FAQs – Global Skills Opportunity 2022 request for proposals

The RFP includes funds for mobility and innovation activity from 2023-2025 with the aim of providing additional opportunities for Canadian students to study/work abroad and support innovative approaches to reduce barriers to mobility.

Project proposals must be submitted online in English or French via the Universities Canada Portal by December 2, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

** NB: Only Universities Canada is launching a request for proposals at this time. If you are also a member of Colleges and Institutes Canada, we encourage you to connect with the CICan GSO team to understand their program implementation plan.

We are no longer accepting questions for this RFP. Please read through the Q&A below if you have any questions. Please contact [email protected] for any technical difficulties with the application portal.

Application process

Is it possible to submit the same project proposal from 2021?

It is possible to submit the same project proposal from the 2020 (innovation); however, it is not guaranteed that your project will receive the same results. Projects will be assessed and ranked based on the selection criteria identified in the guidelines. Consideration will be given to geographic balance, size of institution, and whether the institution has received GSO funding under previous RFPs. It is possible that a project that was successful in 2020 (innovation) or 2021 (mobility) may be successful or unsuccessful in this RFP.



Should the applications be done from an institutional university account or from the individual applying from the university?

It is at the discretion of the Canadian university to determine who is best positioned to register and submit the application.

Do the guidelines consider institutions who have already received GSO funding but are looking to apply again? What are the chances of success of institutions which have been previously received funding?

We encourage all Canadian universities interested in mobility and/or innovation funding to submit an application. Institutions that did not receive GSO funding with prior RFPs will be prioritized in the selection of this call for proposals. It is possible that an institution that received funding via the 2020 Innovation RFP and/or the 2021 Mobility RFP may receive funding again; the chances of success will depend on the proposals Universities Canada receives.

If an institution was unsuccessful the first round, what tips do you have to strengthen any proposal in general?

Institutions should ensure that the proposals are well-written and that proposed outcomes and activities are clear and realistic within the proposed timeline. We encourage institutions to devote sufficient time to the proposal writing process.

Will the selection committee review the 2021-25 project and compare how similar or varied the 2023-25 project is?

The applications submitted via this call for proposals will be assessed independently by the selection committee. The selection committee will not review prior submissions from the 2020 innovation RFP nor the 2021 mobility RFP.

Is travel within Canada permitted through the Innovation Fund?

In-Canada travel including transportation and accommodation may be eligible as expense under the innovation project RFP.

Do we have to choose between Universities Canada and CICan to apply? Or can we submit a different project to each organization?

Only Universities Canada is launching a request for proposals at this time. If you are also a member of Colleges and Institutes Canada, we encourage you to connect with the CICan GSO team to understand their program implementation plan.

I already have a GSO account but when I sign in, I do not have access to the new request for proposals.

Go to https://portal.scholarshippartners.ca/welcome/GSO_EN/  and click Register to Submit a Proposal. Register with the same email you use to log in to your portal to gain access to the new proposal’s application portal. If you experience any technical issues, please contact [email protected]. 

Who can submit a proposal? Should a proposal be submitted by a faculty supported by the International Relations Office or should it be the opposite, i.e., that the IR Office submits the proposal and works with that specific faculty?

It is at the discretion of the university to determine who is best positioned to write and submit the application.

We already received funding for a mobility project. Does that mean that the mobility stream is now “closed” for us and that we should submit a proposal under the innovation stream?

Institutions that received funding through the 2021 mobility RFP are welcome to submit an application for additional mobility funding via this RFP. Priority will be given to institutions that have not received GSO funding to date.

In the mobility proposal, what is the difference between questions 3.2.c and 3.4.c, and what information should we be including in 3.4.c specifically that is different from 3.2.c? 

Questions in section 3.2 Project Summary are to give the reader an overview of the project while as question 3.4.c is to provide more details about the types of experiences supported so the selection committee has a clear understanding of the student experience. It is at the discretion of the applicant to determine which information to include to best communicate this information to the selection committee.

In the mobility proposal for question 5.1.a, are you trying to understand the rationale for the university in submitting a proposal, or in undertaking the proposed program? Or the rationale for why the project meets the GSO project aims?  And is the expectation that the rationale be linked somehow to the project management approach decision. 

