All you need to know

Fields supported

These scholarships support research in the areas delineated in our Canada First funding proposal: data science in the broad sense, encompassing methodological research in data science (machine learning, operations research, statistics) and its applications in multiple sectors, including our priority sectors (health, transportation and logistics, energy, business, and finance) and any other sector of application (e.g., sociology, physics, linguistics, engineering).


The goals of this program are to:

  • Train future researchers and professors and, more generally, future actors in the field of digital intelligence, mainly in our IVADO members’ areas of excellence: operations research, machine learning, and decision science;
  • Promote mobility, recruitment and retention of young researchers;
  • Foster development of collaborative and applied cutting-edge research.


Date of next competition

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Previous competition calendar for information purposes:

  • Application deadline: May 13, 2020, 11 a.m. EDT
  • Expected results notification date: August 2020
  • Funding start date: July 1 or October 1, 2020, or February 1, 2021


Amount, duration and terms

Amounts of salaries (not awards) and funding period

  • Regular funding: $70,000 per year (including benefits) for up to two years, fully funded by IVADO.
  • Partnership funding: $70,000 per year, funded equally by IVADO ($35,000) and a partner ($35,000) (including benefits) for up to two years.
  • Fellow funding: $90,000 per year (including benefits) for up to three years, fully funded by IVADO; an additional $10,000 may be awarded the first year, upon request, to cover relocation expenses, along with $15,000 per year to fund research activities.
  • Upon request, applicants from countries eligible for official development assistance from Canada, may be reimbursed for their relocation expenses to begin their postdoctoral training in Montréal.

Terms of payment

  • The funds (salaries and any reimbursements of relocation expenses) will be transferred to the research office of the supervisor’s home university, and the university will remit payment to the postdoctoral researcher according to its specific rules. For projects requiring ethics approval, funds will not be released until approval is granted. Some projects, for example those receiving partnership funding, may require specific agreements (e.g., pertaining to intellectual property). Funding may be reduced, withheld, delayed, or rescinded under specific circumstances, which will be outlined in the letter of award.

Eligibility criteria

For the postdoctoral applicant

  • You intend to enrol in a program at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, McGill University or the University of Alberta;
  • You have earned your first doctorate within five years prior to the application submission, or expect to earn it by the date the competition results are announced. Some flexibility will be granted in the case of applicants who provide adequate explanation for a career interruption or particular circumstances. Please include this explanation (e.g., parental leave, sick leave) in your application;
  • Priority will be given to candidates with principal PhD affiliations outside Québec. This measure aims to help attract talented international researchers.

For the professor filing the application (supervisor)

  • You must be a faculty member at HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal or Université de Montréal;
  • If you are a faculty member at the University of Alberta or McGill University, you may be a supervisor provided that you are also a full member of one of our research groups (Mila, CIRRELT, GERAD, CERC in Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making, CRM, Tech3Lab);
  • You must have one of the following eligible statuses: assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, research professor, or visiting professor. Adjunct professors are not eligible;
  • You must not have been the PhD thesis director or co-director of the candidate;
  • You may not submit more than one application for this competition.
  • On the funding start date, you will not be supervising more than two postdoctoral interns funded under this program.

Submitting an application

Go to our dedicated online platform to apply.

/!\ Applications submitted by e-mail will be automatically rejected.

The application package must include:

  • A questionnaire to be completed on the dedicated platform, INCLUDING a plain-language description of the project (maximum one page including references);
    An example of a completed questionnaire is available here;
  • The applicant’s CV (free format);
  • The applicant’s official PhD transcripts (please explain the grading scale in the case of non-Canadian universities);
  • At least two but not more than three letters of recommendation, including one from the supervisor (current or potential);
  • A letter of confirmation from the partner, if the applicant and supervisor are explicitly requesting partnership postdoctoral funding.

Evaluation of applications

Applications will be reviewed to ensure compliance with the program criteria (e.g., applications must be complete, must comply with the page limit, and must list eligible applicants and supervisors only) and obvious alignment of the research project with the field of digital intelligence. Only applications that meet all criteria will be forwarded to the review committee.

The review committee will be made up of university professors well versed in the IVADO areas of excellence, none of whom must be listed as a director/supervisor by any of the applicants. Subject to availability of reviewers, we will constitute a parity-based review committee. Given the small size of the community in certain fields, it may prove difficult to select expert reviewers who are not listed in an application submitted to the competition. In such cases, a reviewer may be required to assess an application despite being so listed; an external reviewer may also be asked to participate. The committee shall ensure by all possible means that no reviewer attempts to influence the ranking of their own application in which they are listed.

