CIFAR invites exceptional early career researchers to join CIFAR’s global network of 370 researchers from 18 countries who together are pursuing answers to some of the most complex challenges facing the world today. The CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program provides funding, skills training, mentorship, and opportunities to collaborate with outstanding colleagues from diverse disciplines to position scholars as leaders and agents of change within academia and beyond.

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars receive:

• $100,000 CDN in unrestricted research support
• A two-year membership to a CIFAR research program, with outstanding research leaders from across disciplines. Learn what it’s like to be a CIFAR Fellow
• Specialized leadership and communication skills training


Applicants can be from anywhere in the world, must hold a PhD (or equivalent) and be within the first five years of a full-time academic position. Please note that postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to apply to the program. Scholars’ research interests must be aligned with the themes of an eligible CIFAR research program. 

How to apply

All applications are submitted online and must include letters of reference. See detailed overview of the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program for more information. The 2018 call for applications has closed. The next call will launch in December 2018.

(+) Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Does my research need to be aligned with a CIFAR research program?

Yes, an applicant must apply to participate in one of the five eligible programs accepting Global Scholars in 2018. Eligible programs are listed under Question 2 below. CIFAR’s research programs are described in some depth at: Profiles of participating Fellows and Advisors are also provided with each program description. Applicants are encouraged to make the case for how their research could contribute to a CIFAR research program, and also how their research could benefit from interaction and collaboration with other disciplines represented in the program. CIFAR strongly encourages applicants with diverse backgrounds and perspectives not presently represented in our programs.

2.   Which CIFAR research programs are eligible to receive CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar applications?

In 2018, the eligible programs are:

3.   What is a CIFAR research program?

CIFAR’s global research programs connect many of the world’s best minds – across borders and between disciplines – to shape new perspectives and spark ground-breaking ideas. By helping innovative pioneers push further, and inspiring young research leaders to join them, CIFAR’s programs are able to expand the boundaries of understanding in ways that would otherwise not be possible.

A central feature of each CIFAR research program is the sustained interaction among its fellows. Each program assembles a unique combination of researchers with different disciplinary perspectives and research approaches to collectively tackle a complex challenge facing the world. Programs hold one to three meetings per year over a five-year, renewable period.  Sustained interactions create a “safe” environment that becomes highly conducive to sharing preliminary ideas and sparking innovative new collaborations.  Fellows are inspired to think creatively, disruptively and without limitations.

4.   Are postdoctoral fellows (or equivalent) eligible for this program?

No. Post-doctoral fellows are not eligible for this program. CIFAR requires applicants to hold a PhD (or equivalent terminal degree) and be in a full-time faculty position, including research and teaching responsibilities, at an institution of higher education or research. They must be appointed to their first faculty position no earlier than May 1, 2013. Special consideration will be given to those with exceptional circumstances or leaves. Typically, applicants will be at an Assistant Professor level or equivalent in other academic systems.  Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to apply to this program. If you have questions regarding your eligibility, please contact

5.   If I do not have the title of Assistant Professor, would I be eligible?

CIFAR recognizes that different academic systems around the world assign different titles to junior faculty positions. To be eligible, CIFAR requires applicants to be employed in the first five years of a full-time academic position, with both research and teaching responsibilities, at an institution of higher education or research.  Applicants requiring assistance to determine their eligibility may

6.   If I was appointed to a full-time faculty position more than five years ago, but I spent a portion of time away on a parental/medical leave, would I be eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants should be appointed to their first full-time faculty position no earlier than May 1, 2013. Applicants who were appointed earlier than May 1, 2013, but who have taken parental/medical leave during this time will be expected to provide an explanation in their application form as to why they should still be considered for the program. CIFAR reserves the right to make the final determination of eligibility.

7.   If I am an early career researcher based in a country outside of Canada, would I be eligible?

CIFAR is seeking to develop a global cohort. There are no geographical restrictions on who may apply to this program.

8.   Do I need to re-locate from my current institute to be part of this program?

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars remain at their home institution and country throughout their two-year term. The research funding associated with the award is administered through the recipient’s institutional department. Global Scholars are expected to attend meetings of their designated CIFAR research program (usually 2-3 per year, depending on the program) in Canada and various locations around the world, as well as the annual meeting of Global Scholars.

9.   If I am unable to attend the in-person interview on June 27-28, 2018 in Toronto due to a prior commitment, should I apply?

The interview process involves a series of individual and interactive group activities, taking place over a day and a half, as well as brief individual interviews. This interview process requires in-person attendance on June 27-28, 2018. Applicants unable to be present at the in-person interview cannot be properly assessed and will not be considered.

10.   How will CIFAR support me as a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar?

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars receive:

  •  $100,000 (CAD) in unrestricted research support
  • A two-year membership in a CIFAR research program, a global network of top-tier research leaders
  • Opportunities to network and collaborate with colleagues from diverse disciplines
  • Mentorship from a senior researcher within a CIFAR research program
  • Specialized leadership and communications skills training, and support to put skills into action
  • Annual meetings to network, collaborate and form a community with other Global Scholars

11.   What is expected of a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar?

During the two-year term of their award, Global Scholars are expected to:

  • Attend meetings of their designated CIFAR research program (usually 2-3 per year, depending on the program) in Canada and various locations around the world.
  • Where appropriate, interact and collaborate with fellow program members on research areas of interest to the scholars and their research program.
  • Attend annual Global Scholar meetings (usually in held in May).
  • Submit a web-based annual report on research and related activities.
  • Acknowledge CIFAR as a funder in research publications and presentations supported by this funding, and include the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars title in their professional signature, presentations, website and publications.

