Program Overview

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Historical Overview

In 1961, the government established the Northern Scientific Training Grants Program to encourage Canadian universities to participate in training northern specialists to meet national needs. Today, the Program is known as the Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) and is managed by the Canadian Polar Commission. It is helping to create a number of polar experts by funding approximately 300 students annually at over 35 universities across Canada.

Purpose and Objective of the Program

The program supports scientific training provided by Canadian universities which gives advanced students professional experience in the North and encourages them to develop a commitment to northern work. The program aims to increase the number of graduate and senior undergraduate students in Canadian universities who have specialized in some aspect of northern scientific studies and who have northern research experience.

Application Procedures

Applications for NSTP funds must be made by the Chairperson of a Northern Studies Committee at a Canadian university. The Committee must be officially recognized by the President of the university. Applications from individuals are not accepted.  If a student's university does not have a recognized Northern Studies Committee, the candidate may apply through a participating university.


  • You must be enrolled in a degree Program at a Canadian university. 
  • Funds are available in support of graduate students. However, senior undergraduate students entering their final year and intending to undertake an honours thesis based on northern fieldwork or research which will be continued in subsequent graduate studies are also eligible. 
  • Students supported by training funds must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Summer and winter projects are eligible.

Post-doctoral studies are not supported

Fields of Research Supported

Training funds support projects on northern topics from all disciplines and in multi-disciplinary fields.

Geographical Focus

The Program supports projects that lie north of the southern limit of the discontinuous permafrost zone, with the addition of all of the Southern Yukon in the West; that section of Labrador south to and including Red Bay; and the other seven Arctic countries (Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S.A. - Alaska).

Use of NSTP Funds

NSTP funds are restricted. They are a supplement meant to offset the additional costs of northern research (e.g. transportation and living costs).  The NSTP is not intended to be a source of primary support for students pursuing northern research.

Approval Process

Every year, an intergovernmental Committee reviews the applications and allocates funding on the following basis: the extent to which the application fits within program guidelines; the evaluation of past performance and future research; and the training component of the application and the contribution to the development of northern specialists at the university. This Committee is also responsible for ensuring the effective use of funds allocated in the previous year.


The deadline for submission to the NSTP Secretariat is December 1st each year. Students should inform themselves of the earlier deadlines set within each university by their respective Northern Studies Committee. 

Annual Cycle

The Northern Scientific Training Program is based on a fiscal year commencing April 1 and ending March 31.

NSTP Guidelines

For further information regarding the NSTP guidelines, please contact a Northern Studies Committee at any of the participating universities listed below: 

-University of Alberta
-University of British Columbia
-University of Calgary
-Carleton University
-Concordia University
-Dalhousie University
-University of Guelph
-Keewatin College
-Lakehead University
-Laurentian University
-Université Laval
-University of Manitoba
-McGill University
-McMaster University
-Memorial University
-Université de Montréal
-University of New Brunswick
-University of Northern British Columbia
-University of Ottawa
-Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

-University of Winnipeg
-Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
-Université du Québec à Montréal
-Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
-Queen's University
-University of Regina
-Ryerson Polytechnic University
-Saint Mary's University
-University of Saskatchewan
-Simon Fraser University
-University of Toronto
-Trent University
-University of Victoria
-University of Waterloo
-University of Western Ontario
-Wilfrid Laurier University
-University of Windsor
-York University
-Yukon College




Northern Scientific Training Program Committee
Canadian Polar Commission
2464 Sheffield Road
Ottawa, ON K1B 4E5  Canada

TEL:   (613) 222-9537
INTERNET: Northern Scientific Traning Program