The Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP)

The Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) provides funding for senior undergraduates and graduate students conducting research in the North.

This is a supplementary grants program which was put in place to help defray the high costs of conducting fieldwork in the North and to encourage students to develop a commitment to northern research. The program funds projects on northern topics from all disciplines and in multi-disciplinary fields.

Online application forms are available at:

Please direct any questions to: Northern Studies Committee at

Criteria and Eligibility

The Program supports field research in any discipline - life, physical, human and health sciences - as long as the research has an essential orientation and impact on the North.

Funding is available for ALL complete and eligible applications that are submitted from Western. Typical awards are between $2000 and $3000, with a recommended maximum request of $4500. Awards are intended to provide travel expenses for students already receiving research funding from another source (for example, a supervisor’s research grant).

The student must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and enrolled in a graduate or senior undergraduate (currently in 3rd or 4th year) program at a Canadian university. Part time students are eligible for NSTP funding.

A student who is employed or remunerated for their research in the field cannot receive NSTP.

Field schools are not eligible.

Geographic eligibility: The research activity and travel must be north of the sporadic discontinuous permafrost line (approximately 50 deg N), ANYWHERE in the Northern Hemisphere.

Simple Application Process

IT IS EASY! The application and statement of research require significantly less content and effort than NSERC, SSHRC or OGS!

Students must go online, create a profile and complete the online application form. New supervisors will have to create a profile as well. The forms for students and supervisors are available at:

Following the field season for which funding was provided, a brief report is required from the student through the online system.

Please follow the instructions in the student manual ( Incomplete or incorrectly formatted applications will be returned to the applicant for revision. Applications received at the deadline that are incomplete or requiring changes may not be accepted.

Instructions for students and their supervisors when filling out NSTP Applications

It is important to keep in mind that this agency is providing funds to encourage:

  • The work of junior researchers in the north.
  • Continued research by these junior scholars in the north in the future. Indeed, to make their career centered on northern research.
  • Good relationships between researchers in the north and the residents of the north, particularly Indigenous populations. This recognizes that community members have felt excluded from any dialogue, knowledge and participation in research. This is understood to be detrimental to those communities and ultimately to the progress of research.

Your application should reflect your understanding and agreement with these principles.

  • Read all the sections carefully and address the specific questions being asked. This seems obvious, but if they ask about your research and then want to know how working in the north will benefit it, they are asking two questions, both of which need to be addressed.
  • NSTP wants you to stay in the north for at least 21 days which they feel is the minimum for gaining a meaningful understanding of the region. Whenever possible arrange your
    stay for at least 21 days. Under some circumstances, a shorter period is all that is required to meet your research goals. Please be sure to justify shorter stays in your
    proposal, clarifying what skills and experience you will gain, and why you will be able to collect your thesis data in less than 21 days. Also, please be sure to indicate ONLY THE
    PERIOD THAT YOU WILL BE IN THE NORTH, regardless of the duration of the larger project in which you are participating.
  • If you are a grad student with a project that is within the overall aims of your supervisor’s project, you are still a RESEARCHER, and that means your supervisor is NOT a research
    partner. They are a partner if you are a field assistant.
  • Be aware that NSTP should NOT be considered the main contributor to your research budget. It should supplement funds you will seek or receive from elsewhere. This needs
    to be reflected in your budget. The funds you request from NSTP should comprise LESS THAN HALF of the total budget for your project.
  • Your budget must balance. That means: If your total required funds are $10,000 and you request $3000 from NSTP for travel, you should indicate where you plan to get the
    remaining $7000 to conduct your research. Often, students indicate that they already have all the funds in place to cover their expenses, for example a student might indicate they
    need $10,000 in total, are applying for $3,000 from NSTP and have a total of $22,000 committed to them from NSERC or other agencies. The $22,000 more than covers their
    10,000 budget, so they would not need NSTP funds. This is NOT a balanced budget. If committed funds come from a supervisor’s grant, be sure to only indicate the funds
    committed for YOUR PORTION of the larger project.
  • It is unacceptable to answer N/A in any section of your application. If something is not applicable then the reasons why must be provided in detail. This is particularly true when
    answering questions about licenses, permits and, importantly, the section that asks about your plans to involve the community in your research. Every effort should be made to
    consult with local communities, inform them of plans in advance, provide them with information upon request and provide them with the results of work. This can be done in
    a variety of ways (for example through community presentations, research posters, plain language reports, websites or social media). Providing plain language information to
    communities will benefit everyone in the long and short term.
  • When you are finished your application and it looks great, click the box to get your supervisor’s recommendation.

Quick notes to supervisors:

  • Please remember to state how your student’s work will benefit their northern training as well as their particular research project.
  • Please take the time to consider nominating your students for the special awards that NSTP provides.


Once your supervisor has completed their recommendation, you must log back in to fluid review to submit your application.

The NSTP Management Committee requests that comments from the supervisor emphasize the student's past experience and the project's relevance to current northern
concerns. As such, the supervisor should:

  • provide, if possible, a synopsis of the student's previous training experience;
  • indicate how the fieldwork relates to the student's future studies, as well as how it relates to present and future northern research issues; and,
  • reflect how the student has benefited from the research conducted.