IDRC Doctoral Research Awards

International Development Research Centre

Grant amount: Up to C $20,000

Anticipated deadline: May 31, 2018 1:00pm PDT

Applicant type: PhD Student

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Micronesia; Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola Expand all

Location of residency: Canada

Location of citizenship: Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Argentina Expand all

Must travel to: Canada, Kenya

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IDRC offers these awards to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing doctoral studies at a Canadian university. These awards are intended for field research in one or more developing countries. Candidates must conduct their research in areas corresponding to the IDRC thematic priorities .

Since 1982, IDRC has helped graduate students undertake thesis research in the field of international development. IDRC Doctoral Research Awards are intended to promote the growth of Canadian and developing country capacity in research to improve the lives of people in the developing world.

Thematic Priorities

Agriculture and Environment

The Agriculture and Environment program area delivers evidence-based innovations in agriculture, climate change, and health sectors to solve issues such as poor agricultural productivity; food insecurity and malnutrition; chronic and infectious diseases; and, risks to lives and livelihoods from a changing climate.

More specifically, Agriculture and Environment supports:

  • Agriculture and food security research on:
    • efficient and sustainable agricultural production, focusing on topics such as secondary crops, fruits and vegetables, and high value animal products to enhance both income and nutrition;
    • improved market access and agricultural value chains for small-holder farmers;
    • improved and affordable livestock vaccines; and,
    • improved financial services for farmers and agricultural businesses.
  • Climate change research to:
    • generate cost-effective solutions and smart use of technology that lead to short-term social and economic gains and guard against climate impacts in the future; generate new knowledge and inform policy in climate change vulnerability hotspots;
    • increase climate resilience of small and medium cities; and,
    • facilitate climate adaptation finance, particularly from private sources.
  • Food systems and health research for:
    • improved health and healthier food systems;
    • prevention of emerging infectious and chronic diseases focussed on food-related chronic illnesses (such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease);
    • prevention and reduction of disease risks from pandemics, emerging infectious diseases, and disease risk linked to tobacco.

Special note: Candidates applying to this call for IDRC Doctoral Research Awards (IDRA) and indicating their area of work as related to the IDRC theme of Agriculture and Environment, will automatically be considered for what was previously entitled the Bentley Cropping Systems Fellowship and will henceforth be known as the Bentley Research Fellowship.

Inclusive Economies

The Inclusive Economies thematic area invests in the efforts of public and private sector actors to establish more dynamic economies with decent work opportunities for the poor; democratic governance systems that can respond to challenges of crime, corruption and violence; vibrant public policy debates generated by local, independent organizations; and improvements in the health of the world’s mothers and children.

More specifically, Inclusive Economies supports:

  • Research on enhancing the economic opportunities of marginalized groups.This focuses in particular on:
    • strengthening women’s economic empowerment;
    • supporting policy and practice to expand economic opportunities for young people; and
    • enhancing private sector development impact, including through innovative forms of collaboration between private and public sectors.
  • Research on:
    • creating safer communities free from insecurity and violent conflict, including more secure and inclusive cities;
    • empowering women and girls to prevent and overcome gender violence; and
    • improving access to effective and responsive justice for vulnerable populations.
    • A focus is on context-specific research that connects to broader regional and international efforts in order to achieve greater impact.
  • Research on organizational development of developing country think tanks and policy research organizations, in particular ways in which they can:
    • strengthen their policy outreach and impact,
    • enhance research quality and relevance,
    • develop sustainable business models including resource mobilization, and
    • strengthen learning and accountability through better monitoring and evaluation.
  • Research on innovations for improving maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health by strengthening health systems that are the first and most important point of contact for the most vulnerable, and strengthening of health information systems to contribute to better decision-making and better targeting of resources to needs.

Technology and Innovation

The Technology and Innovation program area leverages science and advanced technologies to drive innovation and sustainable growth in developing countries.

More specifically, Technology and Innovation:

  • works to build the human and organizational capital needed to support innovation and economic growth in developing countries, through programs that encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills and leadership development, as well as institutional strengthening; and
  • Supports research on networked economies, digital and data driven innovations by entrepreneurs, the incorporation of digital skills into education curriculums, and policies that enable people to benefit from disruptive technologies and innovations.
    • A focus is building a knowledge base around digital technologies and leveraging them to improve democracy, accelerate science, improve education, and foster economic growth

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • This call is open to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing doctoral studies at a Canadian university.

  • You must have completed coursework and passed comprehensive exams before taking up the award.

  • Your proposed field research must:

    • take place in one or more developing countries,
    • be conducted for a doctoral dissertation, and
    • correspond to IDRC thematic priorities.
      • Proposed research must fit within the priorities of the Agriculture and Environment, Inclusive Economies , or Technology and Innovation program areas as set out in this document.
  • You must provide evidence of affiliation with an institution or organization in the developing region(s) in which the research will take place.

  • 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.

  • Candidates must use findings of their field research to write their doctoral dissertation or thesis.

  • Candidates must conduct their field research for a minimum of 3 consecutive months and a maximum of 12.



  • Applications proposing field research outside the thematic areas will not be considered.

  • You may not be in receipt of two or more active IDRC awards at the same time. No time overlaps will be permitted.

  • You are not eligible for this award if you intend to use this award only to analyze or disseminate final results, finalize videos, or spend time in a lab.

  • The award does not cover any expenses related to your relatives, spouse, or children under any circumstances.