Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC

Information and Instructions for Scholarships Liaison Officers for Managing the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program

Table of contents


Definitions

Agency: any of the three federal agencies—CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC
Allocation: the number of offers that institutions may award on behalf of each agency for the selected funding cycle
Award: funding offered or directly held (in the award holder’s name) from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC
Award holder: individual who has an active award from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC
CGS M: Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s
CIHR: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
FAR: Financial and Award Report
Fiscal year: April 1–March 31
Institution: a Canadian postsecondary institution that receives an allocation for the CGS M program
NSERC: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Roles and responsibilities

Institutions are responsible for:

  • complying with the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions;
  • abiding by the policies, deadlines and guidelines for the CGS M program;
  • administering the selection process to award the CGS M;
  • managing the application status in the Research Portal, including setting the status to Offered for those recommended for funding;
    Note: Final decisions on funding recommendations rest with the agencies. Once the CGS M offers have been accepted, institutions must confirm the list of recommended awards for approval by completing the FAR in the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet.
  • administering the awards once they have been approved by the agencies;
  • reporting to the agencies on the use of CGS M funds and outcomes related to the program.

Registration process for master scholarships liaison officers

The Research Portal provides a single point of entry for applicants and institutions. It is used to manage applications, offers of awards and notifications of results.  

Each institution must have a designated master scholarships liaison officer (SLO). The master SLO has the authority to grant specific access to other SLOs and SLO assistants to help with the selection process, as outlined below.

To register as a master SLO, follow these steps:

The agencies will grant you the role of master SLO once your account is created and the registration form has been received.

The Institution Portal in the Research Portal is a secure electronic workspace for SLOs to:

  • view, print or save applications as a PDF;
  • manage the allocation process;
  • view the results of the offers of awards;
  • view the notice of awards as a PDF.

Note: Email addresses associated with SLO Research Portal accounts must not be used for the purpose of submitting CGS M reference letters, since this would prevent the SLO from viewing such letters in the SLO Portal.

Roles and access privileges

The Institution Portal provides the following three roles:

Roles Access privileges
Master SLO

Note: This is the only role that will be designated by the agency.
  • View, print or save applications as a PDF;
  • set application status (i.e., Offered, Alternate, Not Offered, Ineligible, Deferred, Acceptance Withdrawn);
  • delete or assign SLO and SLO assistant roles to other individuals;
  • access the Research Portal, Tri-Agency Awards Extranet and the FAR;
  • request award payments; provide award status updates, start dates, interruptions, leave of absence, deferments and terminations.
SLO
  • View, print or save applications as a PDF;
  • set application status (i.e., Offered, Alternate, Not offered, Ineligible, Deferred, Acceptance Withdrawn).
SLO assistant
  • View, print or save applications as a PDF.

How to assign or delete a role

This task can only be done by the master SLO. Before you begin, ensure that the individual to whom you intend to assign a role has a Research Portal account.

Assigning a role

  • On the Institution Portal page, click Scholarships Liaison Officer in the top menu, then click on Role Assignment Authority, and the page will appear.
  • Click Add user.
  • Enter the new SLO’s email address in the Email field.
    Note: This email address must be the same as that used by the individual to register with the Research Portal.
  • Select one of the following roles from the dropdown list.
    • Scholarships liaison officer
    • Scholarships liaison officer (assistant)
      Note: SLO roles are not agency-specific. SLOs will see applications for all three agencies.
  • Click Add.
  • Repeat steps 2 to 5 to add other authorized SLOs at the institution.

Deleting a role

  • From the Role Assignment Authority page, select the name of the SLO you wish to remove from the list and click Delete. A confirmation message will appear.
  • Click OK to remove the individual from the list. The screen will refresh, and the individual’s name will no longer appear on the list.

Competition process

Research Portal welcome

Log into the Research Portal using your email address and password. Two tabs will appear: (1) Applicant and (2) Institution (SLO). From the Institution tab, you can view the list of applications currently submitted to your institution.

