General FAQs regarding the IDRC Doctoral Research Awards 2017

Questions

1. I am a doctoral student interested in the IDRA. Could you please send me information concerning this award?

2. Can the IDRA be used to cover doctoral tuition fees?

3. How can this award be used?

4. What are my chances of being recommended for an IDRA?

5. Do I qualify for an IDRA if I am registered in a doctoral program but have not yet started my courses?

6. I am a citizen of a developing country. Am I eligible for an IDRA?

7. Which countries do you recognize as developing countries?

8. What do you mean by some countries of research “will be subject to approval” by IDRC?

9. If I provide you with the title of my research proposal, would you be able to tell me in advance if my project is aligned with IDRC’s priorities?

10. Before applying, can I contact IDRC program specialists to discuss my research proposal and get their input?

11. The website states that candidates must "have completed coursework and passed comprehensive examinations by the time of award tenure." Do I need to have completed my comprehensive exams when applying for the award?

12. My university requires me to complete one course after returning from the field. Would I still be eligible for an IDRA if for this reason I do not complete all my coursework before going to the field?

13. My total research costs will most likely exceed the CA$20,000 that IDRC offers. Can I look for additional funding outside IDRC?

14. I am a professor supervising a doctoral student who is eligible to apply for an IDRA. Your website indicates that the research supervisor should have "approved the research proposal" before the application is submitted. Do you mean that you want the student’s proposal to have been formally approved by the university supervisory committee? Or do you mean that the supervisor has read and approved the research proposal that the student intends to submit to IDRC?

15. Do the application deadlines remain the same every year?

16. I applied for an IDRA in the past but was not successful. Can I reapply?

17. I would like to start my field research before the awards are announced. Is this possible?

18. You indicate that you will be announcing the results in October. What are the exact dates?

19. What does it mean when a candidate receives a conditional award?

20. Can I conduct my field research in less than 3 months?

21. Can I use the IDRA for 2 different field research trips?

22. What if I am recommended for an award but my visa is delayed?

23. I am thinking of taking my child with me to the developing country where I will conduct my research. Could I use some of the funds to cover my child’s airfare?

24. Can a part-time doctoral student apply for this award, and receive it (if awarded) while still being part-time?

25. Would you tell me more about the David and Ruth Hopper and Ramesh and Pilar Bhatia Canada Fund?

 

1. I am a doctoral student interested in the IDRA. Could you please send me information concerning this award?

All details concerning the IDRA, including the eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and required documents, are available on our website in the IDRA call page.

2. Can the IDRA be used to cover doctoral tuition fees?

No, this award cannot be used to pay university tuition fees. It is not a scholarship; it is a field research award (See Question 3).

3. How can this award be used?

This award covers field research expenses for advanced doctoral students who intend to conduct their field research in one or more developing countries. Funds may be used to collect data and samples in the field, conduct interviews or surveys with local populations, and organize focus groups or workshops. Candidates must use findings of their field research to write their doctoral dissertation or thesis. You are not eligible for this award if you intend to use this award only to analyze or disseminate final results, finalize videos, or spend time in a lab. Candidates must conduct their field research for a minimum of 3 consecutive months and a maximum of 12.

4. What are my chances of being recommended for an IDRA?

The process is highly competitive. We receive a high number of applications during each Call and we will recommend about 20 candidates for awards for this Call. The evaluation criteria are available on our website in the IDRA call page.

5. Do I qualify for an IDRA if I am registered in a doctoral program but have not yet started my courses?

No, you do not. When you apply, you must have already completed some courses in your doctoral program. IDRC evaluators will need to see the transcripts of the doctoral courses completed to date (as well as the transcripts of your completed master’s program). You must also submit a letter of approval from your research supervisor for your research proposal. You cannot submit your application without those documents.

6. I am a citizen of a developing country. Am I eligible for an IDRA?

Yes.The award is offered to Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries who are pursuing their doctoral studies at a recognized Canadian university.

7. Which countries do you recognize as developing countries?

IDRC recognizes the OECD DAC List of ODA Recipients which lists the countries and territories eligible for Official Development Assistance. However, we currently do not support awards that involve research in certain parts of the World as we indicate on our IDRA call page.

8. What do you mean by some countries of research “will be subject to approval” by IDRC?

This only concerns candidates who have been recommended for an award. If you are planning to conduct your field research in a high-risk country with immediate, serious security challenges, IDRC may ask you to delay your field research, present a security plan, or change the country of research. The granting of your award will be conditional upon satisfactory responses to these security concerns.

9. If I provide you with the title of my research proposal, would you be able to tell me in advance if my project is aligned with IDRC’s priorities?

It is the applicant’s responsibility to read the IDRC thematic priorities to ensure that the research fits within these. It is not possible for an IDRC staff member to determine if the research complies with our priorities by reading a title or short summary alone. This will be determined during the evaluation process.

10. Before applying, can I contact IDRC program specialists to discuss my research proposal and get their input?

No. Again, this would be an unfair advantage and would place IDRC in a position of conflict of interest. We could no longer ask our program specialists to evaluate the proposal (even though they may be the best specialists to do so).

11. The website states that candidates must "have completed coursework and passed comprehensive examinations by the time of award tenure." Do I need to have completed my comprehensive exams when applying for the award?

