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Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships

About the Award

Who? Early-stage academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering
How much? $250,000 Total
How long? Two Years
Application deadline  TBD


Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships recognize early-stage academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering and support them to enhance their research capacity, so that they can become leaders in their field and inspire others. NSERC awards up to six McDonald Fellowships each year.

Who can apply?

If you are an early-stage academic researcher, meaning that you have held an independent academic position for 10 years or less as of June 1 of the year of the competition and currently hold a grant from NSERC, you can prepare a nomination for this award.

An independent academic position is a position that:

  • is a university faculty appointment (tenured or non-tenured);
  • requires that the researcher engages in research that is not under the direction of another individual;
  • authorizes the researcher to supervise or co-supervise the research of students registered in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, or postdoctoral fellows.

A candidate submitting a nomination in June 2020 would have been hired on or after June 1, 2010. The 10-year eligibility window is adjusted to take into account eligible delays in research or periods of inactivity (for example, due to parental leave, bereavement or illness). For example, a candidate submitting a nomination in June 2020 who took a seven-month parental leave after starting their appointment must have been hired on or after November 1, 2009, in order to be eligible. You must identify any such periods in the Delays in Research Activity section of your Personal Data Form (Form 100), and the impacts of the research delay should be clearly and fully described.

NSERC reserves the right to rule on the eligibility of nominees.

Research topics

Your research must be primarily in the fields of the natural sciences and/or engineering.

Funding for McDonald fellows

If your nomination is successful, you will receive a research grant of $250,000 over two years, held at a Canadian university or affiliated research institution. You will also be relieved from teaching and administrative duties so that you can devote your time and energy to research.

In addition, NSERC normally contributes up to $90,000 per year to the university toward your salary. NSERC expects the university to fund a replacement for the McDonald fellow’s teaching and administrative responsibilities, as part of the McDonald Fellowship agreement. NSERC reduces the contribution to the university if the McDonald fellow already holds another federal award that has a salary component, such as a Canada Research Chair or an Industrial Research Chair.

The start date of the McDonald Fellowship should be between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, and the award is normally paid in two instalments of $125,000 per year.