Call for Doctoral Research Proposals 2016 | Canadian Foundation for Governance Research

Call for Doctoral Research Proposals 2016

The application process is now closed

Application Deadline May 15, 2016


The Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Awards have been established to promote Canadian-based research on corporate governance and build Canada’s corporate governance research capacity by encouraging the next generation of young scholars.


To qualify to apply for a Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Award you must be a full-time student registered at a recognized Canadian university in September 2016. You must be a senior doctoral student undertaking studies that include significant original, autonomous research that leads to the completion of a dissertation or major scholarly publication. You must not have exceeded the allowable number of years already spent in doctoral study, as set out by your university. You must not have previously been awarded a Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Award.

Value and Duration

The annual awards of up to $15,000 are to be expended by November 2017 and will be used to support the direct costs of the doctoral student’s research.

Targeted Areas of Research

Research proposals should address questions within one or more of the following broad targeted areas of research:

  • Corporate governance issues of practical interest to Canadian directors and boards of Canadian public, private, government-agency and not-for-profit organizations;
  • Corporate governance best practices through the Canadian perspective; and
  • The role of directors in the governance process and the criteria deemed necessary to be an effective director.

In particular, reseachers are also invited to submit proposals within the following areas of study:

  • Short-termism/long-termism;
  • Shareholder activism/shareholder democracy;
  • Subsidiary and joint venture governance;
  • Board renewal;
  • Board oversight of risk;
  • The social licence to operate;
  • The role of boards and directors in talent management;
  • Issues and challenges particular to not-for-profit governances;
  • Issues and challenges particular to crown corporation governance.

Students are encouraged to review topic ideas from the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) for applicability in the Canadian context.

Proposal Submission Process

In order to apply, you must do the following:

  • Ensure that you meet the requirements specified in the eligibility section.
  • Submit a proposal of not more than 5 pages, together with the required attachments specified in the proposal requirements section, that clearly articulates the following:
    1. The proposed research study and research methodology for which you are seeking funding, and how this funding will enable and/or support the proposed study;
    2. Your overall doctoral research area and how this proposal for funding (and the work it will enable) will enhance your overall doctoral research; and
    3. How results from the proposed study will advance corporate governance knowledge in Canada, including, if applicable, the practical applications for directors and/or boards.
  • Submit your proposal and all required attachments by email to Heather Wilson no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday May 15, 2016.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals must include the following additional items:

  1. A signed appraisal letter from the student’s doctoral advisor (who themselves should be a researcher and faculty member at a recognized Canadian university) attesting to the validity of the research study and methodology proposed, and to the general quality of the student’s doctoral work, and committing to provide a comment letter signing off on the study results at the end of the project;
  2. A signed letter from an appropriate university official (e.g. Dean of Graduate Studies, Vice-President Research or equivalent) attesting specifically:
    • that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements as outlined in the eligibility section; and
    • that the university is prepared to execute the standard research funding agreement; and
    • that the university is prepared to receive and administer the research funds on the student’s behalf (either in a student research account or on behalf of the student in a faculty member research account); and
    • that the university has policies regarding conflicts of interest and research integrity which are substantially in accordance with, or more stringent than those of the CFGR and that the university’s policies are fully applicable to this project and will be fully enforced; and
    • that the university is prepared to cover all indirect costs associated with the research; and
  3. A detailed budget on how the applicant will make use of the research funds. Broadly speaking, you may use CFGR research funds only for direct costs involved in the conduct of research and the communication of research results. A recipient of CFGR research funds must not have any financial or personal interest, direct or indirect, in any transaction charged against CFGR grants. The student’s institution must agree to provide for indirect or overhead costs and these types of costs should not be included in the proposed budget. The CFGR research funds must be used effectively and economically, and the expenses proposed in the budget must be essential for the research for which the funds are requested. See the administrative requirements section for details on budgeting for travel to certain dissemination events.

Administrative Requirements of Award Recipients

  • Award recipients must participate in two research dissemination dinner events in Toronto, to which they will be invited by the CFGR. Therefore, applicants must include travel and accommodation costs related to attendance at these two events as part of the proposal budget. Details about these events will be available at a later date, however, they are generally held in the fall of the funding release year and the fall of the final report year. The dinners are designed to meet the enunciated objective of the Bertram Awards to “enable these students to present their findings together, and to ensure that the students have an opportunity to meet annually with Robert Bertram and with other practitioners”.
  • Award recipients will be provided with a complimentary admission to the 2017 ICD Annual Conference and Fellowship Awards Gala being held in Toronto in June 2017. Therefore, applicants may include travel and accommodation costs related to attendance at the event as part of the proposed budget.
  • Award recipients may be required to prepare a short article for Director Journal targeted at the director practitioner community, summarizing the key findings of their research. The deadline for this article and the final research report to the CFGR will be in the fall of 2017. This will assist in meeting the enunciated objective of the Bertram Awards to “ensure that knowledge created by these doctoral students is connected with those who can best use the new knowledge”.
  • Award recipients must agree to the CFGR’s research integrity policy and conflict of interest policy.

Language Preference

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals and required attachments in English, however, the CFGR will accommodate those wishing to submit proposals and required attachments in French.

Evaluation Criteria

The Board of Directors of the CFGR will evaluate all eligible proposals on the relevance of the proposal to the Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Award objectives and to the corporate governance research areas targeted, the strength of the appraisal letter from the applicant’s thesis advisor, and the quality of the proposed budget.

Announcement of Results

The 2016 Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Awards recipients will be notified in July 2016. It is anticipated that approximately three awards will be granted, subject to the availability of funds and qualifying proposals being received. Research funding agreements must be executed between the CFGR, the recipient and an authorized signatory from the recipient’s university prior to the release of funds by September 2016.

More Information

For more information about the Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Awards program, please contact:

Ms Heather Wilson
Canadian Foundation for Governance Research


2016 Call for Research Proposals - the application process is now closed   Click Here to Apply