The Institution (SLO) Portal page is divided into three sections:

  1. Allocations
  2. Application Status Summary
  3. Application Status

Note: The first time you access the Institution (SLO) Portal, you will be required to agree to the Terms and Conditions for the SLO before being permitted to view the applications. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

Allocations and application status summary

Each eligible institution is assigned a separate allocation from each agency. For more details, refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Award Allocations. However, note that previous deferments may reduce the allocations for the current year from what is shown on the web page.

Institutions must offer the scholarships according to their agency-specific CGS M allocations by year. Allocations are not transferable to a subsequent year or between agencies.

The Research Portal Allocations section is divided into two types: (1) Allocations by agency and (2) Allocations remaining.

Allocations by agency represents the number of offers that institutions may award on behalf of each agency for the selected funding cycle.

Allocations remaining represents the balance of allocations, as offers are made to successful applicants on behalf of each agency. As an offer is made, the total for the appropriate agency decreases by one allocation. If there are no scholarships remaining, the total for each agency is 0.

Receiving applications (December 1)

Applicants must complete and submit their application using the Research Portal by the program deadline of December 1, before 8:00 p.m. (ET). If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications must be submitted by the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET). Applications will be available to institutions in electronic format (PDF) through the Research Portal.

Viewing applications (application status)

To view submitted applications (status = Received by Administrator), click on the title of the application you wish to view. The Application Overview page will appear. On the Application Overview page, you can do the following:

  • Under Application, click View, and a printer-friendly version of the application will appear. This view will not include the attachments.
  • Under Attachments, click View to view individual attachments as a PDF.
  • Under Attachments, click Export application and attachments to PDF to view the complete application, including the reference assessment forms.
  • Under Canadian Common CVs Attached, click View, and a PDF version of the applicant’s CGS M Canadian Common CV (CCV) will appear.
  • Under Canadian Common CVs Attached, click View – reviewer version, and a PDF version of the applicant’s CGS M CCV will appear. Personal information (for example, address, email address) has been removed from the CCV. This version must be used for evaluation purposes at the institution.
  • Under Invitations, click View, and a printer-friendly version of the Reference Assessment Form will appear.

To filter, enter a value in the blank field under the relevant column heading and select the filter type by clicking . You can filter more than one column at a time. For example, to view all NSERC applications with an Offered status:

  • Under Agency, type NSERC and select the filter type (for example, Contains). All applications will appear in the list.
  • Then under Status, type in Offered and select the filter type (for example, Equal to) and all relevant applications will appear.

To clear filters, click , select “No filter,” and the page will refresh.

Note: In the Application Status section, the list of applications will automatically default to the current funding cycle. To view applications from a previous funding cycle, select the desired year from the Funding Cycle drop-down menu, and the page will refresh. The applications can be filtered or sorted by:

  • family name
  • first name
  • application title
  • last updated
  • status
  • department
  • agency

To sort, just click on one of the column headings mentioned above.

Application statuses

Received by administrator: The completed application has been successfully submitted to the institution by the applicant.
Offered: An offer has been made to the applicant by the institution.
Alternate: The application has been deemed meritorious in the institution’s competition; however, due to its ranking, it falls below the allocation cut-off. The applicant is therefore on the alternate list. Should an award become available due to a decline, an applicant on the alternate list may receive an offer.
Not offered: The application has been deemed non-meritorious in the institution’s competition. Subsequent offers will not be made to the applicant.
Ineligible: The application has been deemed ineligible based on the eligibility criteria outlined in the funding opportunity description.
Accepted: The offer has been accepted by the applicant.
Declined: (a) the offer from the institution has been declined by the applicant; or (b) an offer from a different institution has been accepted by the applicant; therefore, all other pending offers are automatically set to Declined; or (c) an offer has not been accepted within 21 days from the date of offer.
Deferred: Before commencing an award, the applicant may defer an award for up to three  years, for a maximum of one year at a time. Conditions apply; see the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide for details.
Acceptance withdrawn: The acceptance of the offer has been withdrawn at the applicant’s request.

