Become a scholar

 Eligibility criteria

  • You must be already accepted into or in year one, two, or three of a full-time doctoral program in the humanities or social sciences (broadly defined)  
  • Your doctoral work must relate to at least one of the Foundation’s four central themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, People and their Natural Environment
  • Canadian citizens are eligible whether they are at a Canadian or an international institution
  • Non-Canadians (permanent residents or foreign nationals) enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution are eligible

What do we look for in applicants? 

  • Academic excellence; 
  • Thematic relevance of doctoral research to the Foundation’s central themes; 
  • Community engagement; 
  • Leadership experience and abilities; 
  • Originality and audacity 
  • Communication skills and desire to contribute to public dialogue and knowledge dissemination; 
  • Interest for the scientific theme of the 2020-2023 cycle: Technology and ethics. You do not have to have expertise on this topic, but you must be willing to engage with this theme as part of our leadership training program. For more details on this, please see the Leadership development section of this website. 

Please consult the Doctoral Scholarships section for an overview of the content of the three-year program. 

The Foundation is committed to selecting a diverse group of Scholars, including diversity in terms of gender, perspectives, language, race/ethnicity, Canadian region of study anddisabilities. We also welcome First Nations, Inuit, and Métis candidates.  

The selection process in brief

  1. Apply through your university’s internal selection process using the Foundation’s application portal.
  2. If your university chooses to nominate you for the national competition, your application will be forwarded to the PETF and will undergo a rigorous review process.
  3. Finalists will be invited to interviews with the selection committee on February 24th, 25th or 26th, 2020.  
  4. Up to 20 Scholars will be selected in 2020.

Step-by-step guide to applying

  1. Learn about your university’s internal selection process deadlines: Each university has a different internal deadline, so make sure that you apply on time.
  2. Register: When the competition opens, register for an account on the Foundation’s application portal. You will receive a username and password by email within 4 business days of registering (please check your spam folder if you do not see it). If you already have an account from a previous scholarship competition, you can login using your existing login credentials or request a password reset.
  3. Fill out the application: Once you log in, you can apply by completing the application form in the “Ébauche / Draft” section of the portal. Please also fill out your contact information in the “Coordonnées / Contacts” section of the portal.
  4. Get recommendation letters: While filling out the application form, you will be asked to enter the name and email address of your two referees in the box provided. An email will automatically be sent to the referees, asking them to upload their reference letter in PDF format directly to our portal. We advise that you follow up with your references to ensure they submit on time.
  5. Upload transcripts: Upload transcripts covering all of your post-secondary education in one PDF document. Any candidates who attended CEGEP in Quebec should not include their CEGEP transcripts.
  6. Contact your university: Please inform the awards officer responsible for the PETF Scholarship competition at your university to let them know you’ve applied. This ensures that your application will be included in your university’s selection process.
  7. University nominations: Your university will have until January 22nd, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PST to nominate up to four (4) applicants. In the case of foreign universities, up to three (3) names may be submitted. The Foundation will only send an acknowledgement to those applicants who have been nominated by a university. 
  8. PETF selection process: All candidates who have been nominated by a university will go through a rigorous selection process. Finalists will be invited for an interview on February 24th, 25th or 26th, 2020.  


2020 competition key dates 


15 November 2019 

2020 application period opens 

22 January 2020 

Deadline for universities to nominate candidates 

24-26 February 2020 

Interviews with finalists in Montreal 

End of March 2020 

Notification of selected candidates 

April/May 2020 

Official announcement of 2020 Scholars 

17-19 June 2020 

Mandatory participation in a Foundation retreat in Moncton, New Brunswick 




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