Graduate student funding

Athabasca University financially supports graduate student research through the Graduate Student Research Fund.


Graduate Student Research Fund

The Graduate Student Research Fund is intended to:

  • enhance the research experience of award recipients;
  • foster research creativity and innovation;
  • support graduate students’ research-focused endeavours;
  • encourage dissemination of master’s or doctoral research; and
  • acknowledge graduate students’ contributions to Athabasca University’s research climate.

The fund provides awards to both master’s and doctoral students.

Master’s students can receive:

  • up to $1,000 to conduct research
  • up to $3,000 to disseminate research
  • up to $2,000 to publish research

Doctoral students can receive:

  • up to $1,500 to conduct research
  • up to $3,000 to disseminate research
  • up to $2,000 to publish research

If your research study involves human participants, you must obtain Athabasca University Research Ethics Certification prior to submitting a Graduate Student Research Fund (conducting research) application to request funds to support your research study. By doing so, any concerns regarding research instruments (e.g., recruitment posters, letter of invitation, interview questions, informed consent form, etc.) will be addressed by the Athabasca University Research Ethics Board prior to the Graduate Student Research Fund Committee's review of your application and evaluation of the scientific merit and/or other relevant criteria used in the related field of study, budget (including relevance of and justification for all planned expenditures), and plans for dissemination of the research findings.


Application deadlines are on the following days (or the next business day) every year:

  • Feb. 1
  • May 1
  • Aug. 1
  • Nov. 1

More information

How to apply

Application forms are available in the AU Research Portal

If this is your first time using the Research Portal, or if you haven’t used the AU Research Portal for a while, refer to Staff-internal and external funding before beginning your application.


Applying for funding or ethics review

As a graduate student, you will use the Research Portal to apply for graduate student funding or ethics review.

You should also review the application process overview for all users before you begin your application.

Submitting an ethics or funding application

  1. Log into the Research Portal.
  2. Select APPLY NEW in the upper-right corner. Portal Home Page screenshot
  3. Select the application you wish to complete from the list provided.
  4. Review the application’s tabs and subtabs. Make note of the tabs that will require a longer response, as you should compose those responses in Notepad or TextEditor, then paste them into the portal.
  5. Enter the project title, start and end dates of your project, and specific keywords in the Project Info tab. You do not need to fill in the Related Certifications section.
    • Tip: You can select keywords from the list provided, or type your own in the box. Be sure to click the Add button for each keyword. Add project keywords screenshot
  6. Go to the Project Team Info tab. Your information should appear in the Principal Investigator (PI) section.
  7. If you have additional team members, add them in the Other Project Member Info section. Do not add your supervisor or dean as a team member.
    1. Click the Add New button in the Other Project Member Info section. Project members screenshot
    2. Click the Search Profiles button. Always use this button to add team members. Do not manually enter names. Search profiles screenshot
    3. Search for your team member by first or last name, or by browsing the full list. Click the Select button to add a team member to your application. If you can’t find a profile for the team member you need to add, contact Investigator list screenshot
    4. You will now see the team member’s profile displayed. Click the down arrow in the Role in Project field to select the team member’s role. You must assign each team member a role in the project. Project team member screenshot
    5. Click the Save button.
    6. Repeat the process for each team member.
  8. Funding applications only: Skip the Project Sponsor tab. The Research Office will complete this tab for you.  
  9. Go to the Application Form tab. You will find several subtabs. Be sure to complete them all, scrolling down to the bottom of each tab to be sure you’ve answered all the questions. Save after each subtab.
  10. Use the Attachments tab to upload required documents.
    • See the Checklist subtab in the Application Form tab for a list. Internal funding checklist button screenshot
    • The Attachments tab also includes templates for certain forms. Please use these when they are available.
  11. Go to the Approvals tab. Find your supervisor’s name in the Other Approvals list, and click the checkbox to the left of the name.
    • If you don’t find your supervisor’s name in the list, contact to have your supervisor’s name added. Supervisor approval screenshot
    • If you are faculty or applying to another fund, you don’t need to do anything on this tab.
  12. If you don’t see the Errors tab, you can click the Submit button to submit your application.
  13. You will receive an email confirming that your application has been successfully submitted.
  14. You can keep track of the progress of your application through the Logs tab. You don’t need to provide any information on this tab.
    • Please note that once your application has been submitted, it will be located under Applications: Under Review in the Principal Investigator section of your home page.
Ethics applications: What happens next?

Student external award funding calendar

Graduate students are encouraged to apply for the following funding opportunities. These opportunities are sorted by agency.

If you would like feedback on your application for any of these awards, please email your working draft to Be sure to include any relevant information, including the application deadline.

Opportunity Agency Internal deadline External deadline Award amount
Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Minimum of 2.5 months before start of activity. Minimum of 2 months before start of activity. Up to $5,000.
Accelerate Mitacs Anytime Anytime $15,000 for each 4-month internship.
Master’s students can do up to two 4-month internships and PhD students can do up to 6.
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Tri-Agency Sep. 6 Sep. 20 $70,000 per year for 2 years.
Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral program Tri-Agency Oct. 9 Nov. 21 $35,000 per year for 26 months
Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s program Tri-Agency n/a Dec. 1 $17,500.
Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements Tri-Agency varies varies Up to $6,000.
Elevate Mitacs July and September July and September $50,000 per year for 2 years.
Globalink Partnership Award Mitacs Anytime Anytime Up to $15,000.
Globalink Research Award Mitacs January and September January and September Varies.
SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships SSHRC Oct. 9 Nov. 21 $20,000 per year for up to 4 years.
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships SSHRC Sep. 6 Sep. 20 $40,500 per year for up to 2 years.
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Tri-Agency Oct. 2 Nov. 1 $50,000 per year for 3 years.

Other funding sources

Athabasca University also provides or administers several graduate scholarships and awards to help students conduct and disseminate research.

Faculty of Graduate Studies - Graduate funding Support Services | Financial Aid and Awards – Awards finder Support Services | Financial Aid and Awards – External awards

Updated May 02, 2024 by Digital & Web Operations (