Eligibility screening

The institution must ensure that the application is eligible based solely on the information contained therein. For information regarding eligibility, consult the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s program description and its instructions.

Institutions make eligibility decisions, based on guidelines for the CGS M program. The applicant must ensure that their application is complete and meets the standards of the institution(s) to which they are submitting.

First-class average eligibility
Institutions may, at their discretion, offer a CGS M award to applicants who have not obtained a first-class average. This must be documented and reported to the agencies in the FAR.

Program of study eligibility
An application can be deemed ineligible if the applicant did not apply for admission to an eligible program of study at the proposed host institution by the program of study’s application deadline or if the application for admission was rejected. Being placed on an alternate list for admission does not make a CGS M application ineligible; in this case, an offer of award would be considered conditional upon acceptance into the program of study.

Ineligible applications
If an application is deemed ineligible, the institution must inform the applicant by modifying the status of the application in the Research Portal. This can be done as early as the day following the application deadline. This change in status will immediately generate an automated email notification to the applicant informing them of this update. Institutions can control the notification timing by selecting the date on which they make their status changes in the Research Portal.

Subject matter (field of research)
An application cannot be deemed ineligible on the basis of subject matter. The subject matter of the research proposed must be aligned with the legislated mandate of one of the agencies. Additional information on subject matter eligibility is available on the This link will take you to another Web site Science.gc.ca website. Institutions are required to refer to these guidelines when selecting the area of research the applications fall under,that is, health (CIHR), natural sciences and engineering (NSERC) or social sciences and humanities (SSHRC).

SLOs may modify the applicants’ selection for field of research if it is deemed to be incorrect.

Agencies reserve the right to review the eligibility of applications to ensure that eligibility guidelines are met.

Selection process

Appointment of the institutional selection committee(s)

The appointment of institutional selection committee(s) will be managed by the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent). Each institution will establish the number of selection committees required to conduct the review. It is anticipated that such committees will be multidisciplinary in nature and by field of research (health, natural sciences and engineering or social sciences and humanities), when appropriate and warranted (depending on institution allocations).

Individuals unaffiliated with the host institution may be members of the selection committees, particularly to deal with subject matter gaps caused by conflicts of interest and to ensure that applications in both official languages can be reviewed.

Privacy, confidentiality and conflicts of interest

Institutions must have conflict of interest rules in place for the review and selection of CGS M applications. The members of the selection committees must agree to respect the institution’s privacy, confidentiality and conflict of interest rules. Institutions may refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations, This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act, and This link will take you to another Web site Privacy Act for additional information.

The Official Languages Act

Under the This link will take you to another Web site Official Languages Act, federal institutions, including the agencies, must ensure respect for the rights of individual Canadians to receive services from federal institutions and organizations that provide services on their behalf, in the official language of their choice.

The agencies are committed to promoting equitable access by the following:

  • ensuring that their funding opportunities enable the participation of both official-language communities;
  • providing applicants with equitable access to the information and resources in the official language of their choice;
  • monitoring and promoting the participation of official language minority institutions, researchers and students in their programs.

Applications can be submitted in either official language; therefore, institutions must have mechanisms in place to review both English and French applications. All applicants are entitled to receive service in the official language of their choice.

If necessary, institutions can request support from the agencies to help them meet the standard of providing service in both official languages.

Selection review

The purpose of the review is to identify those who will be offered a CGS M and to establish a ranked list of alternate meritorious candidates. Institutions should establish a list of alternates sufficient to ensure that there are candidates for their full allocation, anticipating a number of declined offers.

Institutions must conduct a rigorous and transparent merit review to identify applicants to whom an award should be offered. Only application material submitted using the Research Portal can be considered during the merit review. Pages in excess of the number permitted must be removed before the selection process begins.

The merit review must be based on the selection criteria below. Criteria are weighted, and committee members must take each criterion into consideration when assigning a global score to an application. Institutions may use their own marking scheme to assign scores to applications, provided the proportional weight of each criterion is respected. Institutions may not add criteria to this list.

