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IDRC Doctoral Research Awards Checklist 2020

Please note: Only online applications are accepted 

How to apply

Apply online here: (preferably using Firefox or Chrome)

Tasks to be completed online:

  • Complete the privacy statement, the eligibility questionnaire, and the application form. 
  • Upload all scanned copies of the documents requested below.
  • All documents should be submitted in either English or French (Canada’s two official languages).
  • Submit your application by 4:00 pm EDT the day of the deadline.
  • Incomplete and late applications will NOT be considered.

List of documents to upload by the deadline:

Please ensure all scanned documents are legible from top to bottom when opened.

1) Research proposal

Proposals must be written in clear English or French in 20-25 pages (not inclusive of bibliography), double-spaced, in 12-point font. 

To be eligible, proposals must use the following headings in the order listed:

  • Abstract of research proposal (max. 250 words)
  • Literature Review
  • Research question(s)
  • Research objective
  • Methodology
  • Tentative schedule of field activities
  • Ethical considerations
  • Gender implications
  • Expected results
  • Potential use of results
  • Possible beneficiaries of the research
  • Dissemination plan for results

2) Letter of affiliation

The letter must be signed and on official letterhead from an institution/organization confirming affiliation.

The institution/organization must be located in the country where your field research will take place.

If more than one country is involved, you must provide one letter per country.

The institution may be academic (a university) or non-academic (e.g., an NGO, a government department).

The letter of affiliation must indicate the institution’s interest in your research and how the institution will assist you (e.g. by providing an office, allowing access to the library or to previous research, introducing you to researchers in the same or similar fields, or providing scientific guidance, etc.).

3) Letter of approval from research supervisor

The letter must be on official university letterhead, signed by your research supervisor, and include the following items: 

  • Approval of the final version of the research proposal by your research supervisor
  • List of courses completed and to be completed in the program
  • Confirmation that all your coursework will be completed and comprehensive/oral exams passed before the award commences
  • Confirmation that you have been “fast-tracked” from one program to another, if applicable
  • An outline of key safety and security risks to the proponent while in the field and explanation of the university process for ensuring mitigation of any risks

Your supervisor should use this template for the Letter of approval by research supervisor (PDF document)

4) Official transcripts

  • Scanned versions of original or notarized/certified transcripts from your most recent completed degree AND of your current program, even if it is not completed. (Note: Web transcripts or Academic History are not recognized as official transcripts.)


  • If you are a citizen of a developing country and cannot send the requested documents, please provide:

A scanned version of the original signed letter on official letterhead from the university confirming the degree and the marks obtained.

5) Proof of citizenship/permanent residency

Only scanned versions of the following documents are accepted: current passport or birth certificate, or Canadian Permanent Resident Card. You will be prompted to upload this document only after having submitted your full application, including all other documents.

6) Application form to be completed online (includes the budget)

7) Two recommendations to be completed online

As part of the application, you must provide the names and contact information of two university professors (one must be your research supervisor). Once you have completed the Recommendation Request forms for your recommenders, they will automatically receive an e-mail notification taking them through the steps to complete an online recommendation form.

You will be able to see when they have completed the forms, but you will not have access to the content. It is your responsibility to ensure this is completed before the deadline. We recommend that you notify your professors of this process well in advance of the deadline. 

Please check the online system periodically to make sure that the recommendations have been received. Only when both are received can you click on the “mark as complete” button. Note that you will NOT be able to submit your application until this task is complete.

Important Information for re-applicants

You may only ever apply twice to the IDRA call and this must be in consecutive years.

If you were an unsuccessful candidate during last year’s IDRA call and want to reapply during the current call, you may do so by submitting a revised and improved proposal, in addition to the requested documents.

In the application form, clearly explain the changes made to the research proposal since your first application.

In the proposal, indicate where substantive changes have been made by highlighting in colour or using the track-changes feature.

You must also 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 themes will not be allowed to reapply.