About the scholarship and leadership program


Does the Foundation offer Scholarships other than at the doctoral level?  

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship program is for students at the doctoral level only. The Foundation does not offer funding for undergraduate or master's programs. 


Is the Scholarship valid for three or four years?  

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship is a three-year program (with no possibilities of extension) and Scholars must be involved for the three years in the learning program of the Scholarship. 


What if I graduate before the end of the three-year program? 

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship program is a highly competitive program, and we want to ensure that spots are given to eligible candidates that will remain active during the three years of the program. If you graduate before the end of the three-year program, it is possible that you may be asked to reimburse the Foundation for funds received during the program.   


What does the Scholarship cover?  

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars receive: 

  • Up to $40,000 per year for three years to cover tuition and reasonable living expenses to support Scholars to focus on their doctoral studies and the Foundation's leadership program. 
  • Tailored leadership training from our Fellows and Mentors, for each cohort of Scholars, notably in the context of our Institutes of Engaged Leadership, which are held twice a year, in Canada and abroad, as well as related travel and accommodations (for an approximate value of $5,000).
  • Opportunities to acquire greater proficiency in Canada’s official languages (French and English) as well as Indigenous languages for up to $5,000 a year. 
  • Up to $10,000 per year for three years, as a research, networking, and travel allowance related to the Scholar's doctoral research. 
  • Membership in a vibrant community of Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows, all of whom are leaders in their respective disciplines and sectors, and lifelong membership in the Foundation’s alumni network. 


What is the Scientific Cycle beginning in 2024?  

The theme of our 2024-2027 Scientific Cycle will be The Future of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: A Comparative Dialogue. This theme will contextualize the leadership training offered to the 2024 cohort of Scholars. Please note that Scholars’ studies need not be directly related to this theme; Scholars are not selected based on their expertise with respect to the theme of the Scientific Cycle, but rather their interest and capacity to embark on this leadership journey within this context. This innovative model aims to help Scholars look beyond their areas of expertise and develop their engagement with issues and ideas that are not necessarily part of their academic training. 

For more information on the theme of the 2024-2027 Scientific Cycle, please consult the Scientific Cycles page.  


What is meant by Brave Spaces

Through its community events (in-person and virtual gatherings), the Foundation creates Brave Spaces where a multiplicity of ideas may be expressed and debated in an open and welcoming fashion, while respecting diversity of all forms. These Brave Spaces are accountable and democratic, valuing difference and expecting that participants share their experience and come to new understanding. Under this conception of dialogue and collaboration between diverse forms of knowledge and lived experiences, one accepts to take risks as one chooses the path that may bring greater discomfort but, at the same time, may prompt creativity, freedom, and greater understanding. 

This commitment to Brave Spaces, privileging robust debates while offering a safety net of policy, empathy circles, and mutual respect, recognizes that challenging and sometimes uncomfortable discussions are important steps on the road to becoming an Engaged Leader. 

Learn more about the Foundation’s approach to Brave Spaces


What is the Code of Community Engagement?

The Code is designed to highlight positive engagement in pluralistic settings and encourage a culture of academic and intellectual freedom and open speech. The Foundation’s Brave Spaces privilege robust debate and the celebration of difference, both critical to meaningful engagement with communities across the country. These can be challenging and sometimes uncomfortable discussions. The Code of Community Engagement was designed to ensure these exchanges are supported by a safety net of mutual respect.

The Code took two years to develop. During two years, the Foundation consulted peer organizations around the world, researched best practices, and had crucial guidance from the Foundation's Advisory Committee on Diversity, composed of active and alumni Scholars, Fellows and Mentors of the Foundation. 

All members of the community of Scholars, Fellows, and Mentors are asked to confirm annually that they have read, have understood, and will continue to comply with the Foundation’s policies and guidelines, including the Code.


In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, what happens with programming events such as the Institutes of Engaged Leadership?  

Within the context of the pandemic, the format for the Foundation’s forthcoming events is being adapted in accordance with national and local restrictions. Some small, local, in-person gatherings may take place, if conditions allow. Otherwise, the Foundation will continue to engage its community primarily through digital events via a videoconferencing platform. 