The purpose of questions in section 5.1 is for the selection committee to understand the need for the project and the project implementation approach to ensure its success. In other words: why should we fund this project vs other projects? Why this project in particular? How can we ensure it will be successful given the budget, timeline, program objectives, known uncertainties (ie the pandemic) and unknown uncertainties (ie. Russia invasion of Ukraine, climate change crisis, etc.), etc.? Should unforeseen circumstances arise (pandemic or other), how will you adapt your project to adjust to this circumstance?  

 The selection committee will evaluate the soundness of the project management approach and methodology. It is at the discretion of the applicant to determine how best to communicate this in the application form.  

In the mobility proposal for question 5.1.c, is this question asking how our institution engages in risk management and what our approach to safety and security is for international activities in general? Please clarify how this compares to question 5.1.b and 5.6.b.

This question is asking broadly how your project would adapt should unforeseen circumstances arise. It is at the discretion of the institution to determine what strategy makes most sense. The intention of this question is to demonstrate to the selection committee that plans are in place to ensure student safety, as well as the success of the project if activity needs to shift. Question 5.1 b is specific to the pandemic, a known uncertainty, while 5.1c is related to unknown uncertainties. Question 5.1b is asking details at the project level (ie how will you adjust activity at the project level to ensure student safety), while question 5.6 is specific to the student experience and wraparound supports to ensure safety. 

In the mobility proposal for question 5.2.a, what is your definition of major activities?

It is at the discretion of the institution to determine what constitutes a major activity within the scope of their project. The selection committee will evaluate the extent to which the project contributes to the overall objectives and outcomes of the program.

In the mobility proposal, for question 3.2.c, what information are you looking for compared to question 3.2.a? Is there anything specific regarding program design or structure that you're looking for? 

Question 3.2a) asks for a project abstract – this is a short overview of the whole project that will be used for communication purposes and is to give stakeholders (ie. the funder, selection committee members, etc.) a highlevel snapshot of the project. Question 3.2 c) asks for a summary of student experiences supported through this project. This could include details on whether the project focuses on study and/or work abroad, physical and/or virtual experiences, types of studies supported, destination countries, other details specific to the student experience supported through the project. It is at the discretion of the applicant to determine which details to include to best communicate the student experiences supported to the selection committee.

Are we able to approve a student to go somewhere that was not listed on the original proposal? I.e. if a student chooses to go on their own study abroad term for academic credit to a country we aren’t partnered with? New

Yes. It is possible to add partners during implementation within the scope of the project.


Will consortium proposals count towards the limits per institution?

Canadian universities are invited to submit one application for mobility funding and/or one application for innovation funding. The limit of one per institution applies to both individual and lead applicants of consortia projects.

There will be no limit to how many consortia applications an institution can be a part of, so long as they are only the lead applicant on one proposal.

Can institutions submit a proposal as part of a consortium for innovation funding and a proposal individually for physical mobility funding?

There are two concurrent RFPs: 1) innovation projects 2) mobility projects. Under both streams, a university may submit one project proposal as an individual OR one as a consortium. For instance:

  • A university could submit an individual innovation project application AND an individual mobility project application
  • A university could submit a consortia innovation project application AND a consortia mobility project application
  • A university could submit an individual innovation project application AND a consortia mobility project application, or vice versa.
  • A university could submit one application to either stream of funding

It is possible for students to engage in both opportunities. We strongly encourage you to read carefully through the innovation guidelines project objectives and the list of sample activities. The restriction of one application for innovation projects, and one application for mobility projects applies only for this round of RFPs administered through Universities Canada.

How many consortia can each institution be part of? New

There is no limit to how many consortia applications an institution can be a part of, so long as they are only the lead applicant on one proposal. All applications will be reviewed independently by the selection committee. There will be one selection committee for mobility projects and a separate selection committee for innovation projects.

Can we be considered a consortium with our two campuses and still obtain the maximum funding?

The applicant must be a Canadian university that has recognized provincial degree granting powers, or their affiliates. Each institution that is part of a consortium must be recognized as separate university. 

