. A Supervisor Report, two Referee Reports (one from an academic reference, one from a northern community member or resident), and a Letter of Support from the university/research institute where you plan to undertake your research
  3. Official university transcripts

For more details on each of these documents or items, please refer to the full program guidelines:

How will my application be assessed?

All applications are checked for basic eligibility before they are sent to an independent, impartial and arms-length Selection Committee for review. The Selection Committee reviews and ranks all eligible applications and then selects the award winners from the top applications. Award winners will be notified of the results of the review process in May.

For master’s and doctoral level awards:

Applicants are assessed based on academic excellence, research promise/proposal, and potential impact. Preference will be given to applicants who:

  1. Have a clearly defined research project that includes significant research time spent in the Canadian North;
  2. Demonstrate the importance of their research in furthering our understanding of northern ecosystems and biodiversity;
  3. Demonstrate excellence in research and effectively communicate the potential impact of their project; and
  4. Exhibit a willingness to communicate the results of their research within the scientific community, in northern communities and at national meetings.

For postdoctoral level awards:

Applicants are assessed based on academic excellence and demonstrated commitment to a career in northern science. Preference will be given to applicants who:

  1. Have a clearly defined research project which will result in the dissemination of research results through publications, conferences and/or other media. For applicants who currently hold a postdoctoral fellowship, they must demonstrate how their research as a Weston Family Award recipient will depart significantly from their current or previous postdoctoral research (a demonstration by publications and presentations that indicate the first postdoctoral fellowship has come to a meaningful completion are recommended);
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how their research project will contribute to the advancement of northern research, particularly how it will help further our understanding of northern ecosystems and biodiversity, and the ways in which this award will be pivotal to launching their career in northern science; and
  3. Exhibit a willingness to present their research results at scientific conferences and meetings and as well as a willingness to promote public interest in the importance of northern scientific endeavours.
Can I hold a Weston Family Award concurrently with another award?

This depends on the award.

For the master’s level awards, recipients can hold other awards concurrently (e.g. NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s Program, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, etc.).

For the doctoral level awards, applicants to the program who do not already hold another equivalent major award (e.g. NSERC CGS-D, Vanier Scholarship, etc.) will be given preference, however this depends on the number of applicants in a given year and types of other awards held by the applicant. As such, all highly qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of previous awards received.

For postdoctoral level award holders, you cannot hold other major fellowships concurrently. In addition, you cannot be employed other than to teach the equivalent of one full course per year at the university where you hold the award.

If I have received a Weston Family Award in the past, can I apply for another Weston Family Award in a different category?

Yes. For example, if you were previously awarded a Weston Family Award in Northern Research at the master’s level, you may apply for the doctoral or postdoctoral streams. Similarly, if you were previously awarded a Weston Family Award in Northern Research at the doctoral level, you may apply to the postdoctoral stream.

Contact Us

For any questions regarding eligibility, application requirements or the application process, please contact:

Daphne Wellman
Program officer
Tel: 613-563-1236 ext. 219
westonawards@univcan.ca

Universities Canada