12.   How can I use the $100,000 CDN in research support?

The research support aims to enhance the scholar’s capacity to conduct research. CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars are provided these funds over the two-years of their term. Possible uses include, but are not limited to:  teaching release, support for trainees, research assistant salary, summer salary (where applicable) and laboratory supplies (major infrastructure excluded). CIFAR does not support indirect costs.

13.   What is the purpose of the annual meeting of Global Scholars?

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars from across CIFAR’s research programs meet annually for activities focused on strengthening core leadership and communication skills. The annual meeting aims to build a community of early career researchers and supports peer-to-peer sharing and collaboration. Over three days, scholars engage in targeted, interactive skill-building workshops led by expert facilitators.  Invited guests representing leadership in a range of fields provide opportunities for cross-sector engagement, mentorship and enhanced learning. Group activities, excursions and session times provide opportunities to explore potential collaborations and develop a spirit of community.

14.   How are applicants selected?

CIFAR is strongly committed to diversity within its community and through the application review and selection process, described below:

  1. Basic Eligibility: CIFAR ensures all applications meet basic eligibility requirements.
  2. Application Review: A CIFAR research program sub-committee, comprised of CIFAR fellows and advisors, is assembled for each eligible program. The committee reviews and assesses applications based on three criteria: i) research excellence, ii) potential to contribute to a program by adding new and diverse perspectives and approaches that build on or complement existing membership, and iii) leadership potential both within and outside of academia. Each program selection committee reviews on average between 25-40 applications and recommends a small number of short-listed candidates (~2-4 candidates per program), who will be invited to attend the in-person meeting.
  3. Final In-person Selection: CIFAR invites short-listed candidates to attend a two-day Interview & Selection meeting in Toronto, Canada on June 27-28, 2018. This meeting consists of a series of individual and interactive group activities. Assessments will be conducted by a diverse committee of researchers from academia and a mix of leaders with expertise in policy, communications, and leadership. The Selection Committee evaluates and assesses candidates’ capacity, potential and desire to actively engage with peers across a full spectrum of disciplines and their potential to have a broader impact. The Selection Committee provides their ranking and recommendation to CIFAR.  Typically, the success rate of those short-listed for the in-person meeting is 50%. NOTE: In-person attendance at the Interview & Selection meeting is mandatory. Short-listed candidates unable to attend the in-person meeting will not be considered. 

 15.   What has been the success rate of applicants?

CIFAR anticipates that each CIFAR research program will support up to a maximum of four Global Scholars at any given time, resulting in one or two available openings in a program per year (except when programs are undergoing a renewal process and not available  to global scholars.)  Presently, the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program is conducting its third annual call for applications. In 2016, we received 173 eligible applications from 27 countries. Thirty-five candidates were invited to attend in-person interviews in Toronto, and a total of 18 Global Scholars were selected.  In 2017, we received 445 eligible applications from 48 countries.  Thirty-three shortlisted candidates attended the interview meeting, of whom 15 were selected to become Global Scholars.

Please contact us with any questions.

(+) 2017 Global Scholars

Parameswaran Ajith, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Gravity & the Extreme Universe

Khanh Huy Bui, McGill University, Molecular Architecture of Life

Hannah Carter, University of California, San Diego, Genetic Networks

Judy Cha, Yale University, Quantum Materials

Kyunghyun Cho, New York University, Learning in Machines & Brains

Brian Dias, Emory University, Child & Brain Development

Douglas Fowler, University of Washington, Genetic Networks

Nathaniel Gabor, University of California, Riverside, Bio-inspired Solar Energy

Daryl Haggard, McGill University, Gravity & the Extreme Universe

Kristi Kenyon, University of Winnipeg, Successful Societies

Alexander Kwarteng, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Humans & the Microbiome

Kristin Laurin, University of British Columbia, Successful Societies

Sara Lowes, Bocconi University, Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Katherine McAuliffe, Boston College, Brain, Mind & Consciousness

Thomas Vidick, California Institute of Technology, Quantum Information Science

(+) 2016 Global Scholars

Katherine Amato, Northwestern University, Humans & the Microbiome

Nir Bar-Gill, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Quantum Information Science

Natalie Bau, University of Toronto, Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Craig Chapman, University of Alberta, Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness

Giulio Chiribella, University of Hong Kong, Quantum Information Science

Ami Citri, The Hebrew University, Child & Brain Development

Alona Fyshe, University of Victoria, Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness

Gerhard Kirchmair, University of Innsbruck, Quantum Information Science

Corinne Maurice, McGill University, Humans & the Microbiome

Kieran O’Donnell, McGill University, Child & Brain Development

Kate Ross, Colorado State University, Quantum Materials

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, University of California at Berkeley, Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Gabriela Schlau-Cohen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bio-inspired Solar Energy

Mikko Taipale, University of Toronto, Molecular Architecture of Life

Graham Taylor, University of Guelph, The Vector Institute, Learning in Machines & Brains

Jeffrey Warren, Simon Fraser University, Bio-inspired Solar Energy

Luyi Yang, University of Toronto, Quantum Materials

Joel Zylberberg, University of Colorado Denver, Learning in Machines & Brains

This program is generously supported by the Azrieli Foundation and the Love Family Leadership Development Fund.

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