Are you eligible?
Are you ready to embark on a leadership development journey rooted in Brave Spaces? To apply to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholarship, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1) 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; please see the FAQ for more details on this)  

2) Your doctoral work must relate to at least one of the Foundation’s Four Themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, People and their Natural Environment

3) Be a Canadian citizen studying at a Canadian or foreign institution, or a non-Canadian (permanent resident or foreign national) enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution

Here’s what we are looking for:

Academic excellence and intellectual capacity

Do you have a record of strong academic performance

Do you have a record of strong academic performance attested by your transcripts and other forms of academic achievement (e.g. publications, conference presentations)? Are you committed to excellence in research and knowledge dissemination? Are you an original thinker able to engage in constructive critical thinking on society?

Commitment and openness to engaging with a plurality of perspectives

Are you willing to engage

Are you willing to engage with a plurality of people, cultures, institutions, forms of knowledge, ideologies, and perspectives in the context of Brave Spaces? Are you able to collaborate respectfully across difference, including with those who hold different opinions and ideologies, in order to pursue your goals?

Leadership and engagement

Are you engaged in activities and organizations within and beyond academia

Are you engaged in activities and organizations within and beyond academia? Do you aspire to take on greater leadership roles in your community or organizations? Do you have the potential to take your research beyond academia to the benefit of the wider public?

Agility and resilience

Are you resourceful, adaptable, and resilient in the face of adversity

Are you resourceful, adaptable, and resilient in the face of adversity? Are you willing to be challenged and take risks in order to bring about meaningful impact in your community or institution(s)?

Other considerations:

Commitment to participate fully in all mandatory activities of the program

  • Young researchers who are at the beginning of their professional career will be given priority and special circumstances will be considered

  • Willingness to embark on a transformative leadership journey which will require commitment, humility, emotional investment, and self-reflection

  • Commitment to participate fully in all mandatory activities of the program:

    • Virtual Community Retreat in Montreal, QC - June 2021
    • Institute of Engaged Leadership in Moncton, NB – November 2021
    • Institute of Engaged Leadership in Cape Town, South Africa – March 2022
    • Impact Conference in years two and three
    • Participation in virtual events (mandatory and optional) on an ongoing basis
  • Commitment to improving your abilities in the Canadian official language with which you are less familiar and an interest in becoming familiar with Indigenous Languages
  • Commitment to volunteer service or community initiatives (requirements are flexible in the context of the pandemic)
  • Authenticity and integrity
  • Willingness to learn from peers, Fellows and Mentors

The Foundation is committed to selecting a diverse group of Scholars, including diversity in terms of gender, race, disability, language, socioeconomic background, Indigenous knowledge, and region of origin, as well as in terms of perspectives and disciplines.

How to apply

The candidate
Candidates who are committed to a three-year leadership program and who meet the eligibility criteria can apply directly to the Foundation through the application portal.
Universities play an integral role encouraging candidates to apply, recommending candidates (academic referees) and later, confirming the status of their students and other details.
The Foundation
The Foundation reviews all applications and shortlisted candidates are invited to group interviews. Finalists proceed to interviews with the Application and Nomination Review Committee (ANRC) who ultimately recommend their choices to the Board of Directors for final approval.
  1. Register: When the competition opens, register for an account on the Foundation’s new application portal. If you already have an account from a previous scholarship competition, you will need to register for a new account as the Foundation has implemented a new application portal this year.

  2. Fill out the application: Once your registration is complete, you will be able to create an application for the 2021 Competition. In order to complete your application, you will need to provide: 

    • Demographic information on yourself: The Foundation gathers demographic information for statistical purposes, in order to fulfill its commitment to diversity and inclusion. This information will only be used by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. 

    • Essay Questions: Provide answers (200 to 400 words) to four essay questions.

    • Doctoral Projects and Themes: Provide information on your doctoral project, with answers ranging from 200 to 400 words in length.

    • Referees: Enter the name and email address of two referees in the boxes provided. At least one of them must be an academic referee who is able to comment on your academic performance. Refer to “Get recommendations” below for more details.

    • Language Skills, Post-secondary Education, Achievements and Experience: Provide information on your language skills, your post-secondary education, your achievements – including scholarships, fellowships, awards, publications, conferences, extracurricular and volunteer activities – as well as your relevant work experience.

    • Upload Transcripts: Upload transcripts for all your post-secondary education, except information related to CEGEP in Quebec, should you have attended CEGEP in Quebec. 

  3. Get recommendations: Once you have entered the name and email address of your referees in the space provided in the application form, an email will automatically be sent to the referees, asking them to complete a predetermined referral form directly on the Foundation’s application portal. Referees must complete the predetermined referral form, which includes both narrative answers and numerical evaluations. We are no longer asking referees to upload their reference letter in PDF format on our application portal. We advise that you follow up with your referees to ensure they submit the completed form on time, by January 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m EST.

  4. PETF selection process: All eligible candidates who submit a completed application by January 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m EST will go through a rigorous selection process. Shortlisted candidates (Round One) will be contacted in February 2021 and invited to group interviews. Finalists (Round Two) will then be invited to meet for individual interviews with members of the ANRC in March 2021.

  1. Beginning in the Fall 2020, the Foundation is asking all applicants to apply directly to its Scholarship competition via a new application platform. In contrast with previous years, universities are no longer required to nominate a limited number of their preferred candidates. All candidates who submit completed applications by the January 5th, 2021 deadline will be reviewed and assessed by the Foundation. In spite of this new process, the Foundation remains committed to regional representation, linguistic representation, a plurality of perspectives and disciplines, as well as other forms of diversity.

  2. Once the competition has launched, advertise the 2021 Scholarship competition in your university! Review PETF’s eligibility and selection criteria (as presented above on this page) as well as the Scholarship homepage on this site and encourage your students to apply. 

  3. Award officers are invited to join webinars/Q&As to learn more about our Scholarship program on November 10th, 2020 at 2:30 p.m EST and on December 9th, 2020 at 11 a.m. EST.

    These information sessions will take place via Zoom and you may dial-in by phone if you prefer. Sessions will be bilingual (English and French) and will include simultaneous translation. Kindly let us know if you require ASL or LSQ sign interpretation and we will be happy to provide this service, by emailing Kindly note the following connection details: 

    Tuesday, November 10th 2020 – 1.5 hour session for Awards Officers at 2:30 p.m. EST
    Register here!

    Wednesday, December 9th 2020 – 1.5 hour session for Awards Officers at 11:00 a.m. EST
    Register here!

  4. Although the university does not have to hold an internal selection process and nominate candidates, the Foundation may reach out to the university officers to confirm that applicants are eligible students in good standing, as well as to confirm other relevant details of a candidate’s application during the months of January and February 2021.

Selection process

2021 competition key dates

October 27, 2020 

2021 application period opens 

January 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST

Deadline to submit an application directly to the Foundation 

February 10, 2021

Invitation to semi-finalists for Round One of the selection process

February 23-26, 2021

Round One: Virtual group interviews and information sessions with semi-finalists 

March 1, 2021

Invitation to finalists for Round Two of the selection process

March 24-26, 2021

Round Two: Final interviews with members of the Application and Nomination Review Committee 

End of May 2021

Official announcement of 2021 Scholars 


Apply Now

Use the Foundation's online portal to enter the competition