Frequently asked questions about the IDRC International Doctoral Research Awards, the award conditions and the application process.

General FAQs

I am interested in the IDRA. Can you send me more information?

All details concerning the IDRA are included in the guidelines available during the application period, including eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and required documentation.

What are my chances of being selected for an IDRA?

The process is highly competitive. A high number of applications is received during each call.

Are the application deadlines the same every year?

No, the application deadlines change annually.

How can this award be used?

This award covers field research expenses for advanced doctoral students who intend to conduct their field research in one or more developing countries. Funds may be used to collect data and samples in the field, conduct interviews or surveys with local populations and organize focus groups or workshops. Applicants must use findings from their field research to write their doctoral dissertation or thesis. You are not eligible for this award if you intend to use it only to analyze or disseminate final results, finalize videos or spend time in a lab.

Can this award be used to cover doctoral tuition fees?

No, this award cannot be used to pay university tuition fees. It is not a scholarship; it is a field research award.

Can I use the IDRA for different field research trips?

If you outlined more than one trip in your application and the selection committee agreed with your reasons for additional trip(s), you may use the award to cover the related field research expenses (housing, local transportation, interpretation, etc.).

However, please be aware that only one roundtrip airfare from Canada to a country or region of research will be covered. You must cover any airfare related to other trips to and from Canada to another country or region of research. If you fly from one region directly to another (e.g. West Africa to Central America), IDRC will cover the flight out and the return home, but you must cover the flight between regions. (Note: In-country or in-region flights during field research are considered eligible research expenses.).

Note that if you use the IDRA for different field research trips, you must plan to spend a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks in the field when your research involves one or more countries in one region. The regions are: Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, southern Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Far East Asia, Caribbean, Central America, South America and Oceania.

When your research involves more than one region, you must plan to spend a minimum of five consecutive weeks in the field in each region.

My total research costs will most likely exceed the C$20,000 that IDRC offers. Can I look for additional funding outside IDRC?

Yes, however, the budget section of your application must indicate which field research expenses you intend to cover with the IDRA and which you intend to cover from other funding sources. It is your responsibility to ensure that your other sources of funding allow you to accept the IDRA.

Can I use funds to cover my child’s airfare, that of a caregiver or childcare expenses?

A nursing mother or a single custodial parent can include childcare or babysitting expenses in the budget, but no airfare or related travel expenses (for a child or an accompanying caregiver). The allowable cost is limited to overnight childcare costs, as reasonable and applicable in Canada or in the country of research (i.e. where the child is residing for the duration of the parent’s travel).

How much time must I spend in the field?

If you are selected for an award, you have up to 12 months to start your field research from the date of the award agreement. You must plan to spend a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks in the field.  When your research involves more than one developing country or region, you must plan to spend a minimum of five consecutive weeks in the field in each region. 

I would like to start my field research before the awards are announced. Is this possible?

Yes, but the award is not retroactive. Field research expenses will only be covered from the date indicated in the Award Agreement. If you have finished your field research by the time the results are announced, you will no longer be eligible to receive the award. If you are in the field when the results are announced, this award will not cover the used portion of your airfare or other research expenses incurred before this date. 

Recipient FAQs

What if I am selected for an award but my visa is delayed?

There are some exceptional circumstances in which applicants cannot leave for the field when planned because of visa difficulties, health problems, or other reasons. If such a situation arises, send Universities Canada a written explanation and additional documentation (photocopy of your visa request, medical certificate, etc.). To avoid delays, please ensure that you request any necessary visa(s) as early as possible. 

Will I be required to provide receipts for the costs accrued during my research?

If you are selected for an award, you will be required to provide all receipts except for housing and food/household supplies.  You will be required to provide the invoice confirming payment for the airfare, with a copy of the tickets and boarding passes. 

What does it mean when an applicant receives a conditional award?

Receiving a conditional award means that you have been recommended for an award but on condition that you make changes to your proposal. You will have to respond to the selection committee’s comments and the award will only be granted if your reply is satisfactory. Any delay in responding could delay the selection committee’s final decision as well as your travel dates. 

Can I adjust my budget lines and allocate them to different categories from those mentioned in the predefined budget lines?

Variances in expenses from the original budget are acceptable, as long as they are not overly significant. However, in cases of substantial deviation among budget lines, justification will be necessary. Similarly, it is feasible to allocate budget lines to items not initially budgeted, provided these expenses are reasonable, justifiable, and directly linked to the field research.

What happens if my total spending is either below or above the budget specified in my award agreement?

Reimbursement is based strictly on actual expenses. If your total spending is below the budget outlined in your award agreement, you will only be reimbursed for the amount spent. No additional reimbursement will be provided if you exceed the budget specified in your award agreement.

How should I report expenses incurred in local currencies?

Convert local currency to CAD using the Oanda currency converter and attach in your invoices document the conversion evidence for each charge on the day of the transaction.

Universities Canada