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IDRC Doctoral Research Awards 2019

Call for
Agriculture and Environment
Inclusive Economies
Technology and Innovation
10 weeks to 12 months
Funded by
Approximately 20 awards of a maximum of CA$20,000 each
Student award

This call is open to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing doctoral studies at a Canadian university.

Who can apply

To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a citizen of a developing country, excluding countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia (but including Afghanistan).
  • You must be enrolled at a Canadian university at the doctoral level (when you submit your application, you must have completed several courses of the doctoral program, but not necessarily all courses).
  • Your research proposal must be approved by your thesis supervisor. Please provide proof.
  • Your proposed field research must take place in one or more developing countries and be conducted for a doctoral dissertation.
  • Your field research must correspond to IDRC thematic priorities. Applications proposing field research outside these thematic areas will not be considered.
  • You must provide evidence of affiliation with an institution or organization in the developing region(s) in which the research will take place.
  • You must have completed coursework and passed comprehensive exams before taking up the award.
  • You may not be in receipt of two or more active IDRC awards at the same time. No time overlaps will be permitted.

Other eligibility requirements include:

If you are selected for an award, you have up to 12 months to start your field research from the date of the final selection.

You must plan to spend a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks in the field when your research involves one or more countries in one region. The regions are: Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Far East Asia, Caribbean, Central America, South America, Oceania.

When your research involves more than one region, you must plan to spend a minimum of 5 consecutive weeks in the field in each region.

The maximum time for which research costs can be covered under this award is 12 months in the field; if you plan to stay longer, you must cover additional costs from another source of funding.

It will be your responsibility to ensure that you follow all Government of Canada travel advisories while applying, when planning your trip, and while in the field. IDRC will not approve travel to a region for which there is an advisory that all travel should be avoided. If you are selected and the advisory changes, you will still be required to follow it even after a contract is signed.

Research country exceptions

In principle, IDRC supports research in all developing countries. At this time, however, we do not offer awards for research that involves the following countries and regions::

Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Southern and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Caucasus.

Countries subject to approval

You may apply for research in the following countries and territories, but if you are recommended for an award, your application may be subject to a further stage of approval within IDRC:

Afghanistan, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gaza, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Micronesia, Monserrat, Myanmar, Sudan, Suriname, Venezuela, West Bank, Zimbabwe, some small island states, including Comoros, São Tomé and Principe, Saint Helena, Timor-Leste, and the Pacific Islands (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna).


IDRC has helped graduate students undertake thesis research in the field of international development since 1982. IDRC Doctoral Research Awards are intended to promote the capacity and growth of Canadian and developing country research to improve the lives of people in the developing world.

Special note about the Hopper-Bhatia Fellowship:

Female candidates applying to the IDRC Doctoral Research Awards (IDRA) call will automatically be considered for the David and Ruth Hopper and Ramesh and Pilar Bhatia Canada Research Fellowship. There will be no need to indicate interest; the top female candidates will automatically be considered for this fellowship, which is of the same value and has the same parameters as the IDRAs.

Evaluation criteria

Applications that are complete, that meet the eligibility criteria, and whose research subjects are deemed to fit with IDRC thematic priorities will be forwarded to an IDRC selection committee. External evaluators may occasionally be involved.

Using the criteria listed below, the IDRC selection committee will rate each application and will identify successful awardees, ensuring that the selection of awards represents all three IDRC program areas. Some awards may be made conditionally, i.e. the candidate will be sent comments which must be addressed before the award can be confirmed.

Note that no comments will be provided to unsuccessful candidates, even those who intend to reapply a second time.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications:

  • Fit with IDRC mission and thematic priorities;
  • Overall appropriateness, completeness, quality, and clarity of the research proposal;
  • Overall methodology and considerations of cultural, logistical, and scientific constraints;
  • Overall feasibility, duration, and timing of the research;
  • Originality and creativity of the research;
  • Potential contribution to existing knowledge on the issue;
  • Gender dimensions of the research;
  • Ethical considerations of the research;
  • Benefit to the communities where the research is taking place;
  • Suitability of the affiliated institution;
  • Potential for research results to be disseminated and used;
  • Budget;
  • Applicant’s capacity to conduct the proposed research, including academic training, local language capacity, professional skills, research experience, and knowledge of country/region of research.

Ethics Considerations

If you are offered an award, you will be required to submit the appropriate approval from your university's ethics committee, as well as approval from a local Research Ethics Board (as required and when possible).

Announcement of results

We thank all applicants for their interest. Candidates recommended for an award will be advised by email in October or November 2019. Candidates not recommended for an award will also be informed by email; however, this email will be sent via the online application system. (Note that your server may not recognize the address and may send it to your junk or spam folder. Please see Technical FAQ 4 for details on how to avoid this problem.)

More details

Before applying, please read the following documents:

If you still have a question after reading all of the above, you may contact us at

NB: Inquiries will be answered up until two working days before the competition deadline, i.e. until 4:00 PM EDT, May 21, 2019. Technical inquiries about difficulties encountered in the online application system should also be directed to Please note in your subject line that you are applying for the IDRC Doctoral Research Awards.

Read more about the 2019 awardees and their research topics.

If you are eligible for this opportunity we welcome you to submit an application.