All you need to know

Fields supported

These scholarships support research in the areas delineated in our Canada First funding proposal: data science in the broad sense, encompassing methodological research in data science (machine learning, operations research, statistics) and its applications in multiple sectors, including our priority sectors (health, transportation and logistics, energy, business, and finance) and any other sector of application (e.g., sociology, physics, linguistics, engineering).


The goal of this program is to support promising students in their training as future highly qualified personnel (researchers, professors, professionals) and, more generally, future actors in the field of digital intelligence, mainly in our IVADO members’ areas of excellence: operations research, machine learning, and decision science.


Date of next competition:

To be sure you’re notified of the competition announcement, subscribe to our newsletter and join our Facebook group dedicated to the IVADO student community!

Previous competition calendar for information purposes:

  • Opening of the competition: January 9, 2020, 9 a.m. EST
  • Application deadline: February 17, 2020, 9 a.m. EST
  • Expected results notification date: Late March 2020
  • Funding start date: April 1 or September 1, 2020

Amount, duration and terms of payment

Amount and duration

This scholarship will entitle you to up to $20,000 per year over a maximum funding period of six semesters or two years.

Terms of payment

The funds will be transferred to the research office of the supervisor’s home university, and the university will remit payment to you according to its specific rules. For projects requiring ethics approval, funds will not be released until approval is granted. Some projects may require specific agreements (e.g., pertaining to intellectual property).

Funding may be reduced, withheld, delayed, or rescinded under specific circumstances, which will be outlined in the letter of award.

Eligibility criteria

For students

  • You have earned your bachelor’s degree prior to applying, or intend to earn it by the competition results announcement date. Some flexibility will be granted in the case of applicants who provide adequate explanation for a career interruption or particular circumstances. Please include this explanation (e.g., parental leave, sick leave).
  • You intend to enrol in a program at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, McGill University, or the University of Alberta.
  • You have maintained a first-class minimum grade average (3.7/4.3 or 3.5/4.00) during your previous years of study.

For the professor filing the application (supervisor)

  • You must be a faculty member at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal or Université de Montréal;
  • If you are a faculty member at the University of Alberta or McGill University, you may be a supervisor provided that you are also a full member of one of our research groups (Mila, CIRRELT, GERAD, CERC in Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making, CRM, Tech3Lab);
  • You must have one of the following eligible statuses: assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, research professor, or visiting professor. Adjunct professors are not eligible;
  • You may not submit more than one application for this competition.

For the potential co-supervisor, there are no constraints.


Submitting an application

Go to our dedicated online platform to apply.
/!\ Applications submitted by e-mail will be automatically rejected.
The application package must include:

  • A questionnaire to be completed on the dedicated platform, INCLUDING a plain-language description of the project (maximum one page);
    – An example of a completed questionnaire is available here, and an example of a self-declaration form is available here.
  • The applicant’s CV (free format);
  • The applicant’s official undergraduate transcripts and master’s grades already earned if master’s studies already begun (please explain the grading scale in the case of non-Canadian universities);
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from the supervisor (current or potential), to be uploaded directly to the platform by their authors.

Evaluation of applications

Applications will be reviewed to ensure compliance with the program criteria (e.g., applications must be complete, must comply with the page limit, and must list eligible applicants and supervisors only) and obvious alignment of the research project with the field of digital intelligence. Only applications that meet all criteria will be forwarded to the review committee.

The review committee will be made up of university professors well versed in the IVADO areas of excellence, none of whom must be listed as a supervisor by any of the applicants. Subject to availability of reviewers, we will constitute a parity-based review committee. Given the small size of the community in certain fields, it may prove difficult to select expert reviewers who are not listed in an application submitted to the competition. In such cases, a reviewer may be required to assess an application despite being so listed; an external reviewer may also be asked to participate. The committee shall ensure by all possible means that no reviewer attempts to influence the ranking of an application in which they are listed.

The review committee will verify that the proposed project aligns with IVADO’s scientific orientations, and then rank the applications based on excellence as well as the projects’ alignment with IVADO’s overarching framework, which aims to promote multidisciplinary collaboration and diversity in digital intelligence.

With regard to excellence, the committee will specifically assess:

  • The applicant’s aptitude for research;
  • The depth and breadth of their experience: multidisciplinary and professional experience, extra-academic activities, collaborations, contributions to the scientific community and to society as a whole, etc.; and
  • Alignment of their experience with the proposed project.


For students

  • Be physically present at the supervisor’s home university;
  • Contribute to the IVADO community and our activities, including, e.g.:
    • Giving presentations on your research;
    • Taking part in training and knowledge dissemination activities;
    • Consultations; and
    • Providing support during various activities that are normally undertaken by career researchers (e.g., mentorship, including as part of the SEUR project, participation in evaluations, co-organization of events);
  • Acknowledge that you are a member of an academic community to which you will contribute;
  • Comply with the Tri-Agency Open-Access Policy on Publications. You are encouraged to publish your research findings (e.g., papers, recordings of presentations, source code, databases) in compliance with the intellectual property rules governing your specific situation;
  • Acknowledge the support of IVADO and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund / Apogée when disseminating research results and, more broadly, in all activities in which you take part.

For the supervisor

    • Provide a work environment conducive to completion of the project;
    • Oversee the student’s work.

Our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

To ensure all members of society draw equal benefit from the advancement of knowledge and opportunities in digital intelligence, we promote principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion across all of our programs, and we commit to providing a recruitment process and research setting that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, open, and transparent.


  • Does my CV need to be in a specific format?

No, there is no particular CV format to be followed. Note, however, that each element of your application package must help the members of the review committee to form an opinion. A CV that is too long or confusing may make assessment more difficult.

  • Are there any specific rules for the letters of recommendation?


  • As a candidate, can I send the letters of recommendation  myself?

No; letters of recommendation may only be uploaded by their authors, via the dedicated platform.

  • Can I send in my unofficial transcripts myself?

No; you must use the dedicated platform to upload all your official transcripts, including all current results.

  • Can I engage in any other paid activity while doing my master’s?

The funding amount is meant to allow you to focus exclusively on your research; however, complementary activities are equally important to your training. To balance these two aspects, it is acceptable for you to engage in paid activities that:

– are compliant with the policies of the home institution regarding other sources of income; and
– do not prevent you from doing the work for which you are receiving IVADO funding as if you were doing it full time.

  • Can this scholarship be combined with others?

This scholarship may not be combined with others funded by NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR or IVADO. Generally speaking, we do not encourage combinations with scholarships funded from other sources, but we do not prohibit them either, as they may be justified in some cases.

  • If I’ve already started my master’s, can I still apply for an MSc Excellence scholarship?

Yes. If you’ve already started your master’s studies, you must provide your undergraduate transcripts and any master’s grades already earned.

  • I’m eligible based on my grades from last year, but my more recent grades aren’t high enough (or vice-versa). Am I still eligible?

No, but if you can provide justification for the lower grades (e.g., medical certificate), we may accept your application.

  • As a student doing a professional master’s or DESS, am I eligible?

Not for this competition, which is focused on research.

Have other questions? Please send them to: [email protected]