The candidate
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 and disabilities. We also welcome First Nations, Inuit, and Métis candidates.
All applicants to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship competition must apply first through their university’s internal selection process. Canadian universities can nominate up to four candidates and foreign universities may nominate up to three candidates.
The Foundation
The Application and Nomination Review Committee (ANRC) plays a central role evaluating, interviewing and recommending choices to the Board of Directors for new Scholars, Mentors and Fellows.

Selection process

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 

March 2020

Notification of selected candidates 

April 2020

Official announcement of 2020 Scholars 

  1. 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
  2. What do we look for in applicants? 

    • Academic excellence; 

    • Thematic relevance of doctoral research to the Foundation’s four 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. 

    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.  


  3. 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.
  4. 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 applicationOnce 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 lettersWhile 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.  
  1. Confirm the name of the awards officer responsible for the PETF Scholarship competition at your university with the PETF staff by email: This ensures that PETF staff are able to match applications files from candidates at your university with the appropriate awards officer quickly and efficiently. Please confirm this information even if the awards officer is the same as previous years.

  2. Organize your university’s internal selection process, ensuring your internal deadlines will allow sufficient time to submit your nominations by the PETF’s nomination deadline. Advertise your university’s internal selection process and deadlines to students.

  3. Review the PETF’s eligibility and selection criteria to learn more about what the Foundation looks for in candidates. You can also read about last year’s Scholarship winners to get a feel for the program.

  4. Once the competition opens, please visit our online application and nomination portal here. If you already have an account from a previous year, you can log in using the same credentials to the PETF’s application and nomination portal. If you have forgotten your login credentials, you can reset your username and password. If it is your first time managing the PETF Scholarship competition for your university, register for an account by following the instructions on the homepage of the online portal. Your account will provide you with access to all the applications from your university. You will receive your username and password by email within 4 business days (please check your spam folder if you do not see it in your inbox).

  5. Once you receive your credentials, you can login and go to the “À réviser / To review” section of the portal to review the applications from your university. Please note that there is a delay of up to 2 business days between the candidate submitting their application and it being visible in your account for review. Based on the PETF’s selection and eligibility criteria, choose which candidates you would like to nominate. Please note that in its scholarship selection process, the Foundation will strive for a strong representation of all forms of diversity, including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, language, region, and discipline. The Foundation welcomes applications from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit candidates.

  6. After reviewing the applications, select one of the following options for each one: ‘Non / No’ if your university is not nominating the candidate;  ‘Retour / Return’ if you want to request that the candidate make changes to their application; or ‘Oui / Yes’, if you want to nominate this application.

  7. Once you have selected the candidates you wish to nominate, upload a letter of nomination from your university to each chosen application. Universities may submit the same letter of nomination for each of their nominees. It should be a maximum of one page, and it should state the name and faculty of each of the nominees, be presented on letterhead and be signed by a high-ranking official of the institution (e.g. President, Vice-president, or Dean of graduate studies). The letter should not include a reference for the nominees nor should it explain the reasons for which the nominees were chosen.

  8. Submit your nominations including nomination letters via the portal by January, 22nd, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PST. 

  9. Inform your university's candidates of your decision. Those who you have chosen to nominate will receive an email from the portal acknowledging receipt of their nomination. Those who you have chosen not to nominate will not be notified by our portal.


Apply Now

Apply through your university's internal selection process using the Foundation's application portal