If I am selected as a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholar, may I accept other awards? Does the Foundation have a policy on the cumulation of awards?  

Yes, Scholars may receive multiple awards and accumulation is permitted to a certain extent. In accordance with the Foundation’s Policy on Scholarships and the Cumulation of Awards, “External Awards include any and all awards carrying a monetary value with the stated intention to cover any combination of student fees, tuition, and/or living expenses”. This policy states that the first $20,000 of the $40,000 annual stipend is guaranteed to all Scholars. For those who receive multiple awards, the Foundation reduces the amount of the remaining stipend in accordance with the value of the award to a minimum of $20,000 a year. For illustration purposes: 

  • A Scholar who receives an external award of $20,000 or less a year would qualify for $40,000 a year.  
  • A Scholar who receives an external award of $35,000 a year would qualify for $25,000 a year. 
  • A Scholar with external awards of $50,000 or more a year would receive $20,000 a year. 

Upon being nominated and on a regular basis during their tenure, Scholars must offer a full and forthright accounting of any external funding they receive.  

The Foundation does not differentiate whether the Scholar is studying abroad or in Canada. For a Scholar studying abroad and receiving an external award in a non-Canadian currency, the Foundation converts this funding in Canadian dollars to establish the amount of this external award. 


Can I work if I hold a Scholarship with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation?  

Scholars may work part-time and continue to fully benefit from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. That includes work on campus as research assistants, teacher assistants, lecturers and other on-campus, academic, part-time roles.  

Please note that full-time employment would render a Scholar ineligible for the scholarship, regardless of whether they are also a full-time student.


What happens if I need to take a leave of absence from my studies (e.g. parental leave, professional leave, etc.)?  

The commitments we ask of our Scholars are part of a specific three-year path within a specific cohort. But we understand that life happens! Foundation Scholars may pause their Scholarship for parental, medical, personal, or professional leave for a maximum of one year, notably in circumstances where they are temporarily not a registered full-time doctoral student.  

The funds are put on hold until the Scholar returns to their university and is once again registered as a full-time doctoral student. The Foundation considers each situation differently and may propose different options for Scholars to re-enter the leadership programming upon their return. 


If I am named a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, what is the process for receiving the Scholarship funds?  

If selected by the Application and Nomination Review Committee (ANRC) and approved by the Board of Directors as a Scholar, and once you have signed your funding agreement and provided the supporting documentation, you will officially be eligible to begin receiving the Scholarship: a stipend and annual travel and language learning allowances. 

The annual stipend is paid in three equal installments per year.

About the scholarship and leadership program application process


What is the deadline for application to the competition?  

The 2024 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholarship Competition will open on October 10, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. EST. Candidates must now apply directly to the Foundation through its online application portal. The final deadline to submit applications to the Foundation is December 1, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  


Do I need to let my university know that I want to apply? 

No, although your university may ask you to let them know that you are applying, that you have applied, or that you have been shortlisted in the selection process. In contrast with previous years, the Foundation no longer requires that applicants be officially nominated by their university to be considered for the Scholarship.

All eligible candidates who submit completed applications by December 1, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST deadline will be reviewed and assessed by the Foundation. 

Please note that your university will be notified, should you advance to Round One and Round Two of the selection process.


Where can I find the application form? 

The application form can be found by registering with and logging into the Foundation’s application portal


Can I send my own application directly to the Foundation?  

Yes. Since last year, the Foundation is accepting applications directly through its application portal.

In contrast with previous years, universities are no longer required to hold an internal selection process and nominate a limited number of their preferred candidates. The Foundation will be reviewing all completed applications it receives by the application deadline on December 1, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  


How do I apply?  

First, go to the Foundation’s application portal. On the landing page of the portal, you may toggle the page in either English or French, which will also change the language of the application form.  

If you are not already registered on the Foundation’s new platform, you must register by clicking “Register here” and completing the eligibility criteria questions and ensuing registration information. Once complete, you will receive an email with a link to set up your username and password. The email should arrive within five minutes. If you do not receive this email, please refresh your inbox, and check your spam folder.  

Once you have logged in, you will be brought your personal Dashboard on the Foundation’s portal. You may return to your Dashboard at any time during the process by clicking on “Home” in the top right corner of your window. 

