Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement Holder’s Guide


The information in this Guide takes effect April 3, 2009. It supersedes all SSHRC's statements on awards regulations.

Please read this Guide carefully on receipt of your Notice of Award. This Guide contains important information regarding the payment and administration of your supplement.

SSHRC reserves the right to change award regulations and to interpret the provisions of this Guide as well as any conditions attached to an award.

Note: All personal information collected by SSHRC is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

General Regulations

All Canada Graduate Scholarships—Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (CGS-MSFSS) award holders must:

Supplements may be cancelled without notice if the terms and conditions under which they are granted are violated. Any payment made for a period during which you were not eligible to hold the CGS Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement must be reimbursed.

Roles and Responsibilities

The award holder, the university’s scholarship liaison officer (SLO), and the granting agency hold the following roles and responsibilities.

Award holders:

  • adhere to the terms and conditions of the CGS-MSFSS and the CGS award; and
  • immediately advise your granting agency and the SLO of any changes relating to their supplement.


  • administer the CGS-MSFSS;
  • inform students of university-specific rules and regulations to which they must adhere;
  • inform students of any program changes; and
  • inform the university’s business officer of any changes.

Granting agencies:

  • notify students in a timely manner of the decision made about their supplement application;
  • inform the SLO of the decision, and the business officer of any financial matters; and
  • respond within two weeks to any request to change any component of the proposed activities.


Value and Duration of Supplement

The value of your supplement is detailed in your official Notice of Award, to a maximum of $6,000. The value is based on the information and budget justification provided in your application package.

Students are expected to adhere to their research study period abroad as indicated on their application. However, should this change, please see the Changes to the Proposed Research Study Abroad section of this Guide and contact your granting agency. 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.

You must take up the CGS-MSFSS within one year of receiving the Notice of Award for the supplement. A CGS-MSFSS cannot be taken up during an interruption of a CGS award.

Note: The research study period abroad must begin before the end date of your original master’s, doctoral or Vanier CGS award.


Acceptance and Refusal of Supplement

You must notify your granting agency by email of your choice to accept or refuse the supplement. Please include “CGS-MSFSS” in the subject line. Notification by telephone will not be accepted.

Your granting agency will cancel any supplement not accepted by the deadline date indicated in your Notice of Award.

Your university’s SLO is responsible for administering the CGS-MSFSS funds. Please copy the SLO on any relevant communications with the granting agency.


Payment of Supplement

The supplement will be paid separately from the CGS or Vanier CGS.

Funds will be transferred to the university where the CGS or Vanier CGS is held. The supplement will be paid in one installment prior to the start date of the study period abroad.

The SLO at your university is responsible for the administration of this award. The SLO will inform you of any special paperwork to be completed.


Changes to the Proposed Research Study Period Abroad

You must receive approval from your granting agency before making any changes to the research study period abroad. This includes changes to the trip dates, location, host supervisor, host institution or proposed activities. Such requests must be made as soon as possible, preferably at least four weeks prior to your travel date.

To do so, you must send an email to your granting agency and SLO (include “CGS-MSFSS” in the subject line), providing a brief rationale for the proposed change(s). To support your request, you must also provide a letter or email from both your current and host research supervisors.


Termination of Supplement

If you terminate your full-time registration status before the end of the research study period abroad, you must advise your granting agency immediately for appropriate action.


Reporting Requirements

Two months after completing your research study period abroad, you must ensure that your granting agency receives, by email or mail, the following documents:

1. Activity report:

A report on your experience (maximum 2 pages) that describes:

  • the activities that were carried out and results achieved;
  • the ongoing activities resulting from the research study period abroad, such as joint publications, the development of new techniques, etc.;
  • any unanticipated benefits derived from working at, or attending, the host institution in relation to your current research objectives at your Canadian institution;
  • problems encountered;
  • advice on how the CGS-MSFSS funding opportunity could be improved; and
  • the start and end dates of your travel.

This information could be used for publication and should be written in plain language suitable for the general public.

2. Letter from host supervisor:

A letter or email must be sent from the host supervisor evaluating your performance, confirming your research study dates, and summarizing the positive and/or negative aspects of the study period from his/her perspective.

It is the responsibility of the award holder to request that the letter or email be sent directly to the appropriate granting agency (containing “CGS-MSFSS” in the subject line). For contact information, please refer to the Contact Us section of the Guide.

Award holders who have supporting documents written in a language other than English or French must provide SSHRC with a translation of these documents.


Taxation and Legal Issues


The granting agency cannot offer advice on income tax matters to individual students and fellows, given the uniqueness of each award recipient's personal financial situation. Consequently, you are encouraged to seek advice from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or from a qualified income tax specialist.

Specifically, you might find useful two documents published by the CRA:


The granting agency cannot assume liability for accidents, illness or losses that may occur during your research study period abroad. You are responsible for ensuring that you have appropriate insurance.

You are encouraged to communicate with your provincial health insurance office before leaving Canada; spending a significant length of time outside the country may impact the coverage available to you when you return.

Visa Requirements

The granting agency cannot provide information on visa requirements. For information on the visa requirements of foreign countries for Canadians or permanent residents traveling abroad, please visit the Visas section of the Travel.gc.ca website.


Contact Us

When communicating with SSHRC, please indicate your award number and specify the type of award (please include “CGS-MSFSS” in email subject lines).

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

Tel.: 613-943-7777
Fax: 613-943-1329
Email: fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

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

Tel.: 613-995-5521
Email: schol@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

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

Tel.: 613-954-1963
Email: SEEMSBESC@cihr-irsc.gc.ca