Funding and programming

Can this be a top-up to current funding?

Institutions may use this opportunity to build on existing outbound mobility programming. Funds cannot be transferred from one project to another. Each application will be reviewed and assessed individually. Each successful application will sign a new contribution agreement with Universities Canada.

Will funding be managed through a contribution agreement?

Yes, successful institutions will sign a contribution agreement with Universities Canada.

The program has specific targets for funding. Do institutions need to adhere to the funding breakdown of 50% for underrepresented students, 40% for diversifying destination countries and 10% to reducing barriers?

The selection process will ensure program targets are achieved at a national level. It is not required to follow the funding breakdown at the project level.

Can the Innovation Funding be used to create a new project for target students, or does the funding have to be distributed to students directly?

Innovation projects may support a diverse range of activities. Please see section 2.1 in the guidelines for the innovation fund objectives and sample activities, and section 2.3 for eligible expenses.

How soon do activities need to start once funding is received?

Activity may start as soon as the contribution is signed by the university and Universities Canada

Is there a total funding value that will be distributed to all universities and colleges as a whole that you are able to share?

The selection process seeks to fund quality proposals that support the project objectives. The selection process will give particular consideration to geographic balance, size of institution, and prior institutions that have received GSO funding to ensure quality opportunities across Canadian universities and ensure the program reflects the diversity of Canadian institutions.

What is the timeline for projects for these new proposals? Will both projects be implemented simultaneously? If so, would it be added to our existing project, or existing separately (for reporting and other purposes).

The timing of project activities is at the discretion of the institution to determine. The end date for the pilot program is March 30, 2025. This applies for 2021 mobility projects, as well as both innovation and mobility projects with the current RFP. We hope to sign agreements with awarded projects as early as February 2022. Each project will be treated as a separate entity from a selection, reporting and contracting perspective. For instance, each project will have a separate contract with Universities Canada, and each project will be required to submit individual narrative and financial reports.

For the innovation application, can part of the grant be used to the cover the cost of travel and accommodations for individuals from outside of Canada to come to Canada? For example, inviting faculty or staff members from a partner institution to come and meet with our faculty members to map out a curriculum together.

International students are ineligible for funding under GSO. It is possible for innovation project funds to support partner activities, including travel costs to Canada, as long as the activity supports the program objectives (section 1.1 of the Innovation Guidelines), and innovation project objectives (section 2.1 in the Innovation Guidelines). The selection committee will assess the extent to which the project provides good value for money. 

If we asked for the full amount of $300,000, is there a scenario where we would be offered less (i.e. if less funds were available to us – would we be offered to adjust our budget to meet that new lower amount?)? New

Proposals may be accepted, rejected or provided conditional approval. It may be possible that only certain elements of a proposal are approved for funding. Selection committee results will be shared with applicants at the end of January 2023. 

Is it a permanent yearly initiative which would mean we could expect another round of call for proposals next year? 

Global Skills Opportunity is a pilot program that is part of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy. In 2021, we launched a large call for proposal for mobility projects of up to four years in duration. The current request for proposals is for the remaining program funds and for activity from 2023 to March 30, 2025. It is unlikely we will run another request for proposal between now and the end of the pilot program (March 30, 2025).


Can a student participate in multiple physical mobility and virtual mobility by receiving funding from the 2021 RFP and the current RFP?

Students may participate in one physical and one virtual GSO experience.  It is at the discretion of the Canadian university to determine if the funding is from the 2021 mobility RFP or the current RFP.

Will the target groups' definitions be expanded to include other underrepresented groups (other than Indigenous students, students with disabilities and low-income students)?

The program seeks to widen access and equity to participation in outbound student mobility programming. Target student groups, as identified in the federal policy for the pilot program, include low-income students, students with disabilities and Indigenous students. The program seeks to capture demographic data beyond these groups to provide feedback to the funder for consideration for future phases of the program.

Can Innovation proposals target graduate students, or must they target undergraduate students only?

Only undergraduate Canadian and/or permanent resident students are eligible to participate in the GSO program.

Universities Canada