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Response to the House of Commons Standing Committee’s Report on Scholarships and Fellowship



December 12th, 2023 


OTTAWA, ON - Support Our Science is thrilled to see the inclusion of our recommendations in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research's report on the Government of Canada’s graduate scholarships and post-doctoral fellowship programs. 


This report includes all four of SOS’s recommendations to improve funding for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in Canada. In addition to submitting a written brief, members of Support Our Science gave evidence throughout the study, including oral testimony from Prof. Marc Johnson, Chair of the Board of Directors, Board Member Prof. Maydianne Andrade, and former Executive Director Sarah Laframboise. 


We thank the Chair, MP Lloyd Longfield, and the entire committee, for conducting this important study and including us in the consultation process. These recommendations are urgently needed and we look forward to reading the government’s official response and continuing our work to implement these new investments.


The Report’s Recommendations

Recommendation 1: That the Government of Canada, through the granting councils—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: 

• Increase the value of Tri-Agency graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships by 50%, and index them to inflation moving forward;

 • Increase the number of Tri-Agency graduate student scholarships by 50%; 

• Increase the number of Tri-Agency postdoctoral fellowships by 100%; and 

• Increase the Tri-Agency research grant budget provided to faculty by at least 10% per year for the next five years, to allow for increased graduate student and postdoctoral pay


Recommendation 2: That the Government of Canada extend the length of graduate scholarships administered by the granting councils—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research—from 12 to 24 months for master’s programs and from 36 to 48 months for doctoral programs


Recommendation 3: That the Government of Canada, through the granting councils—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research—expand the eligibility for Canada Graduate Scholarships (master’s and doctoral) to international students enrolled in Canadian institutions, keeping in mind practices of reciprocity and available funds


Recommendation 4: That the Government of Canada, through the granting councils—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, review the criteria for awarding graduate scholarships and consider creating specific supports for under-represented groups at the graduate level


Recommendation 5 That the Government of Canada, through the granting councils—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research—review the quota system used to award Canada Graduate Scholarships and Vanier Doctoral Scholarships to ensure that smaller institutions are not put at a disadvantage


Recommendation 6: That the Government of Canada amend the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Act and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act to include student representatives on the governing councils of these three institutions.


About Support Our Science (SOS): Support Our Science is a grassroots organization advocating for increased pay for all graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in Canada. For more information visit www.supportourscience.ca


Contacts

Kaitlin Kharas

PhD Candidate

Executive Director, Support Our Science 


Dr. Marc Johnson

Professor, University of Toronto

Chair of the Board, Support Our Science 


Stay connected 

Follow SOS on Twitter: @SupportOurSci 

Follow SOS on Instagram: @SupportOurScience

Follow SOS on LinkedIn: Support Our Science 


SRSR Response Dec 2023
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