Frequently asked questions about Syme training fellowships

Is the Fellowship limited to Canadian students only?

Applicants do not have to be Canadian citizens, but they must be enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral program at a Canadian University in order to receive the Fellowship funds. Applications must be from Institute for Work and Health (IWH) affiliated universities: McMaster University, University of Toronto; University of Waterloo; York University; Ryerson University, Trent University, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Montreal, University of Lethbridge, Dalhousie University, Lakehead University.

Do I have to be supervised by an IWH scientist to apply for a Syme Fellowship?

Applicants will have as their mentor an Institute for Work and Health Scientist or Adjunct Scientist. The mentor does not need to be your Master’s or Doctoral supervisor. Although it is recommended that an IWH mentor be found prior to an application being submitted, an applicant can submit an application without an IWH mentor and a person will be assigned at a later date.

Are the post-doctoral fellows eligible to apply?

No. The intent of the Fellowship is to attract trainees who are early in their research careers to the area of work and health. For this reason, the Fellowships are only open to Master’s and Doctoral students. They are not available to Postdoctoral Fellows. However, the Institute also offers a Mustard Postdoctoral Fellowship in Work and Health.

Is the Fellowship available to international students?

International students enrolled or accepted into an accredited Canadian graduate studies program at the Master’s or Doctoral level are eligible to apply if it is an IWH-affiliated university. This includes McMaster University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, York University, Ryerson University, Trent University, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Montreal, University of Lethbridge, Dalhousie University, Lakehead University. Applications from candidates enrolled in universities outside of Canada will not be considered.

My research topic is on a health related issues, but not directly related to work. Can I apply?

Preference will be given to candidates whose research interests include prevention of work-related injury and illness; understanding the social determinants of health and illness in work environments; prevention and management of work disability; or evaluating workplace interventions to improve health. IWH is particularly interested in candidates who show a commitment to research that promises to reduce work-related injury, illness and disability in Ontario.

Can a part-time Master’s or Doctoral student who is employed provide a letter of reference from someone they work with (e.g. Manager,Director)?

The Syme Fellowship is a research stipend. Letters of reference must highlight a candidate’s academic skills particularly their research potential and/or experience and come from individuals who are familiar with the candidate’s research skills. This can include an academic supervisor, Master’s or Doctoral thesis committee member or academic instructor. If a candidate’s employment experiences are relevant to their research, a third letter can be included in their application from a non-academic referee.

I'm enrolled as a part-time graduate student. Is that sufficient for my application to be eligible? Will I have to be enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral program for the duration of the fellowship?

Candidates must be actively enrolled in a Masters or Doctoral program for the entire duration of the award. Typically, preference is given to full-time students who are in the early stages of their studies.

I am in Canada on a student visa and am not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident. Am I eligible?

Being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is not a requirement to apply for a Syme Fellowship. However, you are responsible for ensuring your student visa is valid throughout the tenure of the Fellowship. Funds may not be transferred to a University outside of Canada

How does the award money get paid out - monthly or biweekly or per semester...?

Typically, the award is paid in a single one-time payment at the beginning of the award.

Can my research statement be supported by some citations wherever necessary? And if I do cite some work and provide references, is the references list included in the 300 word limit?

You can insert citations and references. However, they do count towards your 300-word limit.

I'm not sure of the two people that I need to get recommendation letters from. Who would be appropriate?

Reference letters must highlight a candidate’s academic skills, particularly their research potential and /or experience. Letters of reference should come from individuals such as a supervisor, master’s or doctoral thesis committee member or an academic instructor familiar with the candidate’s academic abilities. At least one of the letters should come from a current academic referee.

Would one reference letter suffice?

No. Two reference letters are required.

Is my current dissertation project eligible for applying or do I need a new project?

The candidate can describe an ongoing research project for the Syme Fellowship. However, research is typically expected to be in the early stages and must extend for the entire 12-month term of the Fellowship.

Can I hold another award (e.g., SSHRC, CIHR) and apply for a Syme Fellowship?

Preference will be given to candidates who do not hold another major salary award.