IDRC has helped graduate students undertake thesis research in the field of international development since 1982. IDRC Doctoral Research Awards are intended to build capacity and develop research skills in Canada and the Global South to improve the lives of people in the developing world.

Special note about the Bentley Research Fellowship

Applicants for the IDRC Doctoral Research Awards 2020 call who indicate climate resilience and sustainable food systems as their area of work will automatically be considered for the Bentley Research Fellowship. There is no need to indicate interest; the top candidates in this area will automatically be considered for the fellowship, which has the same parameters as the IDRA.

Award Information

Approximately 20 awards of a maximum of CA$20,000 each.

Eligibility Criteria

  • This call is open to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing doctoral studies at a Canadian university. Awards under this call will cover the costs of field research conducted for a doctoral dissertation in one or more countries in the Global South.
  • Candidates must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
    • You must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a citizen of a developing country, excluding countries in southern and eastern Europe, South Caucasus, and Central Asia (but including Afghanistan).
    • You must be enrolled at a Canadian university at the doctoral level (you must have completed several courses of the doctoral program, but not necessarily all courses, when you submit your application).
    • Your research proposal must be approved by your thesis supervisor. Please provide proof.
    • Your proposed field research must be conducted for a doctoral dissertation and must take place in one or more developing countries.
    • Your field research must be relevant to one of six development outcome areas to which IDRC aims to contribute through its work. These are:
      • Health equity
      • Inclusive governance
      • Sustainable and inclusive growth
      • Climate resilience and sustainable food systems
      • Inclusive education
      • Strong science and innovation systems
  • IDRC also encourages proposals that explore the impacts of and resilience to shocks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, from the perspective of any of the areas above. Applications proposing field research outside of these areas will not be considered.
  • You must provide evidence of affiliation with an institution or organization in the developing region(s) in which the research will take place.
  • You must have completed coursework and passed comprehensive exams before taking up the award.
  • You may not be in receipt of two or more active IDRC awards at the same time; these include the IDRC Research Awards. No time overlaps will be permitted. If you are in receipt of IDRC funds from another source (e.g. a Queen Elizabeth Advanced Scholars award or through a professor’s IDRC research grant) for activities that will be active when and if you take up an IDRC Doctoral Research Award, you will be asked to demonstrate how funds from each are not being used towards the same objective.

Research country exceptions

  • In principle, IDRC supports research in all developing countries. However, at this time, they do not offer awards for research that involves the following countries and regions:
    • Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, southern and eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Caucasus.

Countries Subject to Approval

  • You may apply for research in the following countries and territories or for any other country for which the Government of Canada travel advisory is to “Avoid non-essential travel”. However, if you are recommended for an award, your application will be subject to a further stage of approval within IDRC and there is no guarantee your award will be approved:
    • Congo (Democratic Republic of), Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Lebanon, Maldives, Micronesia, Monserrat, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Sudan, Suriname, Tunisia, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Zimbabwe, some small island states, including Comoros, São Tomé and Principe, Saint Helena, Timor-Leste, and the Pacific Islands (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna).

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications:

  • Fit with IDRC mission and development outcome areas;
  • Overall appropriateness, completeness, quality, and clarity of the research proposal;
  • Overall methodology and considerations of cultural, logistical, and scientific constraints;
  • Overall feasibility, duration, and timing of the research;
  • Originality and creativity of the research;
  • Potential contribution to existing knowledge on the issue;
  • Gender dimensions of the research;
  • Ethical considerations of the research;
  • Benefit to the communities where the research is taking place;
  • Suitability of the affiliated institution;
  • Potential for research results to be disseminated and used;
  • Budget; and
  • Applicant’s capacity to conduct the proposed research, including academic training, local language capacity, professional skills, research experience, and knowledge of country/region of research.

For more information, visit IDRC.