Indigenous Social Science Doctoral Fellowship (ISSDF)


The Faculty of Social Science is deeply committed to encouraging, mentoring, and supporting Indigenous scholars. Through the Indigenous Social Science Doctoral Fellowship, we aim to prioritize the recruitment and support of Indigenous applicants who exhibit exceptional research potential and a strong dedication to scholarly pursuits. As an alternative avenue of support, Indigenous scholars will also be considered for the Equity and Diversity Social Science Doctoral Fellowship (EDSSDF). 

2023 ISSDF Recipient

Victoria Bomberry, Geography & Environment

Victoria Bomberry
Geography & Environment


- One award with a total value of $20,000, paid out as $5,000/year for four years 

- This award is on top of Departmental funding and not subject to any downward adjustments 



Self-identified Indigenous students who have been offered admission to one of the Faculty of Social Science PhD programs at Western. 

 Note that the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Western is developing a policy on affirming Indigenous identity (link to come), which emphasizes fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for a diversity of Indigenous identities, creating safe spaces for Indigenous people to self-identify as Indigenous and share their positionality, and involving an Indigenous identification affirmation committee to assess Indigenous identity claims of applicants who self-identify. The assessment of Indigenous applicants for the ISSDF will include an Indigenous faculty member. 

Please also note that, while students who identify as First Nations, Inuit, or Métis will receive priority consideration, global Indigenous people from other regions may also be considered.  



 The student’s application to the graduate program will be the primary source of the application materials for this fellowship.  Two supplemental documents are requested as described below. 

  1. Cover letter, consisting of a student statement of eligibility and the name of the student’s supervisor in the Faculty of Social Science (FSS).  This statement can be brief, but should include information about how the applicant identifies as Indigenous and provide their supervisor’s name.  
  2. Statement of research contributions, relevant experience, and activities (see template below).  


In addition, the Faculty of Social Science will contact the supervisor for a brief (500 words maximum) statement of resources and mentorship supports available to the student. 


Adjudication & Timeline

 Adjudication is at the FSS level. The core selection criteria are research potential and dedication to scholarly activity. The Faculty ISSDF Adjudication Committee is chaired by the FSS Associate Dean-Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and will include the FSS Assistant Dean-EDID and representation from FSS departments. At least one member of the committee will be an Indigenous staff, faculty, or community member.  


First business day of March (March 1, in 2024)

- Students applications are due to Ann Seabrook Note that students submit the two supplemantal documents described in the Application section; other components of the application will be obtained directly from the student's program.

Second week in March to third week in March 

- The ISSDF Adjudication Committee members are asked to score each applicant using appropriate equity-informed processes. 

Last week in March

- The Chair of the ISSDF Adjudication Committee sends the overall scoring for the cohort of applicants in a ranked list to the adjudication committee. A meeting may be held to identify the awardee. 

First week in April 

- Program notifies awardee

Second week in April 

- Awardee must notify program of the decision to accept or decline the award. 

Third week in April

- Awardee’s photo and name are posted to FSS scholarship page, if awardee consents. 


Research contributions, relevant experience & activities (maximum two pages, single spaced) 

Describe your research contributions, including relevant experiences and activities, organized using the two sections listed below. 

Section I—Research contributions 

Supplementing the information in your admission application, this is an opportunity to highlight any research contributions you would like to further contextualize. Please indicate whether the items you list are refereed* (peer-reviewed) or not. Research contributions are broadly defined here, including those that are not in traditional scholarly publications. If the contribution is co-authored, please specify your role. For publications in languages other than English or French, provide a translation of the title of the publication. List the contributions with full reference information or, where relevant, an indication of how the contribution was disseminated.   

Section II—Applicant’s statement 

Organize this information under the following two headings: 

Relevant experience 

- Describe the research abilities you have gained through your past research experience, including special projects, honours/master’s thesis, co-op reports, etc. If you have relevant work experience, discuss its relevance to your proposed field of study/research and any benefits you gained from it. 
- This section can also be used to describe any training relevant to your proposed research, such as formal training experiences (e.g., workshops), but also knowledge gained through lived experience and traditional teachings. 

Relevant activities 

Describe your participation in relevant professional, academic, extracurricular, and community activities, as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students, and community members, such as: 
- Indigenous community leadership and other roles  
- teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching 
- managing projects 
- participating in science and/or research promotion 
- community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement 
- chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings 
- participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs. 


*A refereed work is assessed before publication by arms-length experts (note that a thesis is not considered a refereed publication)