Considerations: Committee members must take into consideration special circumstances that may have affected the applicant’s research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Applicants have been instructed to explain their special circumstances in the Leaves of Absence and Impact on Research section of the CCV.

Criteria Description Weight
Academic excellence As demonstrated by past academic results, transcripts, awards and distinctions.

Indicators of academic excellence:
  • Academic record;
  • Scholarships and awards held;
  • Duration of previous studies;
  • Type of program and courses pursued;
  • Course load;
  • Relative standing (if available).
50%
Research potential As demonstrated by the applicant’s research history, their interest in discovery, the proposed research, its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field, and any anticipated outcomes.

Indicators of research potential:
  • Quality and originality of contributions to research and development;
  • Relevance of work experience and academic training to field of proposed research;
  • Significance, feasibility, and merit of proposed research;
  • Judgment and ability to think critically;
  • Ability to apply skills and knowledge;
  • Initiative, autonomy and independence;
  • Research experience and achievements relative to expectations of someone with the candidate’s academic experience.
30%
Personal characteristics and interpersonal skills As demonstrated by the applicant’s past professional and relevant extracurricular interactions and collaborations.

Indicators of personal characteristics and interpersonal skills:
  • Work experience;
  • Leadership experience;
  • Project management, including organizing conferences and meetings;
  • Ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats;
  • Involvement in academic life;
  • Volunteerism/community outreach.
20%

 

Competition results (mid-March–April 1)

For each competition, institutions must establish a list of applicants to whom awards will be offered. All meritorious and eligible applicants who rank below the allocation cut-off should be included in the alternate list.

By mid-March each year, SLOs will be able to enter the results of the CGS M competition into the Research Portal. Agencies will confirm in advance, by email, the exact date when the Institution Portal will open.

Four buttons will appear: Offered, Alternate, Not offered and Ineligible. SLOs are responsible to change the status of each application form Received by administrator by clicking on one of the four buttons.

Applicants with a status of Ineligible or Not offered will be unable to receive an offer of award should one become available. Once this task has been completed, no application statuses should remain at the status of Received by administrator.

SLOs will be prompted to confirm each selection.

Once a status is set, the system will generate an email advising the applicant to check their application status. Application status changes must be made by April 1, the date that results are released. Official offers of awards can only be made using the Research Portal.

Institutions (or their departments) must not release the results (except for applications deemed ineligible, for which applicants are automatically notified) through any avenue before April 1.

Status: Offered
If an institution wishes to extend an offer to an applicant, the SLO must click the Offered button.

Applicants will have 21 days from the date of the offer to Accept or Decline. If they accept an offer, any other potential or actual offers (if applicable) will be declined automatically by the Research Portal, and they will not be eligible to receive further offers.

When an applicant accepts a CGS M offer through the Research Portal, they must select an award start date. The system will then generate a tri-agency notice of award (NOA), consisting of a letter of congratulations, award details, and the terms and conditions of the award. The NOA will be available as a PDF and will become the recipient’s official record. It will also appear on the applicant’s Application Overview page as well as on the SLO Portal. The acceptance of an award is the only instance that will generate official documentation.

Note: If an applicant selects an incorrect start date during acceptance, it cannot be corrected in the Research Portal. The SLO must enter the correct start date in the FAR when registering the CGS M award.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to regularly verify the Research Portal as of April 1 for competition results.

An offer of award is considered conditional until the applicant has been formally accepted into the program of study to which they have applied (refer to Program of study eligibility). If the applicant is not eligible to take up the award by the last available start date, and is not eligible for a deferment, the application status must be set to Ineligible.

Status: Acceptance withdrawn
If an applicant wishes to withdraw an acceptance of offer, the SLO must click on Withdraw Acceptance. The status change Acceptance withdrawn will appear in the SLO Portal and in the Application Overview page. The status of Declined should not be used in this instance.

Download list of applications in Excel format
From the Institution Portal page, SLOs can download the a summary table of application statuses and the list of applicants in Excel format. The download will be based on the last filter or the last sort (for example, status = Offered). To download, click on the following icon.

