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Sentinel North excellence scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships competition

Published on 31 Aug 2021

Be part of the new generation of scientists for the North! Sentinel North announces its excellence scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships competition, from September 1 to October 13, 2021.

These grants and fellowships aim to encourage the best candidates to undertake or pursue research activities within the Sentinel North research program in an interdisciplinary environment.



Candidates who stand out by the excellence of their academic record and the innovative and multidisciplinary potential of their research project are invited to submit their application.

Recognizing the richness of diversity in research and its benefits to society, Sentinel North endorses the principles of EDI in all of its programs and is committed to ensuring a rigorous, inclusive, non-discriminatory and transparent evaluation process. Special consideration will be given to applicants with atypical profiles.


Deadline to apply: October 13, 2021 (11:59 pm, ET)


Information and FAQ

In an aim to help all potential candidates preparing their application, a FAQ and an information video are available below. These will provide an introduction to the Sentinel North program and the competition's eligibility criteria, as well as advice on how to write your application.


Can I apply for a master’s scholarship if I already have a master’s degree in another field?

Yes, you can apply for a scholarship even if you already have another degree at that level.


Is there an advantage to applying for a research project whose supervisor is part of the Sentinel North community?

No. Whether you are conducting a research project that is funded by Sentinel North, supervised by a Sentinel North researcher, or completely external to Sentinel North, your chances of winning the Excellence Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships Competition are the same. Applications are evaluated based on their relevance to the Sentinel North research program.


Do I have to have already started my program or postdoctoral fellowship to apply?

No, you do not need to have started your program or postdoctoral fellowship when you apply, but you must state your intention to do so. After you receive your funding, you will have 4 months to use your doctoral scholarship or 8 months to use your master’s scholarship or postdoctoral fellowship.


Do foreign candidates have as much chance as Canadian candidates in this competition?

Yes, absolutely. Sentinel North’s Excellence Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships Competition is open to everyone, regardless of nationality. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.


How do I find a thesis supervisor when I’m abroad?

Researchers are very busy and in high demand. Before asking them to supervise you, take the time to learn about their research and make sure you are up to date on their current research activities. When contacting a researcher, personalize your message and demonstrate your knowledge of their research. Be sure to show how you would fit into their team.


What is meant by the “northern scope” of the project?

Projects proposed under Sentinel North must clearly lead to results and outcomes with an application and impact in the circumpolar North, as defined on this map. Your project may have a direct and immediate impact on the North, but it may also be a project with longer-term northern benefits, particularly if the research is fundamental. In all cases, it is important to justify the importance of the issue raised and to demonstrate the northern scope of your project in the short, medium, or long term.


Is it important that the research project benefit northern communities or consider northern environmental issues?

Your project must be northern in scope (i.e. it must address a known northern issue), but it does not necessarily need to lead to short-term outcomes for communities. We encourage you to clearly define your project in relation to the North in order to demonstrate its relevance.

If your research project will be conducted in the North, it is important to make sure you follow best practices for northern research. To do so, we encourage you to consult the Institut nordique du Québec’s Research Guidelines.


What is an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research problem?

Interdisciplinary research aims to integrate concepts and methodologies from two or more disciplines to address a complex problem that cannot be solved by a single discipline.

Transdisciplinary research is an approach that involves multiple disciplines as well, but which goes beyond academia by involving external actors in the development of methodologies and content.

Within the framework of the Sentinel North program, we primarily assess the interdisciplinary nature of your research project. At the master’s and doctoral levels, this must be demonstrated by the involvement of a co-supervision team consisting of professors from multiple disciplines. For the postdoctoral fellowship, you must explain how you intend to develop your research project by calling on expertise from different disciplines.


Who are Sentinel North’s international partners and collaborators? Is it better to develop relationships with them?

Sentinel North has a large network of international collaborators, but there is no particular advantage to working with any of them. However, adding partners to your research project can be an asset as long as the added value of the collaboration is well presented.


What is the co-funding requirement for postdoctoral fellowships?

For postdoctoral fellows, co-funding is required to cover the equivalent of the cost of the benefits in your collective agreement as well as the 2% annual salary increase. These benefits represent approximately 20% of the salary paid. This co-funding may come from your supervisor or from other sources (grants, etc.).


Can some of the research be done outside of Université Laval? Does the application need to mention this?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to collaborate with researchers outside of Université Laval on your research project and to do research internships in other institutions. We offer mobility grants for this purpose. However, you must be enrolled at Université Laval.

If you mention a collaboration in your application, make sure to specify the nature of the collaborations and the role of the researchers involved. These collaborations must be concrete.


Can I go over the character limits for each section?

No, you must answer the questions in the form within the character limits. This may be difficult, but remember that the evaluators have a lot of files to read and that you must demonstrate your ability to summarize. For that reason, concision is important.


Can we submit a project with the same title as a project funded by Sentinel North?

Yes, your research project may have the same name as your supervisor’s larger project. However, when a project is part of a larger research initiative, it is important to clearly outline your contributions to the larger project: your objectives, your involvement, and the expected results of your project.


On what basis are applications evaluated?

For Sentinel North, candidates are evaluated on many different criteria, not just academic performance and scientific publications. As such, your social involvement, professional experience, and life history are all important elements you can use to demonstrate your professional skills and abilities. You must demonstrate that you are the best person to undertake the research project in question.


Do we need to list all scientific publications, even if some of them are not related to the application?

Yes, you can list all published publications even if some are not related to your current research project. This shows that you have experience in scientific writing. However, it would be to your advantage to explain your background and make the links between these publications and your academic career.


Can I include figures and tables in my application?

No, applications must be in text only.






For more information about the Sentinel North Excellence Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships competition, please contact:

Marie-France Gévry, Training programs coordinator


sentinel north excellence scholarship and fellowships competition