Skip to main content

Trees and People: Resilience in a changing climate – John G. Bene Fellowship 2018

Call for
Climate Change
3-12 months
Natural Resources
Far East Asia
Middle East
North and Central America
North of Sahara
South America
South Asia
South of Sahara
West Indies
Funded by
Bene Endowment Fund and IDRC
One award of a maximum of CA$15,000
Student award

This call is open to Canadians and permanent residents of Canada pursuing master’s or 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;
  • you must be enrolled at a Canadian university at the master’s or doctoral level (when you submit your application, you must have completed several courses of the program, but not necessarily all of the courses);
  • have an academic background that combines an interest in forests with social sciences. Applicants from interdisciplinary programs are eligible, provided their programs contain the specified elements;
  • your research proposal must be approved by your thesis supervisor and you must provide proof;
  • your proposed field of research must take place in one or more developing country and be conducted for a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation;
  • you must provide evidence of affiliation with an institution or organization in the developing region(s) in which the research will take place;
  • for doctoral students: you must have completed coursework and passed comprehensive exams before taking up the award; and
  • 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.

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:

Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Micronesia, North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Southern and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South Caucasus, and some small island states, including Comoros, São Tomé and Principe, Saint Helena, Timor-Leste, and Oceania (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna).

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:

Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic of), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Gaza, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Maldives, Mauritania, Monserrat, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Suriname, Tunisia, Venezuela, West Bank, and Zimbabwe.


IDRC has helped graduate students undertake thesis research in the field of international development since 1982. The Bene fellowship, a bequest from the estate of John G. Bene, is offered annually to Canadians and permanent residents of Canada pursuing master’s or doctoral studies at a Canadian university. Candidates should have an academic background that combines an interest in forests with social sciences (e.g., forestry/agroforestry/natural resources management/environmental sciences).

We offer this fellowship to facilitate field research on the relationship between forest resources and the social, economic, cultural, and environmental welfare of people in developing countries, particularly in the face of changing climate conditions. The successful candidate will propose research that benefits less privileged people in developing countries, aiming to increase the resilience of individuals and forest communities facing difficult contexts and challenges. Note that work focused on genomics and/or genetic modification is not eligible.

Learn more about John G. Bene.

Evaluation criteria

Using the criteria listed below, an IDRC selection committee will rate each application and will shortlist selected candidates. These will be forwarded to external experts and approved by members of the Bene family. An award may be made conditionally; i.e., the candidate will receive comments that 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 scope of the fellowship;
  • 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; and
  • the 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. The candidate recommended for an award will be advised by email in October or November 2018. Candidates not recommended 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 the email to your junk or spam folder. Please see question 4 in the Technical FAQ  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 to two working days before the competition deadline; i.e., until 4:00 PM EDT, June 18, 2018. 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 Trees and People: Resilience in a changing climate – John G. Bene Fellowship 2018.

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