Alternate offers (April 1–January 31)

If some offers are declined, institutions may make subsequent offers to eligible Alternate candidates until they have used up all of their allocation; this process must be completed before January 31 of the following calendar year. If any offers of award are declined after January 31, institutions will no longer be able to make subsequent offers; therefore, institutions should encourage applicants to Accept or Decline offers promptly using the Research Portal.

Redistribution of unused allocations

The agencies will determine the number of unused allocations before the January 31 deadline. To maximize the number of CGS M awards funded, unused allocations will be redistributed to selected institutions based on the approved allocation formula. Institutions can then use the redistributed allocations to make new offers of award to eligible alternate applicants before January 31.

Appeals

Appeals related to the CGS M competition processes are managed at the institutional level in accordance with the institution’s appeals policies.

Post-award

Policies

The Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide includes the post-award policies that apply to CGS M awards.

Award administration

Institutions and the agencies share details and updates to CGS M applications through the FAR, which is the reporting tool. While the Research Portal is the official site for recording all pertinent information on CGS M awards, most post-award changes and administration are made through the FAR. In some cases, institutions must update an applicant’s status in the Research Portal before adding or changing any information in the FAR. A tutorial outlining the basic steps for completing the FAR is available in the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet.

Institutions can access only their own FAR. A pre-populated list of applications can be accessed by hovering over the Institutions drop-down menu on the Tri-Agency Awards Extranet and selecting the Financial and Award Report for the current competition. This list is based on the information in the Research Portal as of April 30 and is updated by the agencies as required. Each record for CGS M awards from the current competition must be completed and updated by the host institution to ensure payment of the award.

Institutions are encouraged to complete all entries in the FAR for CGS M recipients with a May 1 start date as soon as possible. After June, the agencies will compile the data only once monthly, on the first business day of each month.

Note: All applications with the status of Accepted, Alternate and Received by Administrator have been entered into the institutions’ lists and pre-populated with basic information to assist with data entry.

Completing the Financial and Award Report

Each entry within the FAR is comprised of five sections:

  1. Identification
  2. Registration
  3. Leave
  4. Termination
  5. Comments or special circumstances

Identification

Most fields in the identification section are pre-populated and need to be updated only if there are changes to the award.

Changes to agency
If the institution determines during the eligibility screening phase that an application was not submitted to the appropriate agency, the SLO should use the Agency drop-down menu to select the appropriate agency.

Changes to name
If an award holder indicates that their name has changed, enter this in the Comments or special circumstances box and ensure the award holder has made the same changes in the Profile tab in the Research Portal.

Award status
Accepted, Declined, Interrupted, Terminated

  1. Change the status in the Research Portal (for Accepted or Declined), and
  2. Using the FAR, select the new status for the award holder using the Award Status drop-down menu.

Note: The Declined status is intended for award recipients who had initially accepted the award and declined it at a later date (before its activation).

Deferred
Awards cannot be deferred after payment has been requested.

The Deferred status in the Research Portal can be selected at any point during the academic year and will affect the institutions’ allocation. SLOs should be vigilant in verifying that the status of their award holders is accurate and that the application status in the Research Portal matches that in the FAR. When an award is deferred, the allocation associated with it can then be offered to the highest-ranked application on the alternate list from the same competition cycle.

The deferred award will count toward the allocation in the year in which it is taken up. The institution must ensure that it considers any deferred awards before making new offers in future competitions.

Steps for deferring an award

  1. Change the status in the Research Portal:
    • The SLO must change the status to Deferred and select a new start date.
      • An applicant may defer an award for up to three years; however, deferrals must be made in one-year increments.
      • The status will remain at Deferred until March 15 of the following funding cycle, when the status will revert automatically to Accepted, and the applicant will receive a system-generated email asking them to confirm with the institution whether they want to defer their award for an additional year.
        • If the applicant wishes to defer the award for an additional year, upon receipt of the required documentation, the SLO must then defer the award once again.
        • If the applicant does not wish to defer for an additional year, then the status remains Accepted.
    • The applicant must take up the award within three years after the initial deferment (status = Accepted) or the SLO must withdraw the acceptance of offer (status = Acceptance Withdrawn).
  1. Using the FAR, select the Deferred status for the award holder using the Award Status drop-down menu.
    • Enter the anticipated start date and the reason for the deferral in the Comments or special circumstances section.
  1. Using the Research Portal, offer an award to the highest-ranked applicant on the alternate list with the newly released allocation.

