Backgrounder Article from  Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, respectively, working in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. Through these programs, the Government of Canada strengthens the ability of Canadian universities to attract and retain world-class research talent and supports the development of the research leaders of tomorrow.

Today's announcement represents a Government of Canada investment of $34.7 million:

  • 166 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships for $24.9 million over three years (Scholarship provides $50,000 per year for up to three years)
  • 70 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships for $9.8 million over two years (Fellowship provides $70,000 a year for up to two years)

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS), launched in 2008 by the Government of Canada and named after Governor General Major-General Georges P. Vanier, is a program to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in Canada. Additionally, the program aims to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. The Vanier CGS program also helps build and strengthen relationships and partnerships with international researchers. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering, and health.

Vanier Scholars receive $50,000 a year for up to three years of research. Including today's recipients, a total of 1,000 scholarships have been awarded since the inception of the program. The program supports up to 500 students annually who are pursuing doctoral degrees at Canadian universities. Many Vanier Scholars remain in Canada and pursue professional careers. This, in turn, fosters innovation and creates jobs in the future.

Examples of 2015-16 Vanier scholars include:

  • Myriam Drouin, from Laval University, is trying to create chemical bonds in proteins that cannot be destroyed by natural enzymes in the human body, which could then lead to the development of stronger pharmaceutical medication. (NSERC)
  • Ina Filkobski, at McGill University, will examine how young adults use peacebuilding initiatives from various organizations in society to resolve their conflicts. (SSHRC)
  • Masoud Mohammadalizadeh Shabestary at the University of Alberta will study how Canada's electricity sector can blend common power generation and transmission with clean energy resources (such as wind, solar, and geothermal) in efficient and cost effective ways. (NSERC)
  • Perri Tutelman, at Dalhousie University, will study how chronic pain among children can also have an emotional impact on both mothers and fathers, so that new intervention and prevention programs can be developed to help families. (CIHR)

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships (Banting PDF) program is named after Dr. Frederick Banting, Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of insulin. The program was created by the Government of Canada in 2010 as a way to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class post-doctoral talent, develop their leadership potential and position them for success as the research leaders of tomorrow. The program will also help these researchers positively contribute to Canada's economic, social and research-based growth through a research-intensive career.

The Banting PDF program is unique in its emphasis on the synergy between applicants and research institutions. Therefore, all applicants have to apply in close collaboration with the university or other eligible research institution with which they hold fellowship. Research institutions hosting these applicants must demonstrate their commitment to the applicant's success through institutional research priorities, a supportive research environment and professional development opportunities.

Banting Fellows receive $70,000 a year for up to two years of research. Including today's recipients, a total of 280 fellowships have been awarded since the program's creation. The program supports 140 post-doctoral researchers annually who work at Canadian universities and leading international research institutions. This helps develop research leaders who will positively contribute to Canada's economic, social and research based growth.

Examples of 2015-16 Banting postdoctoral fellows include:

  • Adalberto Loyola-Sanchez, at the University of Calgary, will analyze how researchers can help Indigenous peoples in Canada and Mexico avoid arthritis-related problems through community-based programs that are respectful of Indigenous traditions and ways of knowing. (CIHR)
  • Rita Orji, at the University of Waterloo, will study whether her design of personalized persuasive games can help adolescents avoid risky sex and drugs/alcohol use and promote healthy behaviours. (NSERC)
  • Gordon Pennycook, at Yale University, will analyze how people's conflicting thoughts (such as greed vs. generosity) can be resolved if they understand the benefits of positive actions in their everyday lives (e.g.: cooperation at work, school, and home). (SSHRC)
  • Shea Balish, from University of Toronto, will be developing a new digital tool that measures whether emotion can motivate youth to participate in sports. (SSHRC)

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