Applications are now being accepted for the 2020-2021 Autism Scholars Award competition.

Student Deadline to SGS: November 29, 2019*
Value/Duration: Master’s – $18,000
Doctoral – $20,000
Level of Study: Master’s or Doctoral
Required Legal Status: Domestic (Canadian citizens or permanent residents)
Results: April 2020 by agency

* Applicants are to submit their application directly to SGS Graduate Awards Office and not to GDPHS.


The Autism Scholars Awards Program was established with the support of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to ensure that Ontario attracts and retains pre-eminent scholars studying autism. The Autism Scholars Awards Program aims to establish a research community that meets or exceeds internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge concerning child autism, and its translation into improved health for children through more effective services and products for children with autism, and thereby adds to the province’s capacity in diagnosis and assessment of autism and the quality of its treatment system.

Eligibility to Apply

  • To be eligible to receive an award, an applicant must be:
    • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada as of January 31, 2020; and
    • Registered as a full-time student in a master’s or doctoral program at an Ontario university at the beginning of the award period (Fall 2020) and remain registered as a full-time student throughout the term of the award.
  • A master’s student remains eligible until the end of the sixth term of full-time study;
  • A doctoral student remains eligible until the end of the 15th term of full-time study; and
  • During the year an Autism Scholars Award is held, the recipient is precluded from holding any other award that offers financial support of more than $20,000 for that same year (subject to the university’s own policies).

Application Process

All applicants must be sponsored and endorsed by the Dean of Graduate Studies at the Ontario university at which they are undertaking graduate study (the Graduate Awards Office will provide this endorsement to those applications put forth to COU). Therefore, potential graduate students should only apply through the Ontario University where they intend to hold the award.

New for 2020-21: Any sponsoring university is permitted to endorse up to two applicants per award level (master’s and doctoral) to the COU for the Ontario competition.

Each applicant must submit to the Graduate Awards Office an electronic copy of the following documents combined into a single pdf in the following order (excluding confidential letters) by November 29, 2019: Application packages must be emailed to

  1. The completed application form – attached, and available from:;
  2. Curriculum vitae – no page restrictions (must include information concerning the eligibility criteria);
  3. A statement of research written by the candidate describing the research to be undertaken during the period of graduate study (maximum 1,000 words);
  4. A non-technical summary written by the candidate (maximum 500 words);
  5. One additional page is allowed for diagrams, bibliography, etc.;
  6. Official or certified copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts are required. ACORN print-outs will not be accepted; and
  7. Confidential letters from two assessors (emailed directly from the assessor to before November 29, 2019). Letters should focus on an evaluation of the applicant’s research to date, and the research proposed to be undertaken during the graduate period.

Application packages must have all required materials submitted by the deadline. Components 1 through 6 are to be combined into a single PDF file. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Evaluation Criteria

Master’s and doctoral applications will be assessed on their talent, the excellence of their work, the vision that they bring to their endeavours, and the impact that the committee expects to result from the applicant’s work, as indicated by:

  • The program of study and research and its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge about autism;
  • Past academic results, demonstrated by transcripts, awards and distinctions;
  • Relevant professional and academic experience, including research training, as evidenced by papers presented at conferences and the candidate’s publication record;
  • Written letters of appraisal; and
  • Appropriateness of the choice of institution and supervising investigator.


The SGS Graduate Awards Office will notify applicants the University competition results in late January. The Council of Ontario Universities will announce the Ontario competition results in April 2020.

Contacts & Resources

Please direct all questions regarding the Autism Scholars Award competition or nomination process to:

Stacey Kwan
Graduate Awards Officer (Provincial)
Phone: 416-978-2205
SGS Autism Scholars webpage

COU Inquiries
Phone: 416-979-2165, extension 235
COU Autism Scholars webpage