Department
Add the name of the award holder’s department.

Changes to department or faculty within the same institution are approved by the institution. If the change to the department results in a change in research, refer to the section Changes to the program of study, research project or degree, for the appropriate steps.

Registration

Using the drop-down menu, select the appropriate Registration status (Not registered, Part-time, Full-time). Refer to the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide for the eligible reasons to hold an award part-time. Part-time arrangements must be outlined in the FAR in the Comments or special circumstances section.

The institution is responsible for ensuring that a recipient has met all eligibility criteria before commencing payment of award funds.

Are all eligibility criteria met?

Using the drop-down menu, select:

  1. Yes, if the award holder has met ALL the eligibility criteria to hold the award.
  2. No, if the award holder has NOT met ALL the eligibility criteria to hold the award, or if the award is being deferred.

Eligibility criteria to hold the award:

Start date of award 
Using the drop-down menu, select the start date of the award. Report any changes to start dates in this section of the FAR.

End date of award 
Using the calendar, select the expected end date of the award. The end date can also be entered manually in the MM/DD/YYYY format.

Leave

CGS M award holders are eligible for paid and unpaid leaves, as outlined in the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.

Effective date and end date of leave of absence
Using the calendar, select the effective (start) date and end date (anticipated) for a leave of absence. The date can also be entered manually in the MM/DD/YYYY format.

Are conditions for paid parental leave met?
Using the radio buttons, select:

  1. Yes, if the award holder has met the paid parental conditions to receive the supplement.
  2. No, if the award holder has NOT met the paid parental conditions to receive the supplement.

Reason for leave
Type in the reason for the leave of absence.

Termination

Using the calendar, select the date on which the award was terminated (required only in the event of an early termination). The date can also be entered manually in the MM/DD/YYYY format.

Comments or special circumstances

Any comments or special circumstances pertaining to eligibility (for example, first-class average), leaves of absence, or name changes should be recorded in this section. The anticipated start date and the reason for a deferral should be noted here.

Payment of awards

The agencies will transfer funds to the institutions for awards that have been approved. Institutions will administer the awards throughout their lifecycle.

Institutions must ensure that all eligibility requirements are met before requesting payment.

Following notification of results on April 1, there is a delay while agencies capture and transfer all the Accepted offers from the Research Portal into their respective databases to create the FAR. Institutions need to complete their FAR entries by the first of each month for a payment transfer by the end of the month.

Note that the first payment after the CGS M competition will be released in June.

Change of institution

Awards must be held at the institution where the offer of award originates. Awards are not intended to be portable; however, at the discretion of the host institution and with agency approval, exceptions may be made in certain circumstances (for example, parental reasons, medical reasons or family-related responsibilities).

Monitoring

The agencies will conduct periodic reviews of institutional selection processes. Agencies may contact institutions to request corrective action if deemed necessary.

Public communications

Successful applicants, institutions and agencies all benefit from public awareness of federally funded research and research training, and from promoting the value of this investment for Canadians.

Names of selection committee members, as well as clear conflict of interest guidelines and selection processes, must be established by the institution and published on its website.

Institutions must not publicly announce the names of award holders of the CGS M awards before the official announcement of results by the Government of Canada. Award holders are permitted to share the news confidentially with friends, family members and colleagues.

The This link will take you to another Web site Public Communications Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations applies to this funding opportunity.

Contact us

Program information

The agencies ask SLOs to use the following dedicated email addresses when corresponding with the agencies about applications and awards:


Technical support

For technical help with the Research Portal or Extranet site, contact our helpdesk at webapp@nserc-crsng.gc.ca or 613-995-4273 Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET).