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Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements for Current CGS Holders - SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR

The CGS-MSFSS Program supports high-calibre Canadian graduate students in building global linkages and international networks through the pursuit of exceptional research experiences at recognized universities abroad. By accessing international scientific research and training, CGSMSFSS recipients contribute to strengthening the potential for collaboration between Canadian universities and affiliated research institutions and universities, or other research institutions outside of Canada.

Funding supplements are available to active CGS master’s, CGS doctoral or eligible Vanier CGS holders to help offset the costs of undertaking research studies outside Canada for a defined period.

Up to $6,000. Supplements are non-renewable. The defined research study period abroad to be covered by the supplement must be for a minimum of two months to a maximum of six months.

Applications deadlines are usually in late September, late January and late May each year. 

Current deadline: September 30, 2020

Applications are to be submitted to the Yeates School of Graduate Studies.

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada by the application deadline;
  • Be registered at an eligible Canadian institution at time of application;
  • Undertake your proposed trip abroad no earlier than the competition deadline date;
  • Not hold or have held any other foreign study supplements during the course of your graduate studies; and
  • have accepted or hold one of the following:
    • a master’s- or doctoral-level Frederick Banting and Charles Best CGS (CIHR);
    • a master’s- or doctoral-level Alexander Graham Bell CGS (NSERC);
    • a master’s- or doctoral-level Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS (SSHRC); or
    • a Vanier CGS.

Natasha Mills
Coordinator, Scholarships and Awards
Yeates School of Graduate Studies

Recipient profiles

Our Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement holders share how the award has helped them pursue their research abroad.

Cole Anderson, Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management MA

Bev Fredborg, Psychology PhD candidate

“I am incredibly grateful for the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement as this award will allow me to attend the laboratory of Dr. Martin Bohus in Mannheim, Germany. There, I will conduct important research on predictors of treatment response for individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who have completed dialectical behaviour therapy, the gold-standard treatment for individuals with this disorder.

“The educational opportunities I will receive in the Bohus lab are of extreme value, both in shaping my career path as a clinician-scientist-in-training, as well as in informing my work on my PhD dissertation. Moreover, it will help me form meaningful relationships between researchers in Toronto and in Germany, which should prove fruitful for years to come.”

Bev Fredborg, Psychology PhD

Alexandra Gooding, Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management MA candidate

“I am grateful to have been awarded the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, which will significantly aid me in completing my thesis research and work placement at the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Library department at Cambridge University Library, England.

“My research focuses on the historic photographic representation of the circum-Caribbean and how that region is visually represented and made accessible in institutional collections. My thesis critically examines the geographic vocabularies prescribed by international archival description standards and how their rigorous nature often inhibits accurate and consistent descriptions of this complex region, thereby hindering users’ intellectual access to Caribbean-related materials. I will be using the RCS’s photograph collection as a case study to develop my research while simultaneously assisting with the preservation and cataloguing of their photographic materials.”

Alexandra Gooding, Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management MA

Amber Grant, Environmental Applied Science and Management PhD candidate

“My PhD research explores whether and how environmental justice goals are being defined, pursued and implemented in community tree-planting plans and programs in Philadelphia, Pa. With support from the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, I will be able to work with Dr. Lara Roman at the U.S. Forest Service in Philadelphia.

“This opportunity will allow me to build and strengthen relationships with urban forest practitioners and community members who are actively engaged in urban tree-planting and tree care work. Additionally, I will have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Roman, an expert and prolific author in urban forest management and ecology.

“I am grateful for this meaningful opportunity to collaboratively engage in transdisciplinary research abroad, strengthen my doctoral work and establish lasting relationships with the urban forest community in Philadelphia.”

Amber Grant, Environmental Applied Science and Management PhD

Stephanie Hill, Communication and Culture PhD candidate

“My research examines private companies as actors in communication about political controversies, and particularly considers their effectiveness and appropriateness in providing or removing a platform for different kinds of political speech. Research of this kind requires a range of case studies and the support of the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement enables me to spend a semester studying under the supervision of Dr. Robin Mansell at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London, U.K. Studying in England provides an opportunity to expand my analysis beyond North America, to include the perspectives of professionals engaging with a uniquely challenging political crisis, and to draw on the expertise of internationally renowned academics in my field. I’m looking forward to incorporating new perspectives into my research and learning from colleagues in England and across Europe.”

Stephanie Hill, Communication and Culture PhD

Vathsala Illesinghe, Policy Studies PhD candidate

“At a time when there is a greater demand for global, cross-national perspectives in migration studies, research in this domain must transcend borders, make room for a wide range of perspectives, languages, cultures and be open to bold, new forms of inquiry. The Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement allows me to take on this challenging task. It provides an additional source of support for a period of fieldwork in South Asia to understand women’s pre-migration experiences, to gather perspectives of stakeholders in the country of origin and to collaboratively co-create and disseminate knowledge ensuring its reach beyond Canada. With the generosity of this supplement, there is an opportunity to explore future research collaborations and begin some of the work that goes beyond a PhD dissertation. Creating space for South Asian women’s transnational organizing and activism would be the most significant and overarching long-term outcome of the work supported by this award.”

Vathsala Illesinghe, Policy Studies PhD

Tamara Meixner


"Being awarded a Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement will allow me to spend summer 2018 at Yale University conducting research alongside Dr. Nancy Suchman and her team. In the United States, Dr. Suchman is a leader in the development and evaluation of attachment-based parenting interventions for mothers with substance use and psychiatric disorders.

"This opportunity to expand and strengthen my clinical research abilities will both facilitate the completion of my ongoing doctoral work here at Ryerson and shape my future thinking and contributions to the field.

"I am grateful for this exciting training endeavour and hope that it will be one of many research partnerships between Ryerson and Yale.​"

Tamara Meixner, Psychology PhD student, 2017 CIHR Doctoral Award recipient

Fiona Thomas


"As a recipient of the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, I have had the opportunity to conduct my PhD dissertation research in Sri Lanka. My research is focused on the risk and resilience factors of comorbid psychopathology in return migrants in post-conflict Northern Sri Lanka.

"I partnered with researchers and clinicians from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, and from the University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. During my time in Sri Lanka, I worked closely with local researchers to ensure that my research questions were appropriate for the political climate of post-war Sri Lanka. I also provided qualitative data collection training to research assistants based in Northern Sri Lanka and collaborated with them to translate questionnaires and conduct interviews with participants.

"I am grateful for this novel global mental health opportunity and hope that it will lead to additional future international collaborations for Ryerson."

Fiona C. Thomas, Psychology PhD student

Eli Vandersluis


"My research focuses on improving the thermal conductivity of cast aluminum automotive components, with efforts towards enhancing engine efficiency and promoting environmental sustainability. With support from the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, I will be able to spend summer 2019 enriching my work at Technion in Israel, a world-renowned expert in the advanced characterization of materials.

"While there, I will have the opportunity to expand my knowledge of materials analysis techniques and make use of their state-of-the-art, high-resolution apparatus. The data generated during my studies abroad will complement and strengthen my findings as well as add much depth to my research scope.

"I look forward to this valuable international experience, and I am excited to perform significant and stimulating work that will support my project objectives."

Eli Vandersluis, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering PhD student

Richard Zeifman


"I am grateful to have been awarded the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement. This award will allow me to spend the summer conducting research under the supervision of Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris at Imperial College London. 

"Dr. Carhart-Harris is an expert in psychedelic drugs and is conducting a randomized controlled trial comparing psilocybin (a psychedelic drug) and escitalopram (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; SSRI) as interventions for major depressive disorder.

"During my time in London, I will be contributing toward this trial and exploring the impact of psychedelics on suicidality. This opportunity will allow me to explore psychedelics as a potentially novel intervention for suicidality, as well as collaborate and establish important relationships with research and clinicians at Imperial College London."

Richard Zeifman, Psychology PhD student

Chris Raghubar


"The Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement has allowed me to receive critical and comprehensive feedback from experts in the field of thermal engineering – specifically, heat transfer and energy storage.

"Although challenging at times, my studies at the National Institute of Applied Science (INSA) in Lyon, France have been extremely rewarding and have improved the quality of my research in terms of both novelty and rigorousness, pushing me to thoroughly evaluate, refine and execute my research scope.

"Studying at INSA has also enabled me to meet various students from around the world, travel to several destinations, and enjoy the European quality of life."

Christopher Raghubar, Building Science MASc student, 2017 NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's (CGS-M) recipient