Canada Graduate Scholarships—Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements

A Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR) Funding Opportunity

Value Up to $6,000
Duration 3 to 6 months
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
University deadline: set by university
SSHRC deadlines: June 10 and October 10 each year
Results announced August and December each year
Apply Application and instructions

Value and Duration
Application Process
Evaluation and Adjudication
Administrative Regulations and Related Information
Contact Information


Canada Graduate Scholarships—Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS) are available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who hold a Joseph-Armand Bombardier, Alexander Graham Bell or Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the master’s or doctoral level, or a Vanier CGS at the doctoral level.

This CGS-MSFSS supports high-calibre Canadian graduate students in building global linkages and international networks through the pursuit of exceptional research experiences abroad. By accessing international scientific research and training, CGS-MSFSS recipients will contribute to strengthening the potential for collaboration between Canadian universities and affiliated research institutions and universities, or other research institutions outside of Canada.

Supplements of up to $6,000 are available to active CGS Master’s, CGS Doctoral or eligible Vanier CGS holders to help offset the costs of undertaking research studies outside Canada for a defined period.

A total of 250 CGS-MSFSS awards are available each year, and they are divided as follows among the three granting agencies to reflect the distribution of CGS awards across the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health-related disciplines:

  • 125 awards for SSHRC;
  • 80 awards for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and
  • 45 awards for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Each eligible institution is allocated a predetermined number of supplements by each granting agency, as appropriate. CIHR may not allocate a predetermined number of supplements to each institution, as appropriate. The faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) is informed of the number of supplements available to them in each of the three areas of research disciplines. The faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) is required to set up an internal selection process to select which applications requesting CGS-MSFSS funds are to be forwarded to the respective granting agencies.

Value and Duration

The value of the CGS-MSFSS is up to $6,000, based on the information and budget justification provided in the application. Supplements are non-renewable. The defined research study period abroad to be covered by the supplement must be for a minimum of three months to a maximum of six months.

Supplements are paid separately from the CGS awards.

When can you travel with your CGS-MSFSS?

The start of your research study period abroad must be after the competition deadline date, but within one year of receiving the notice of the award. If you leave on your trip before the results from the competition are announced, the agencies will not be liable for any costs incurred if the application is deemed ineligible.

What kind of expenses does the CGS-MSFSS cover?

The supplement covers costs associated with travel, living and other expenses (such as accommodation, meals, tuition, insurance and other necessary, non-research-related costs) during the research study period abroad. Costs directly related to the research must be covered by other funding sources.



To be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada by the application deadline;
  • be registered at an eligible Canadian institution at the time of application;
  • undertake your proposed trip abroad no earlier than the competition deadline date;
  • not hold or have held any other CGS-MSFSS during the course of your graduate studies; and
  • have accepted or hold one of the following types of CGS:

To remain eligible during the research study period abroad, you must:

  • hold an active CGS award at the time your research study period abroad starts;
  • be registered full time in a graduate research studies program at a Canadian institution for the duration of your research study period abroad;
  • take up the award within one year of receiving the notice of award for the CGS-MSFSS; and
  • return to complete your degree in Canada.

Where can you travel with your CGS-MSFSS?

You may use your CGS-MSFSS for travel to any eligible foreign institution or research institution (see below for specific requirements). The choice of location for your research study period abroad, as well as how this period will further your research goals, must be justified in your application.

Host supervisors and foreign host institutions

Eligible institutions abroad include foreign universities, inter-university research centres, international or national research institutes or laboratories, or other institutions that actively carry out research.

Host supervisors must be affiliated and employed full time at a foreign university, inter-university research centre, international or national research institute or laboratory, or other institution that actively carries out research. Research assistants are not eligible as host supervisors. If the host supervisor’s primary place of employment is outside academia, he or she must demonstrate that they have supervised graduate student researchers.

If you are uncertain whether your host supervisor or foreign host institution is eligible, please contact the respective granting agency prior to submitting your application.


Application Process

If you are a qualified applicant, you must complete the necessary documentation and submit it to your faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) for consideration.

