All you need to know

Fields supported

These scholarships support research in the areas delineated in our Canada First funding proposal: data science in the broad sense, encompassing methodological research in data science (machine learning, operations research, statistics) and its applications in multiple sectors, including our priority sectors (health, transportation and logistics, energy, business, and finance) and any other sector of application (e.g., sociology, physics, linguistics, engineering).


The goal of this program is to support promising students in their training as future highly qualified personnel (researchers, professors, professionals) and, more generally, future actors in the field of digital intelligence, mainly in our IVADO members’ areas of excellence: operations research, machine learning, and decision science.


  • Opening of the competition: December 9, 2021, 9 a.m. ET
  • Application deadline: January 26, 2022, 1 p.m. ET
  • Expected results notification date: Postponed to mid-June 2022
  • Funding start date: April 1 or September 1, 2022

Amount, duration and terms of payment

Amount and duration

This scholarship will entitle you to up to $20,000 per year over a maximum funding period of six semesters or two years.

Terms of payment

The funds will be transferred to the research office of the supervisor’s home university, and the university will pay you according to its specific rules. For projects requiring ethics approval, funds will not be released until approval is granted. Some projects may require specific agreements (e.g., pertaining to intellectual property).

Funding may be reduced, withheld, delayed, or rescinded under specific circumstances, which will be outlined in the letter of award.

Eligibility criteria

For students

  • You are enrolled or you intend to enrol full-time in one of the following eligible programs:
    • a master’s program
    • a doctoral program that you are entering without having ever been enrolled in a master’s program (direct-entry). In this case, you are eligible to receive this funding during the first six semesters of your graduate studies. As a result, these first six semesters of study can only be funded by a master’s scholarship.
  • You are enrolled or intend to enrol in a program at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, McGill University, or the University of Alberta.
  • You have maintained a first-class minimum cumulative average (3.7/4.3 or 3.5/4.00) during your undergraduate studies.
  • As of September 1, 2022, you must be enrolled in a graduate program to take advantage of the scholarship.
  • We will be flexible for candidates who can justify career interruptions and special circumstances. We invite you to indicate this in your application (examples: maternity, illness, etc.).

For the professor filing the application (supervisor)

  • You must be a faculty member at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, McGill University* or University of Alberta*;
    *If you are a faculty member at the University of Alberta or McGill University, you may be a supervisor provided that you are also a full member of one of our research groups (Mila, CIRRELT, GERAD, CERC in Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making, CRM, Tech3Lab);
  • You must have one of the following eligible status: assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, research professor, or visiting professor. Adjunct professors are not eligible;
  • You may not submit more than one application for this competition.

For the potential co-supervisor, there are no constraints.

Submitting an application

Go to our dedicated online platform to apply.
/!\ Applications submitted by e-mail will be automatically rejected.
Your application package must include:

  • A questionnaire to be completed on the dedicated platform, INCLUDING a popularized description of the project (maximum one page);
  • Your CV (free format);
  • Your official undergraduate transcripts and master’s grades already earned if master’s studies already begun (please explain the grading scale in the case of non-Canadian universities);
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from the supervisor from the Master degree, to be uploaded directly to the platform by their authors.

Evaluation of applications

Applications will be reviewed to ensure compliance with the program criteria (e.g., applications must be complete, must comply with the page limit, and must list eligible applicants and supervisors only) and alignment of the research project with the field of digital intelligence.

/!\ Only applications that meet all criteria will be forwarded to the review committee.

The review committee will consist of university professors with an expertise in the IVADO areas of excellence, none of whom must be listed as a supervisor by any of the applicants. Subject to availability of reviewers, we will constitute an inclusive review committee. The review committee will verify that the proposed project aligns with IVADO’s scientific orientations, and then rank the applications based on excellence as well as the projects’ alignment with IVADO’s overarching framework, which aims to promote multidisciplinary collaboration and diversity in digital intelligence.

