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Research Grants and Scholarships

For more than 50 years, the RCGS has contributed to growing geographical understanding of Canada – its people, places, culture, environment and economic challenges – by funding research to broaden Canadians’ knowledge and appreciation of Canada.

As one of the oldest organizations in Canada funding geographical research, RCGS research grants and scholarships have enabled students to pursue their passion for geography, sometimes leading to ground-breaking results. This much-needed support has also helped launch the careers of Canada’s brightest minds in geography. 

The 2013 St. John’s Declaration states, among other tenets, “that geography needs to improve, update and advance geographic education” and that “spatial thinking increasingly informs scholarship in the natural, social and health sciences and the humanities.” As a signatory to that declaration, the RCGS believes this is a judicious and timely opportunity to move our Research and Grants Program forward.

We have restructured our awards to address the changing needs of Canadian university students and independent researchers as they tackle Canada’s emerging geographical issues. Our new directives will support the following target groups:

  1. Only graduate students registered in a Canadian university.
  2. Independent researchers, either as individuals or as a group. 

We have also established a new funding category, the “RCGS Graduate Scholarships,” open to any Canadian graduate student. This scholarship allows any graduate student whose focus is on geography and environmental studies in any region of Canada to apply for funding.

Our deadline for submissions is February 14.

Funding categories include:

  1. The James Bourque Northern Doctoral Scholarship (up to $6,000)
  2. The James Maxwell Human Geography Scholarship (up to $6,000)
  3. RCGS Graduate Research Scholarships (up to a total of $13,000 to be allocated to several submissions, with no one submission exceeding $5,000)
  4. RCGS Independent Research Grants (up to a total of $5,000)


Interactions between terrestrial and marine ice losses on Northern Ellesmere Island
The objective Adrienne White’s study is to complete an inventory of current glacier extents and recent changes on northern Ellesmere Island, and the examine whether changes in one ice type can have cascading effects on the stability of remaining ice types.
Toponymic inscription in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: a critical planning intervention
Trevor Wideman’s study will examine the politics of place (re)naming as an enactment of the right to the city, using a case study of a participatory neighbourhood revitalization planning process in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES).
Monitoring human threats to a vulnerable, recovering population of humpback whales
The Recovery Strategy for the North Pacific Humpback Whale in Canada identifies a number of anthropogenic threats to humpbacks, including acoustic disturbance, toxic spills, prey shortages, vessel strikes, and entanglement in fishing gear, the last two threats being of greatest known concern.
Asbestos Hill Mine: History and Legacy
Jeanette Carney’s research is on the operational history of the Asbestos Hill mine in Nunavik (northern Québec), as well as the mine’s past and current impacts on Inuit. The purpose of this research is to contribute to the knowledge of mining impacts in Nunavik and on Inuit in the Canadian North and to provide a historical context to current mineral development issues in the region.
The Moraine Mesocarnivore Project; Assessing the value of Canadian human-altered landscapes for native mesocarnivore species
Frances Stewart’s research will scientifically document the wildlife community in Alberta’s Cooking Lake Moraine (CLM), a mixed-use agricultural landscape. The research could serve as a model for human-wildlife coexistence across Canada. The research aims to assess the value of Alberta’s CLM, an example human-modified landscape for all areas of human wildlife coexistence in Canada, by scientifically quantifying it’s ecological contribution to maintaining mammalian biodiversity as a fragmented landscape.


Grant and scholarship recipients by year:

Selection of Independent Research Grants since 2000
James Maxwell Human Geography Scholarship since 1996
James Bourque Northern Doctoral Scholarship since 2000
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