The review committee will then rank the applications based on excellence as well as the projects’ alignment with IVADO’s overarching framework, which aims to promote multidisciplinary collaboration and diversity in digital intelligence.

With regard to excellence, the committee will specifically assess:

  • The applicant’s contributions to research (scientific impact, quality of research, productivity, and previous funding awarded);
  • The quality of the applicant’s doctoral thesis and their academic excellence;
  • The depth and breadth of their experience: multidisciplinary and professional experience, extra-academic activities, collaborations, contributions to the scientific community and to society as a whole, etc.; and
  • Alignment of their experience with the proposed project.

Applicants who apply for partnership funding will also be ranked based on their projects’ applied research potential.

The review committee will rank the applicants seeking regular and partnership funding. While in session, the review committee may award Fellow funding to outstanding applicants seeking regular funding.

Pursuant to a resolution of the IVADO Scientific Committee, the review committee will not produce any comments on the evaluation.


Postdoctoral researcher

  • Be physically present at the supervisor’s home university or, in the case of partnership funding, divide your time between your home university and the partner company/organization;
  • Contribute to the IVADO community and our activities, including, e.g.:
    • Giving presentations on your research;
    • Taking part in training and knowledge dissemination activities;
    • Consultations; and
    • Providing support during various activities that are normally undertaken by career researchers (e.g., mentorship, including as part of the SEUR project, participation in evaluations, co-organization of events);
  • Acknowledge that you are a member of an academic community to which you will contribute;
  • Comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. You are encouraged to publish your research findings (e.g., papers, recordings of presentations, source code, databases) in compliance with the intellectual property rules governing your specific situation;
  • Acknowledge the support of IVADO and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund / Apogée when disseminating research results and, more broadly, in all activities in which you take part.

For the supervisor

  • Provide a work environment conducive to completion of the project;
  • Oversee the student’s work.

Our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

To ensure all members of society draw equal benefit from the advancement of knowledge and opportunities in digital intelligence, we promote principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion across all of our programs, and we commit to providing a recruitment process and research setting that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, open, and transparent.


  • Does my CV need to be in a specific format?

No, there is no particular CV format to be followed. Note, however, that each element of your application package must help the members of the review committee to form an opinion. A CV that is too long or confusing may make assessment more difficult.

  • Are there any specific rules for the letters of recommendation?


  • As a candidate, can I send the letters of recommendation  myself?

No; letters of recommendation may only be uploaded by their authors, via the dedicated platform.

  • Can I send in my unofficial transcripts myself?

No; you must use the dedicated platform to upload all your official transcripts, including all current results.

  • I earned my PhD in a country that does not provide a transcript. What should I do?

Please include a note in your application and provide the transcript for your master’s degree instead.

  • What are the conditions of the funding?

An example of the award letter is available here.

  • Can I engage in any other paid activity, e.g., consulting, while doing my postdoctoral work?

The funding amount is meant to allow you to focus exclusively on your research; however, complementary activities are equally important to your training. To balance these two aspects, it is acceptable for you to engage in paid activities that:

– are compliant with the policies of the home institution regarding other sources of income; and
– do not prevent you from doing the work for which you are receiving IVADO funding as if you were doing it full time.

  • Can this funding be combined with other funding?

This funding may not be combined held concurrently with other NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR or IVADO funding. Generally speaking, we do not encourage combinations of funding/scholarships funded from other sources, but we do not prohibit them either, as they may be justified in some cases.

  • Which types of professor are eligible to apply?

For the supervising principal investigator, the affiliation constraints are that they must be a professor at:
– HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal or Université de Montréal, with no other constraints;
– McGill University or the University of Alberta, provided that you they are also a full member of one of the following research groups: Mila, CIRRELT, GERAD, CERC in Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making, CRM, or Tech3Lab).

  • For the principal investigator, the eligible statuses are:
    • Assistant professor, associate or regular professor, full professor;
    • Research professor;
    • Visiting researcher.

    Adjunct professors are not eligible.

/!\ A change in the principal investigator’s status or affiliation during the funding period may result in the cessation of funding.

Scholarships in partnership

  • Is it possible to apply for partnership funding without having a partner at the time of the application?

No; unfortunately, you must have found your partner before submitting your application. A letter of commitment from your partner is also required.

  • For partnership funding, are there any specific rules for writing the confirmation letter from the partner, and by whom should it be written?

The confirmation letter must be written by the project supervisor within the partner company/organization, and must contain the subject/title of your project and the amount of their financial commitment ($35,000 per year for two years).

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