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 you in your training as a future actor in the field of digital intelligence, researcher, faculty member, or highly qualified professional.


Date of next competition

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Previous competition calendar for information purposes

  • Opening of the competition: December 4, 2019
    Deadline for submitting an application on our dedicated online platform: January 8, 2020
    Announcement of awardees: February/March 2020
    Funding start date: April 1 or September 1, 2020

Amount, duration and terms of payment

Previous competition payment details for information purposes

Amount and duration

$25,000 per year over a maximum funding period of 12 semesters or four 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  • Funding may be reduced, withheld, delayed, or rescinded under specific circumstances, which will be outlined in the letter of award.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 master’s degree prior to applying, or are enrolled in your final semester of master’s studies. If you require accommodation for a career interruption and/or particular circumstances (e.g., parental leave, sick leave), please include an explanation with your application.
  • 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.
  • You have not previously been awarded an IVADO PhD Excellence scholarship.

For the supervisor filing the application

  • You must be a faculty member at one of the following institutions: 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 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 transcripts (please explain the grading scale in the case of non-Canadian universities);
  • At least two but no more than three letters of recommendation, including one from the supervisor (current or potential), to be uploaded directly to the platform by their authors.

Evaluation of applications

Composition of 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 director/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.

Review of applications

Phase 1

  • Verification of compliance of your application with the program requirements, including compliance with the eligibility criteria, presence of all items required in the application package, etc.
  • Verification that the proposed research project aligns with data science, our scientific orientations, and our commitment to promoting multidisciplinary collaboration and diversity in digital intelligence.

/!\ Only applications that meet all program requirements will be forwarded to the review committee.

Phase 2 

The review committee will rank the applications based on excellence, paying particular attention to:

  • The applicant’s aptitude for research;
  • Alignment of their experience with the proposed project; and
  • 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.


For students

  • Be physically present at the supervisor’s home university;
  • Contribute to leading our IVADO student community and to our activities; including:
    – Giving presentations on your research project;
    – Taking part in consultations, training activities, and/or knowledge dissemination activities;
    – Providing support during various activities that are normally undertaken by career researchers; e.g., mentorship, participation in evaluation processes, co-organization of events.
  • Acknowledge that you are a member of an academic community to which you are contributing.
  • Acknowledge the support of IVADO and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund / Apogée and/or the FRQ when disseminating research results and, more broadly, in all activities in which you take part.
  • Publish your research findings/tools (e.g., papers, recordings of presentations, source code, databases) in compliance with the applicable intellectual property rules and the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

For the supervisor

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

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 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 PhD, can I still apply for a PhD Excellence scholarship?

Yes, provided that you provide your master’s transcripts and any PhD 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.

  • Can I engage in any other paid activity while doing my PhD?

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.