Funding during graduate school: tips on how to find resources

Contributors: Kohle Merry, PhD Student

Funding—a grad student’s best friend

Personally, I did a previous master’s entirely funded by my supervisor. I was also fortunate enough to secure funding for my PhD prior to starting, so I’ve had experiences on both sides of the fence. Because funding is usually needed to facilitate our research, it can be helpful to not only know what it out there, but also what to expect, and tips for success.

So, what major funding sources are available for RHSC students?

The Tri-Council Graduate Scholarships (both MSc/PhD) are a big funding source with a simple application process, though odds of success are relatively low depending on which arm you apply to. 

WorkSafeBC also funds graduate research at both the MSc and PhD levels in workplace-relevant research. Applications are more detailed than tri-council submission, but one may have better odds of success. 

AGE-WELL also funds graduate research related to healthy aging; applications are simple, but one must have secured funding prior to applying as this source is a top-up.

Rehabilitation Sciences also offers funding in the form of RHSC Graduate Scholarships and the UBC 4YF (both PhD only). More details can be found here:

Ask any grad student on tips for a successful funding application and you will get a variety of responses, so take this with a grain of salt. Starting by asking successful applicants is a great start and finding successful sample applications to help guide you is even better. Carefully reading the funding body’s mission statement or research priorities can help tailor an application to best suit the specific funder. Asking a senior trainee can also offer a great resource as most students have written more applications than they would care to count.

And lastly, don’t get discouraged with rejections—funding is highly competitive and it’s not personal, often your project may fit better with a specific funder. Be persistent!

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