Once within the portal, please complete the mandatory questions in your Profile. If you are selected by the Foundation, you will be asked to complete the other sections of your Profile. To exit your Profile, click Next or return to your Dashboard. 

To begin an application form for the 2024 Scholarship competition, click on “Funding Opportunities” and then “Apply Now”.  

You can save a draft of your application and return to it from now until December 1, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  

Please make sure to click ”Submit” once you have completed your application, uploaded your transcripts and received notifications that your referees submitted their referral form. 

All eligible candidates who submit a completed application by December 1, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST will go through a rigorous selection process. Shortlisted candidates (round one) will be contacted in February 2024 and invited to group interviews. Finalists (round two) will be invited to individual interviews in March 2024.  


 How do I know when my file is complete and ready for submission?  

  1. You have completed an application form (minimum requirement is completing all mandatory questions).  
  2. You have received notifications that both your referees submitted their referral form.  
  3. You uploaded your transcripts. 

You are ready to submit your application! 


How do I know if my application was submitted?  

You will receive a confirmation email with your application in PDF.  

In addition, in your personal Dashboard on the portal, one application should be listed as “Submitted” under “Applications”. 


Which transcripts should be submitted?  

Please upload transcripts covering your entire post-secondary education in one PDF document. Candidates who attended CEGEP in Quebec should not include their CEGEP transcripts. Official transcripts are not required for your application, but you may be asked to provide official copies if your application is successful. 


Does the Foundation provide a format for reference letters?  

References are asked to complete a predetermined referral form, which includes both a narrative referral as well as a numerical evaluation of the candidate against the selection criteria.  

We are no longer asking referees to upload their reference letter in PDF format on our portal. The referral forms must be completed by the referee on the application portal prior to December 1, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Please note that candidates will not be able to submit their application without two submitted and completed referral forms.

References will be asked to provide complete detailed answers to the following questions:

  • The applicant’s willingness to engage with a diversity of people, cultures, institutions, forms of knowledge, ideologies, and perspectives and how they do so. 
  • The applicant’s leadership abilities, talents and skills that set them apart from the others in their field and community.
  • The applicant’s creativity, resourcefulness, and adaptability in the candidate’s thinking, research, and profile, including how they face challenges, failure, adversity, risks, and discomfort. 
  • The applicant’s engagement in critical thinking and reflection on society and possible solutions and how the applicant’s explores grey areas and assumptions. 

The Foundation may contact referees for additional information and confirmation.  


Is it okay if both my referrals are written by an academic? 

The Foundation is seeking candidates whose experience, abilities or potential go beyond the academic world and our selection criteria reflect this. The reference letter should focus on skills, abilities, and potential. However, if you feel that the person who is best placed to attest to this happens to also work in an academic setting, you may ask that person for a reference. Please ensure that your reference understands what the Foundation expects from its references.  


Will I be notified about the status of my application?  

Once your application is fully submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. Afterwards, only applicants selected as semi-finalists are notified of the status of their application. 

If you are selected as a semi-finalist, you will be invited to participate in group interviews via videoconference. These interviews are an opportunity for semi-finalists to connect with one another, meet the Foundation staff, and gain a better understanding of the Foundation and its leadership development program. Candidates selected for semi-final interviews will be contacted by February 5, 2024 for group interviews which will take place between February 20-23, 2024.  

After semi-final interviews, outstanding semi-finalists will be invited to national interviews which will be held from March 27-29, 2024 with members of the Selection Committee. 

About eligibility


Which disciplines does the Foundation consider to be social sciences and humanities?  

The Foundation recognizes that many doctoral students are working on research projects that are interdisciplinary and qualify as advanced research in the social sciences and humanities, regardless of their faculty or department affiliation. In general, to qualify as research in the social sciences and humanities, a candidate’s research should seek “to add to our understanding and knowledge of individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live, and how we interact with each other and the world around us” (SSHRC 2017).  