The review committee will rank the applications based on excellence, paying particular attention to:

  • The applicant’s aptitude for research;
  • The extent of his/her experience: multidisciplinary and professional experience, extra-academic activities, collaborations, contributions to the scientific community and to society as a whole, etc.; and
  • Alignment of his/her experience with the proposed project.

For more information on the process and general evaluation practices of our programs, please consult the “EVALUATION OF GRANT AND SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS” section of the Conducting Research Responsibly Handbook.


For students

  • Contribute to the IVADO community and our activities, including, e.g.:
    • Giving presentations on your research;
    • Taking part in training and knowledge dissemination activities;
    • Consultations; and
    • Providing support during various activities that are normally undertaken by career researchers (e.g., mentorship, participation in evaluations, co-organization of events);
  • Acknowledge that you are a member of an academic community to which you will contribute;
  • Comply with the Tri-Agency Open-Access Policy on Publications. You are encouraged to publish your research findings (e.g., papers, recordings of presentations, source code, databases) in compliance with the intellectual property rules governing your specific situation;
  • Acknowledge the support of IVADO and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund / Apogée when disseminating research results and, more broadly, in all activities in which you take part.

For the supervisor

  • Provide a work environment suitable to the completion of the project;
  • Oversee the student’s work.

Our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

To ensure all members of society draw equal benefit from the advancement of knowledge and opportunities in digital intelligence, we promote principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion across all of our programs, and we commit to providing a recruitment process and research setting that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, open, and transparent.


  • Does my CV need to be in a specific format?

No, there is no particular CV format to be followed. Note, however, that each element of your application package must help the members of the review committee to form an opinion. A CV that is too long or confusing may make assessment more difficult.

  • Are there any specific rules for the letters of recommendation?


  • As a candidate, can I send the letters of recommendation  myself?

No; letters of recommendation may only be uploaded by their authors, via the dedicated platform.

  • Can I send in my unofficial transcripts myself?

No; you must use the dedicated platform to upload all your official transcripts, including all current results.

  • Can I engage in any other paid activity while doing my master’s?

The funding amount is meant to allow you to focus exclusively on your research; however, complementary activities are equally important to your training. To balance these two aspects, it is acceptable for you to engage in paid activities that:

– are compliant with the policies of the home institution regarding other sources of income; and
– do not prevent you from doing the work for which you are receiving IVADO funding as if you were doing it full time.

  • Can this scholarship be combined with others?

This scholarship may not be combined with others funded by NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR or IVADO. Generally speaking, we do not encourage combinations with scholarships funded from other sources, but we do not prohibit them either, as they may be justified in some cases.

  • If I’ve already started my master’s, can I still apply for an MSc Excellence scholarship?

Yes. If you’ve already started your master’s studies, you must provide your undergraduate transcripts and any master’s grades already earned.

  • I’m eligible based on my grades from last year, but my more recent grades aren’t high enough (or vice-versa). Am I still eligible?

No, but if you can provide justification for the lower grades (e.g., medical certificate), we may accept your application.

  • As a student doing a professional master’s or DESS, am I eligible?

Not for this competition, which is focused on research.

  • Can I take maternity or parental leave during this scholarship?

IVADO offers maternity/parental leave supplements to our MSc and PhD Excellence scholarship’s laureates as follows:

– The supplement is offered within six months following a child’s birth or adoption, to students who are the primary caregivers of the child.

– The supplement is paid to students based on their current stipend for up to six months.

– If both parents are receiving IVADO Excellence Scholarships, each parent may take a portion of the leave for a combined maximum of six months.

– The duration of the supplement of up to 6 months will be agreed upon with the supervisor and should be communicated to us by email at

– The initial award (2 years for MSc’s scholarships and 3 or 4 years depending on the competition for PhD’s scholarships) and the supplement of up to 6 months for parental leave cannot be paid after August 31, 2024, the date on which the CFREF funds from which the IVADO funding programs are financed ends.

The measure is effective retroactively as of June 1, 2021 for all our MSc and PhD laureates.

Have other questions? Please send them to:

In the event of any differences in translations or interpretations, the French version shall prevail.