Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships competition.

Student Deadline to GDPHS:  December 11, 2019, by 4:30pm to SGS
Value/Duration: $40,000 (+ up to $20,000 travel) per year for three years
Level of Study: Doctoral
Required Legal Status: Domestic / International
Results: SGS will notify units’ nominees of the University competition results in December (graduate units will be copied).


The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship Program aims to help shape researchers into engaged leaders who are conscious of the impact of their research, connected to the realities of the communities in which they work, and open to non-conventional forms of knowledge. The Foundation is seeking candidates who are audacious, original, and forward-thinking. Each year, the Foundation awards up to twenty (20) scholarships to Canadian and foreign doctoral students pursuing research related to one of its four founding themes: Human Rights and Dignity; Responsible Citizenship; Canada and the World; and People and their Natural Environment.

Scholars will receive:

  • Membership in a community of other Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows, all of whom are leaders and change-makers in their respective disciplines and sectors;
  • Leadership training from Mentors and Fellows;
  • $40,000 per year for three years to cover tuition and reasonable living expenses; and
  • $20,000 per year for three years, as a research and travel allowance.

Scholars must:

  • Attend a community retreat and two Institutes of Engaged Leadership during the first year of their term;
  • Collaboratively plan and participate in a conference event during the second year of their term;
  • Work with other Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows on a creative knowledge sharing and dissemination project during the third year of their term;
  • Work towards fluency in English and French with support from the Foundation;
  • Actively engage and collaborate with the Foundation’s community of Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows; and
  • Submit one research progress report per year.

Eligibility to Apply

Applicants must:

  • Have been accepted into or be currently registered in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd year of a full-time doctoral program in the humanities or social sciences* at the time of application; and
  • Be Canadian citizens studying in or outside of Canada, or non-Canadians studying in Canada.

* The Foundation recognizes that many doctoral students are working on research projects that are interdisciplinary and qualify as advanced research in the social sciences and humanities, regardless of their faculty or department affiliation. Most importantly, all applicants must relate their research to one or more of the four founding themes. To date, the Foundation has offered scholarships to students in the following fields: anthropology, communications, criminology, law, economics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, environmental sciences, political science.

Selection Criteria

The Trudeau Selection Committee is looking for:

  • Academic excellence;
  • Leadership experience and abilities;
  • Thematic relevance of the doctoral research to the Foundation’s themes;
  • Exceptional communication and public engagement skills;
  • Desire to contribute to public dialogue and share knowledge, and to belong to a vibrant community made up of leaders from across sectors; and
  • All forms of diversity, including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, language, region, and discipline. The Foundation welcomes First Nations, Métis, and Inuit candidates.

Up to 25% of Scholars in a given year may be non-Canadians enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution.

Application & Nomination Process

Competition will be launching on the Trudeau Foundation’s website in mid-October.

Applicants must be nominated by the Canadian or foreign institution where they are currently accepted or enrolled in a doctoral program. Complete details on the application process can be found on the SGS website.

In order to be considered for a nomination, applicants must:

  • Complete a registration request form located on the Foundation’s website (launching in mid-October);
  • Receive a username and password within 4 business days (check spam folder);
  • Complete the online application through the Foundation’s portal, including:
    • Uploading scanned copies of their current official transcripts from all post-secondary studies, including grading legends;
    • Entering the contact information for three (3) referees; and
    • Submitting the complete application online.
  • Email the completed application, including transcripts, to by November 1, 2019, 11:59pm.


The SGS Graduate Awards Officer (Internal) will notify  nominees of the University competition results in December.

In Winter/Spring 2020, the Foundation will select and invite finalists to an in-person interview in Montréal. Unsuccessful nominees will be directly notified by the Foundation via mail. Up to 20 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Scholars will be chosen and notified by late April but will not be publicly announced by the Foundation until May.

Safety Abroad Requirements for Travelling Scholars

Safety Abroad procedures are mandatory for all U of T students travelling outside of Canada, including to the U.S.A., and must be completed before the travel occurs (regardless of receiving scholarship support). Contact for further information on the process and/or requirements below:

The following steps must be completed prior to departure and cannot occur retroactively:

  • Review the Safety Abroad website for details on what is necessary prior to travel date;
  • Complete a profile if a first-time user;
  • Log upcoming travel dates on the Safety Abroad Registry;
  • Complete the online Safety Abroad Workshop (valid for 1.5 years); and
  • Obtain supplementary health insurance (if not already covered).

For travel to a region designated by the Global Affairs Canada as “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” or “Avoid All Travel” students must contact U of T Safety Abroad at as soon as possible to learn about the additional requirements they will need to complete.

Contacts & Resources

For program information and the online application, visit the Trudeau Foundation website.

For information regarding the U of T selection process, please visit the SGS website.