That said, applicants are eligible as long as their research topic relates to one or more of the Foundation’s founding Four Themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and People and their Natural Environment. The Foundation will not assess the eligibility of individuals' research topics by email or over the phone. Applicants do not need to be a doctoral student of a faculty or department normally associated with social sciences and humanities; we also welcome applicants from engineering, business, health sciences and pure and applied sciences that can demonstrate how their research topic relates to one or more of the Four Themes.


Does my research project have to be linked to the Four Themes of the Foundation? 

Yes. You must link your research to one or more of the Foundation’s Four Themes in order to be considered for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. These themes are: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and People in their Natural Environment. Learn more about the Four Themes.  

Please note the Four Themes are distinct from the themes of our Scientific Cycles. While Scholarship candidates must relate their research to one of the Four Themes, they need not relate it to the theme of a given Scientific Cycle, nor do they need to have expertise with on the theme of a Scientific Cycle.  


Can I apply if I am studying part-time for my doctoral degree? 

Only students studying full-time in a doctoral program are eligible to receive a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship.  

Applicants must be registered or accepted in a full-time in a doctoral program at the time they submit their application.


Are applications from non-Canadian students accepted?  

Non-Canadian students (permanent residents or foreign nationals) who have been accepted or are in year one or two of a full-time program, ending in 2027 or later, at a Canadian university are eligible. The selection criteria are the same as for any other student. 


Are Canadians studying at a non-Canadian university eligible?  

Yes. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarships can be awarded to Canadians studying at a foreign university.  


Am I eligible to apply for a Scholarship if I am already enrolled in a doctoral program?  

Yes, you are eligible if you are in year one or two of a full-time doctoral program, ending at least in 2027 or later.  


Am I eligible to apply for a Scholarship if I have applied, or will apply, to a doctoral program but have not started it yet?  

To be eligible for the Scholarship, you must be already accepted into a full-time doctoral program. If you have not yet been accepted into a full-time doctoral program in time for this year's application deadline, we invite you to apply next year once you have been accepted.  


Is there an age limit?  

No. The Foundation prioritizes young researchers at the beginning of their professional careers and will also consider special circumstances that may have influenced a candidate’s academic and professional career paths. 


Is there a grade requirement? 

Applicants must provide evidence of their strong academic performance and intellectual capacity. We will look for evidence of this throughout your application, including in transcripts and referrals. 

That said, keep in mind that “Academic excellence and intellectual capacity” is only one of our selection criteria, along with the willingness to engage with a plurality of perspectives, leadership and engagement, and agility and resilience. For more details on the criteria and what we are looking for, please see the Become a Scholar page. 


Do I need to be fluent in both English and French to receive the Scholarship? 

No, you do not need to be fluent in both official languages to receive the Scholarship. However, all Scholars who are not fluently bilingual in both Official Languages (English and French) are expected to take steps through formal or informal training to improve their proficiency in the Official Language with which they are less familiar. Scholars will be asked to develop and provide study plans for their additional language study. Scholars are also expected to familiarize themselves with Indigenous Languages through the Foundation’s programming and are eligible for support (through the annual research and travel allowance) for independent training in Indigenous Languages. 


About the selection and interview process


What language is used during the interviews?  

The group interviews and individual interviews will be held in English or French, or in both official languages of Canada, depending on the language skills and preferences of the candidate.  


What is the anticipated timeline for the selection process?  

Please see the “2024 competition key dates” on the Become a Scholar page. 


What should I expect during the group interviews?

Congratulations on making it to Round One of the selection process! 

Your application stood out and the Foundation invited you to a group interview. Group interviews are meant to evaluate candidates and identify candidates who best represent the Foundation’s values and selection criteria. For more details on the criteria and what we are looking for, please see the Become a Scholar page. 

There are several group interviews slots during from February 20 to the 23, 2024, and we try to accommodate candidates as much as possible on time zones. 

There are up to 16 candidates in each group interview session. The group interview sessions begin with a presentation by the Foundation on its programs, followed by small group discussions and presentations to the greater group. 

Other frequently asked questions

You may consult the Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024 brochure.

For all other questions, please email: leadership@trudeaufoundation.ca


Our offices are located on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange among various nations.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
600 - 1980 Sherbrooke Street West
Montréal, Quebec Canada H3H 1E8

Phone: +1-514-938-0001
Fax: +1-514-938-0046