No, you do not need to have completed all your courses and comprehensive exams at the time of application. If you are selected for an award, you have up to 12 months from the date indicated in the letter of offer to start your field research. This gives you time to finish your courses and pass your comprehensive exams. When you are ready to conduct your field research, you must sign a contract. Before preparing this contract, we will require your university supervisor’s confirmation that all courses have been completed and that comprehensive exams have been passed. Once the contract is issued and signed, we will transfer your funds.

12. My university requires me to complete one course after returning from the field. Would I still be eligible for an IDRA if for this reason I do not complete all my coursework before going to the field?

If your university requires you to complete one or two seminar courses after your return from the field, this will not be a problem. We will need an official letter from your university or from your research supervisor (signed on university letterhead) indicating which course(s) must be completed after your return and explaining the reason(s).

13. My total research costs will most likely exceed the CA$20,000 that IDRC offers. Can I look for additional funding outside IDRC?

Yes, we allow you to cumulate external awards. However, you must indicate in your budget which field research expenses you intend to cover with the IDRA and which you intend to cover from other funding sources. It is your responsibility to ensure that your other sources of funding allow you to accept the IDRA.

14. I am a professor supervising a doctoral student who is eligible to apply for an IDRA. Your website indicates that the research supervisor should have "approved the research proposal" by the time of application. Do you mean that you want the student's proposal to have been formally approved by the university supervisory committee? Or do you mean that the supervisor has read and approved the research proposal that the student intends to submit to IDRC?

We expect the candidate's research supervisor to have read and approved the final version of the research proposal being submitted to IDRC. We want to ensure that the research supervisor agrees with the proposal submitted by the candidate, that he/she has read it carefully, has made comments to the candidate, and has ensured that the candidate has integrated these comments. We also want to ensure that the research supervisor is giving proper guidance to the candidate. The letter of approval requested in the application package must come from the research supervisor, be on official university letterhead, and be signed. (The letter can then be scanned and uploaded to the online application system.)

15. Do the application deadlines remain the same every year?

No, the application deadlines change from one year to another. Be sure to regularly check the Graduate Student Awards page to confirm the application deadlines.

16. I applied for an IDRA in the past but was not successful. Can I reapply?

Yes, but you may only ever apply twice to the IDRA Call and this must be in consecutive years.

If you were an unsuccessful candidate during the most recent Call and want to reapply during this Call, you can do so by submitting a revised and improved proposal and all the requested documents. In the application form, explain clearly the changes made to the research proposal since your first application. In the proposal, indicate in colour or using the track-changes feature where substantive changes have been made. Also, you must submit a new, complete application including a new letter from your research supervisor approving the revised version of your research proposal. Evaluators’ comments from previous Calls will not be provided. Candidates whose research projects do not suit IDRC thematic priorities will not be allowed to reapply.

17. I would like to start my field research before the awards are announced. Is this possible?

Yes; however, the award is not retroactive. Field research expenses will only be covered from the date indicated in the letter of offer. If you have finished your field research by the time the results are announced, you will no longer be eligible to receive the award. If you are in the field when the results are announced, this award will not cover the used portion of your airfare or other research expenses incurred before this date, but it would cover the remaining portion.

18. You indicate that you will be announcing the results in October. What is the exact date?

The exact date is difficult to predict. However, results should be announced around the end of October in the IDRA call page. If results are considerably delayed, a notice will be posted in the awards@idrc.ca autoreply.

19. What does it mean when a candidate receives a conditional award?

Receiving a “conditional award” means that you have been recommended for an award but on condition that you make some changes to your proposal. You will have to respond to the evaluators’ comments. The award will be granted only if your reply is satisfactory. Any delay in responding could delay your departure to the field.

20. Can I conduct my field research in less than 3 months?

Field research for less than 3 consecutive months will not be accepted. The award covers 3-12 months of field research.

21. Can I use the IDRA for two different field research trips?

If you outlined more than two trips in your initial proposal and the evaluators agreed with your reasons for additional trips, you can use the award to cover the field research expenses relating to these (housing, local transportation, interpretation, etc.). However, please be aware that we will only cover one return airfare from Canada to your country of research. You must cover any airfare related to subsequent trips.

22. What if I am recommended for an award but my visa is delayed?

There are some exceptional circumstances in which candidates cannot leave for the field when planned because of visa difficulties, health problems, or other reasons. If such a situation arises, send us a written explanation and additional documentation (photocopy of your visa request, medical certificate, etc.). To avoid delays, please ensure you request any necessary visa(s) as early as possible.

23. I am thinking of taking my child with me to the developing country where I will conduct my research. Could I use some of the funds to cover my child’s airfare?

No. The award does not cover any expenses related to your relatives, spouse, or children under any circumstances.

24. Can a part-time doctoral student apply for this award, and receive it (if awarded) while still being part-time?

Part-time doctoral students are eligible to apply for the award, and receive it, if awarded (if their university program does not rule otherwise), as long as it is understood that it is their responsibility to cover the tuition fees while on the field as well as maintaining their university enrollment status.

25. Would you tell me more about the David and Ruth Hopper and Ramesh and Pilar Bhatia Canada Fund?

Women candidates applying to the 2017 IDRC Doctoral Research Awards call will automatically be considered for the David and Ruth Hopper and Ramesh and Pilar Bhatia Canada Research Fellowship. Thanks to a bequest from Ramesh and Pilar Bhatia, the David and Ruth Hopper and Ramesh and Pilar Bhatia Canada Fund was established in 2017. There is no need to indicate interest; the top women candidates will automatically be considered for this fellowship.