The common tri-agency application form is available on the respective websites of the three granting agencies. Only this form can be used to apply for the CGS-MSFSS.

You will be required to provide:

  • the name and contact information of the host supervisor, and name and location of the foreign institution where you intend to pursue your research/study activities;
  • a maximum two-page description of your intended research activities during your research study period abroad (including objectives, methodology, timelines and expected outcomes), an indication of how this relates to your main graduate research topic, and a description of the potential benefits that you will derive from working at, or attending, the host institution in relation to your current research objectives; and
  • a budget that provides estimates for costs of travel, living and other expenses during your research study period abroad (to a maximum of $6,000); and
  • for CGS Master’s and Vanier CGS recipients only, a copy of the research proposal for your most current CGS research proposal.

In addition, both your current research supervisor and the potential host supervisor must submit letters detailing their support of your research study period abroad. Host supervisors must also indicate that they have the resources available (e.g., financial, if any; supervision time; equipment; library access; etc.) to support your planned research activities.

Granting agency deadlines

There are two deadlines for the CGS-MSFSS funding opportunity: June 10 and October 10. Late or incomplete applications will be rejected.

Note: If an institution's allocation for CGS-MSFSS's has been reached by the June 10 deadline, there may not be an opportunity for further applications from that institution to be accepted for the October 10 deadline. If, however, a granting agency’s total CGS-MSFSS allocation has not been reached by the October 10 deadline, an additional opportunity for further applications may be added in February, as appropriate.

Institution deadlines

Your institution’s faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) has an internal deadline for your application, and selects which applications to submit to the granting agencies.

Evaluation and Adjudication

Institution review

The faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at each Canadian institution is responsible for co-ordinating the institution review of CGS-MSFSS applications. Based on the allocation received, the institution will submit a select number of eligible applications to the appropriate granting agency.

The selection process and review procedures adopted by the institution must maintain a focus on excellence. Applications must be evaluated using the following selection criteria:

  • linkage between the current program of research goals, the proposed research study period abroad activities at the host institution, and the candidate’s future research/career goals, including consideration of:
    • significance, feasibility and merit of proposed research-study–period-abroad activities at the foreign institution;
    • justification for the choice of host institution and/or host supervisor; and
    • relevance and anticipated benefits of the proposed research-study-period-abroad activities to the candidate’s current graduate-degree training.

It is the responsibility of the institution to notify candidates of the internal results of their competition.

Granting agency review

The granting agencies review the applications received from institutions for eligibility and completeness. CGS-MSFSS’s will be awarded to the eligible applicants through the institutions.

Notification of decision

The granting agencies will notify students of the results of their supplement application.

The CGS-MSFSS is paid directly to the institutions that administer the students’ supplements on behalf of the granting agencies.

The granting agencies will publish the names (and other basic award information) of supplement recipients on their respective websites. For more information, please refer to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.


You must receive approval from the respective granting agency before making any changes pertaining to the location and dates of your research study period abroad, your choice of host supervisor, your choice of host institution, or your proposed activities. Please see the Award Holder’s Guide C for more information.

Post-activity deliverables

Within two months of completing your research study period abroad, you and your host supervisor must submit, to the respective granting agency, an activity report of your experience abroad. For more information, please refer to Award Holder’s Guide C.

Administrative Regulations and Related Information

All applicants and scholarship holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Fellowship and Scholarship Applications and with the regulations set out in the appropriate award holder's guide.

SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR reserve the right to determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information therein. The agencies also reserve the right to interpret the funding opportunity regulations set out in their published materials.

For descriptions of SSHRC terms, see Definitions of Terms.

Contact  Information

For more information about the CGS-MSFSS funding opportunity, please visit the Resource Centre. If you have additional questions, please contact:

Research Training Portfolio
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON  K1P 6G4

Tel.: 613-943-7777

Scholarships and Fellowships Division
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 1H5

Tel.: 613-995-5521

Research Capacity Development
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0W9

Tel.: 613-954-1968